The intent of status quo is to preserve our current benefits and conditions as a floor (not a ceiling) and prevent unilateral changes made without the consent of the housestaff, but your PD may be hearing something different from the employer. It is important for you to know that:
- It is untrue to make the blanket statement ‘We can’t make any changes because of the union’.
- Our notice of legal certification specifically states that the employer is not prevented from making changes, as long as it is done in good faith and they let the union know about it.
The employer is not precluded from changing bargaining unit employees’ terms and conditions during the pendency of post-election proceedings, as long as the employer (a) gives sufficient notice to the labor organization concerning the proposed change(s); (b) negotiates in good faith with the labor organization, upon request; and (c) good faith bargaining between the employer and the labor organization leads to agreement or overall lawful impasse.
The party who enforces the status quo (e.g. reports an unlawful change to the NLRB) is the union – us. We have no reason to stand in the way of something that is beneficial to housestaff. The one caveat is if this is done ‘with prejudice to the bargaining table’, e.g. done with intent to interfere with bargaining (for example: giving an extra $x in educational stipend to attempt to influence the union to not bargain for more at the table).
How should I respond when somebody says ‘we can’t make changes because of status quo’?
- Let us know what’s going on so we can help. You can respond with something like “I understand you’ve been told you cannot make changes to the status quo. However our union does not intend to prohibit positive changes. I can offer written consent from the union for this positive improvement.”
If you see negative changes happening, such as benefits being taken away, let us know immediately.