My non-state employer has declared a state of emergency. Does that give them the right to change our contract and working conditions?
Unless the contract specifically states otherwise, non-state public employers in Pennsylvania do not have the right to change the contract due to a state of emergency. Some changes can be made to working conditions in reaction to the health crisis, but they cannot violate the contract. Employers are still obligated to adhere to contracts and negotiate with the union over any changes. It is strongly encouraged that impact bargaining take place to proactively address concerns and discuss anticipated effects of this crisis on the workplace and employees. The goal of this kind of bargaining would be to reach a side letter or interim agreement to specifically address issues related to this crisis.