Union & LSNYC Reach Agreement on Covid Side Letter


The Legal Services Staff Association and Legal Services NYC have reached agreement on a bargaining process for issues related to Covid health and safety. The text of the agreement is as follows:


During the COVID-19 pandemic, given the uncertainty with regard to virus transmissibility and immunity and rapidly changing public health recommendations, the employer and the union shall meet upon demand of either party to negotiate and/or update policies for safeguarding the health of our staff, our families, and our clients. Potential subjects include but are not limited to: provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), office sanitation, staggered work schedules, reduction of number of staff on-site on a given day, adequate physical space between staff member seating, social distancing measures in the office, ensuring fairness and equity for staff in-office who may be called to cover for a staff member working remotely, considerations for staff in high risk categories or with high-risk family members, sick time policies, identifying triggers for closing offices or re-opening offices (resuming remote work for all or resuming in-office work), and other appropriate subjects.

For the purposes of this Side Letter, the resolution process described in Article 8.2(D) applies, with the following exceptions:

  1. Bargaining shall take place with the Executive Director or their designee(s);
  2. If the Parties are unable to agree on how to resolve an issue following good faith negotiations, either Party may submit the dispute to arbitration. Each party shall submit a “Final Offer” to the arbitrator. After considering the valid interests of all parties, the arbitrator shall choose one of the proposed resolutions without modification, or may craft a resolution solely from elements of the two Final Offers. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the parties.
  3. The decision of the arbitrator shall be issued within 7 days of the hearing date.

In the event of a disagreement about a particular topic, pending the arbitrator’s decision the parties shall make best efforts to proceed with negotiations on other topics and to find a mutually acceptable interim solution on the topic that is the subject of arbitration. Should no such solution be reached within 14 days of the date the notice of demand for arbitration is delivered to LSNYC, and only if implementation does not violate any of CDC, New York State or New York City guidelines for health and safety, the employer, after serving a Notice of Intent detailing their proposed policy, specifically how it does not violate said health and safety guidelines, and the specific staff affected by the policy, may implement the policy detailed within the Notice of Intent provided.

Within thirty (30) days of the execution of this Agreement, the Employer and the Union shall designate jointly a panel of arbitrators from which the arbitrator to hear a grievance pursuant to this section shall be chosen.

All terms of the CBA not explicitly modified by agreements under this side letter remain unaffected by this provision.

This Side Letter remains in effect until the ratification of the next contract.