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Collective Bargaining—Employee Safety

Updated on June 5, 2016

Collective Bargaining Agreement

SECTION 25.05: PROTECTIVE CLOTHING, EQUIPMENT, AND TOOLS

The Employer agrees to provide employees any required tools and safety or protective equipment, reasonably fitted safety clothing, and devices necessary to provide protection of employees from hazardous conditions to include inclement weather encountered during the performance of official duties, without cost to the employee. Such equipment will be provided as authorized by applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. The Union agrees to assist the Employer in aggressively publicizing the benefits of the use of protective devices and equipment by employees, and their adhering to good safety practices, policies, and procedures.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

It is further understood and agreed that reasonably fitted safety clothing is the property of the employer and will be used by the employee only for the intended purpose of the employer and may not leave designated work areas. For employees classified in roles in which outdoor activity is part of the job function, employer provided safety clothing will include:

  1. Protective Clothing for Weather Conditions:
    1. Rain Gear (on hand inventory totaling one set per employee)
    2. Cold Weather Jacket (on hand inventory totaling two sets per employee)
    3. Winter Weather Hat (on hand inventory totaling two sets per employee)
    4. Winter Weather Gloves (on hand inventory totaling two sets per employee)
  2. Protective Equipment:
    1. Puncture Resistant Gloves (on hand inventory totaling two sets per employee)
    2. Goggles (on hand inventory totaling one per employee)
    3. Sunglasses (on hand inventory totaling one per employee)
  3. Footgear:
    1. Lined Winter Boots (two sets per employee per year)
    2. Unlined Light Work Boots (two sets per employee per year)

It is further understood and agreed that footgear purchases will be facilitated by the employer by providing access to a full line of options from at least three vendors or suppliers. Footgear style and choice will be at the discretion of the employee within the parameters set by OSHA and the full line of options available through the select vendors or suppliers. Any employee choosing a pair of footgear exceeding $225.00 per pair will be responsible for the amount exceeding that limit. All other reasonably fitted safety clothing will be purchased and provided at the discretion of the employer at or above the minimum levels.

It is further understood and agreed that the Employer will aggressively publicize the importance of the proper care of protective clothing, equipment, and tools and providing proper training in said care. Employees will apply proper care to any protective clothing, equipment, and tools uniquely assigned to an individual. All foot gear is will be uniquely assigned. Unless negligence can be proven by an unbiased third party, all lost, damaged, and worn safety clothing, will be replaced by the Employer, at no cost to the employee. If an employee is found negligent in the care of protective clothing, equipment, or tool leading to the loss, damage, or obsolescence through wear, said employee will be fully liable for the cost of the replacement.

All damaged and worn safety clothing will be evaluated by an unbiased third party for whether the gear is in fact unsafe for continued use by the employee and if it is possible to repair the safety clothing for a price that is less than it would cost to replace the item. If the item is repairable then the employer is responsible for covering the cost of the repair. Items of safety gear that cannot be repaired in order to fulfill the function required of them on the job may be purchased by the employees from the employer at a quarter of the price they were purchased at by the employer.

Personal Account of the Negotiating Process

During the negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) there was only one main point of friction. On behalf of the management I felt that the items of safety gear that could not be repaired in order to fulfill the function required of them on the job should be available for purchase by the employees at a quarter of the price they were purchased at by the employer. The labor representative felt that no company would want to risk the liability of selling damaged and worn item to employees. I found the labor representative’s position to be rather weak on this point because in the accompanying video the employees themselves stated that they would bring home their boots and get a few extra years of use out of the boots. For this point it seemed like the labor representative was arguing against the wants of the employees and did not have any support besides the belief that it would be wrong to offer worn and damaged gear to employees for purchase. The fact that the instructor was able to act as an arbitrator was helpful because neither one of us was willing to give on this issue.

There are two main negotiation strategies that could be utilized in CBA’s: interest-based bargaining and distributive bargaining. Interest-based bargaining is when parties collaborate in order to create an agreement that is mutually beneficial and distributive bargaining is when the parties are trying to divide something. In this case the interest-based bargaining worked better because the goal of the CBA was to reach an agreement that worked well for the management and the labor.

The final CBA did not favor one side over the other. The labor side received extra sets of safety gear and a $225.00 credit towards boots while the management side got to keep the safety gear on site and was allowed to offer worn and damaged safety gear to employees at a quarter of the cost that the employer spent on the gear; this will allow the employer to recoup some of their losses on the price of the gear.

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