This week, two experienced labor representatives and collective bargainers — Peter Dooley, Industrial Hygienist with National COSH, and Jim Howe, President of Safety Solutions — facilitated an interactive workshop on best practices for collective bargaining in the age of COVID-19.

Peter and Jim have compiled a shared Google Doc with collaborative notes from our session and a comprehensive set of instructional resources and sample documents that cover pre-planning and information gathering ahead of the bargaining process, writing effective proposals, and bargaining itself. Participants are invited to reach out to Peter (peter@nationalcosh.org) or Jim (mhowe55@gmail.com) to request editable copies of any of these documents for use in their own workplaces.

Some take-away points from Peter and Jim:

  • It’s important to have worker engagement in the collective bargaining process. The more your demands are based on what workers want, the more powerful they will be to management.
  • There are tremendous opportunities to gain improvements in Health and Safety issues through bargaining with employers. It’s important for H&S representatives to help the union or worker organizations recognize and realize these improvements.
  • The bargaining process in health and safety should be happening all the time with the employer. The most important part of the process is to have any agreements or processes documented so improvements can be made over time.
  • Health and safety have been — and in the era of COVID, continue to be — a tremendous opportunity for workers to have a say in their workplace and build solidarity. This will only be realized through intentional organizing and practice to influence the status quo of all institutions, including the creation of written agreements.

More than 100 people attended this webinar.