Boards With Local 32BJ Employees May Implement Vaccine Mandates
In recent months, all employers, including cooperative and condominium boards and landlords, have had to face the question of whether they can and should require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In unionized buildings, this issue is complicated by collective bargaining obligations.
On September 30, 2021, the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, which handles labor relations for many buildings, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) on this subject with Local 32BJ, the largest union representing building workers. The MOA permits employers to require employees to be vaccinated, subject to notice requirements and other procedures and conditions set forth in the MOA. Employees are entitled to paid time off to be vaccinated (including booster shots, if applicable) or to recover from any side-effects of vaccination. Employees who are not yet vaccinated by a building’s deadline or who refuse to be vaccinated may take an unpaid leave of absence for up to four months. The MOA does not affect any legal requirements for medical or religious exemptions. Employers wishing to impose a vaccine mandate should consult with their labor relations counsel concerning the steps required to do so.