A yr after employees on the Nationwide Audubon Society voted to unionize, the union representing them has filed complaints with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over disputes involving wages and well being care advantages.
The primary grievance, generally known as an Unfair Labor Apply cost, from the Communications Employees of America claims that since early Might, Audubon administration “has refused to cut price over the wages of bargaining-unit staff, together with minimal salaries.”
The second grievance asserts that Audubon violated the Nationwide Labor Relations Act “by unilaterally altering phrases and circumstances of employment concerning well being care advantages to undermine the Union’s function as unique consultant of the bargaining unit.”
The grievance about well being care advantages stems from a change the nonprofit made to staff’ advantages in November.
Employees say the brand new plan quantities to a 50 % improve in prices for workers. A spokesperson for the union says: “The plan with probably the most reasonably priced premiums final yr had a $2,000 deductible and a $4,000 out-of-pocket most. Below the brand new plan, the deductible is $3,000 and the out-of-pocket max is $6,000 for a similar premiums.”
Diana Wilson, a union member who works as a communication affiliate at Audubon Connecticut and New York, says administration started to barter with the union a few new well being care plan however “didn’t actually enable our bargaining committee to have the ability to give you a counter proposal” earlier than saying modifications to the plan.
In an announcement, JJ Blitstein, Audubon’s director of labor relations, mentioned: “Going through considerably rising prices, Audubon negotiated with our insurance coverage service for a 2023 plan with a gross price improve of simply over 2%. Audubon continues to cowl 83% of premiums for employees, has a progressive pay construction the place increased earners pay extra for a similar plans, and is offering the identical community of docs to not disrupt care.
“Audubon complied with the NLRA always, and we proceed to be dedicated to cut price brazenly and in good religion on all points.”
Maxine Griffin Somerville, the group’s chief folks and tradition officer, provides: “As insurance coverage premiums are skyrocketing, we care deeply about our Audubon employees and are persevering with to offer complete and high-quality advantages.”
Wilson says that moreover the precise complaints about pay and advantages, the union needs to really feel a way of partnership with Audubon administration.
“What the union is asking for is de facto not that excessive,” Wilson mentioned. “We’re asking once more that they’ve bargained in good religion. We’re asking that Audubon come to the bargaining desk seeking to collaborate with us, seeking to work with us, seeking to create a corporation the place the staff are in a position to be supported and really feel supported that may enable us to proceed to do the important work that we do that folks assist Audubon for: Issues like conservation and neighborhood applications, the science work we do, the journalistic work we do. All of that stuff can’t exist and may’t occur, and positively can’t occur on the high quality that we’re in a position to put it out at now with out a personnel that really feel and are supported by Audubon administration.”
It’s troublesome to say what comes subsequent with the complaints. In response to the NLRB, Unfair Labor Apply fees immediate investigations by regional area examiners and attorneys. “Greater than half of all fees are withdrawn or dismissed. In instances the place an investigation finds possible advantage, the bulk settle by agreements between the events. If no settlement will be reached, the Regional Director points a grievance detailing the alleged violations.” Thus far in 2022, practically 18,000 complaints have been filed nationwide, and greater than 5,100 have been settled.