Status of OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard
Pursuant to the Biden Administration’s plan to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA published a new Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on November 5, 2021. The standard requires employers of 100 or more employees to develop a policy for employees to either be vaccinated or undergo regular testing for COVID-19. The rule also requires employers to allow for paid time off for employees to receive the vaccination and paid sick leave to recover from any potential effects. On November 12, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed the rule. OSHA is now taking comments on ETS, which you can submit through Regulations.gov, Docket No. OSHA -2021-0007. Comments are due December 6, 2021.
The National Labor Relations Board General Counsel issued a memorandum in which she advises that the employer has a duty to bargain the effects of the Emergency Temporary Standard rule. While the rule is currently on hold, it may be worthwhile for unions to initiate bargaining in the event that it will move ahead.
National Labor Relations Board general counsel memorandum concerning immigrant workers
On November 8, 2021, The Acting General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a memorandum to employers that target immigrant workers to undermine the National Labor Relations Act and federal immigration laws, that the NLRB is seeking to hold them accountable. In certain cases, the NLRB will seek to obtain immigration relief as a remedy to unlawful employer practices, including supporting victims of labor exploitation working to obtain U and T visas. The Board will take seriously any employer threats of immigration enforcement action against employees involved in an NLRB investigation.
Biden Administration Infrastructure Bill
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act should help workers in several industries, providing worker protections and creating stable jobs with living wages. The Act provides for $110 billion for construction and repair of roads and bridges, $66 billion for railroads, $65 billion for the power grid, $65 for expansion of broadband services, $11 billion to address safety concerns, and a great deal of additional infrastructure funding.