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New Flyer America and Union Use Mediation to Deal with Dispute over Workers Returning during COVID-19 Pandemic

Tuesday, September, 8, 2020

Mediation has begun for New Flyer America and its union over employees working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. According to the union president, the company reneged on an agreement that had been reached concerning work during the pandemic.


According to the complaint, which involves nearly all of the 800 workers at the St. Cloud transit bus manufacturing plant, the company bargained in bad faith. Jeff Lacher, a representative for the union, said the agreement was negotiated and covered the details of how the plant and workers would handle the pandemic. At the time, the company planned a partial 10-day shutdown that would stretch from the end of March into April.


Lacher says problems arose regarding the company’s disciplinary actions against employees. The agreement stated that employees would not be disciplined for missing time due to COVID-19. However, some employees received a letter telling them they had to come back to work incrementally during the partial shutdown. According to Lacher, this violated the initial agreement.


The letter stated that workers called back to work must inform the company immediately if they will return and if they do not hear from the worker it is considered a resignation. Workers would be required to reapply once the deadline date passed.


It should be noted, the letter does not require workers to return to work, only to alert the company that they do not intend to return. But Lacher considers the request of notification to return a violation of the agreement.


Mediation is underway and will determine if the letter was a violation of the agreement. According to New Flyer, the company has met with union reps and looks forward to a mutually agreeable resolution to the dispute."