Over the last several weeks, many of the customers our employers do work for, including NYC agencies under Executive Orders 78 & 79 signed by Mayor de Blasio, have implemented the requirement of COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing if applicable to work on their jobs. While the question of whether or not a customer, agency, or employer may implement such a requirement seems to be a settled legal matter, Local 3 has in several instances negotiated the effects of these requirements.
Negotiations over the effects of any vaccine or testing requirement focus on the issues around how the mandate is implemented, including items like exemptions, possible compensation for getting the vaccine, cost and paid time for any testing regimen, vaccine verification, discipline over non-compliance, and potential accommodations, among other items. However, it is still possible for an employer to claim that negotiations over the effects have reached an impasse, allowing them to unilaterally implement their own policies, forcing the Union to wait until the next CBA negotiations.
While Local 3 has come to an agreement with several employers already, such as the Javits Center, MSG, and JCDecaux, the Union continues to negotiate with NECA NY representing the
“A” Construction Division employers, the “J” Division employers, and NYEWA (NY Electrical Wholesalers Association) representing signatory supply houses.
While that continues, unions and employers across the country are awaiting OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standard, which will spell out the details of President Biden's directive to private employers with over 100 employees requiring vaccines or testing. This has proved to be a very complicated matter as our country, industry, and Union all continue to move forward from the depths of a global pandemic. The IBEW has recently published a memo answering many of the questions surrounding vaccine requirements which you can read here.