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The Council recently considered whether a unilateral change had actually taken place at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, NLRB 369 No. 64 (28 April 2020). According to the Board of Directors, the exception applies to “exceptional events that are an unforeseen event and that have significant economic benefits and require the company to take immediate action.” The changes the company wishes to make under this exemption must be “constrained” by the requirements and not just convenient ways to react during the emergency. It is clear that the COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented event in the country`s recent history and employers should carefully consider whether their effects on their respective operations are causing this exception. The NLRB General Councillor has not yet issued guidelines on whether the COVID-19 outbreak is actually causing economic necessity (or under what circumstances this may be the case). Where an employer needs to act without warning and/or discuss with the union, they should be prepared to contact the union as soon as possible after such changes. The NRA also decided that it would apply “ordinary principles of contract interpretation” when conducting this investigation. If the NLRB finds that the language of the CBA covers the unilateral act of the employer, the CBA is “authorized to proceed unilaterally with the amendment at issue” and therefore legitimate. (The NLRB did not eliminate the defense that was harder to prove.) Following an investigation, a complaint of unfair labour practices was filed, claiming that both amendments were illegal. A trial took place before an administrative judge of the LNRB (ALJ). Although the case was decided and argued before MV Transportation was decided (meaning that the contract`s coverage defense was not in effect), the employer defended itself under a theory of contractual coverage. . .

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