ASLIU employees who struck Purple Communications for one day over alleged improper changes to the health-care plan were in the right according to the National Labor Relations Board.
The Board has informed the Union that it is prepared to issue a complaint against Purple for unilaterally instituting increases to health-care costs. Under the law, the company is required to negotiate with the union before making changes to wages, hours, or working conditions. Purple gave the union no legitimate chance to bargain over the increases in premiums and deductibles before implementing them in May.
The Board will give the company an opportunity to settle the case without litigation by returning to previous premium levels and deductibles and reimbursing employees for the difference in their costs. Should the company refuse to settle on those terms, the Board will issue the complaint and prosecute the case before an administrative law judge. It is unclear whether the hearing would be held in Denver, where the charges against all four centers were investigated, or in California, where the majority of witnesses and representatives reside and work.
The entire process could take some time but we are confident that, ultimately, the company will have to undo the cost hikes for employees in the four unionized centers and reimburse those employee for any extra expense resulting from the illegal change to benefits. What will happen in the non-union centers, where the company can do pretty much whatever it wants, is unclear and will be up to the company to decide.
Dog Days for Summer Bargaining Schedule
ASLIU has been attempting to schedule another contract bargaining session with Purple, but the effort has been severely hampered by the summer vacation scheduling for both sides. We are now looking at late July or August to find a date that everyone can make. We will let you know when we have a meeting arranged.