SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Union contract expert says COVID-19 could impact union contracts moving forward

COVID-19 impacts employees at meatpacking plants and grocery stores every day. One expert on union contracts says this pandemic could change the way meatpacking unions negotiate their contracts in the future.

Posted: May 8, 2020 6:55 PM

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI)- COVID-19 impacts employees at meatpacking plants and grocery stores every day. One expert on union contracts says this pandemic could change the way meatpacking unions negotiate their contracts.

"This has been a really hard time for meatpacking workers not just in Logansport and not just in Indiana but all across the country," said Brigid Kelly the spokesperson for UFCW Local 700.

Meatpacking plants have gone through some big changes in recent day. Tyson in Logansport and Indiana Packers in Delphi both resumed operations this week, despite the coronavirus threat still looming.

"I would say workers are being forced to make an impossible choice,” said James Dworkin a Professor of Management at Purdue University.

Dworkin is an expert on Union Contracts. While the United Food and Commercial Workers Union represents workers at Tyson, employees at Indiana Packers are not represented by a union.

"It always makes a positive difference to have a union on the job because it means you have people fighting together with you for a better life for a better place to work for a safer place to work, “added Kelly.

While both plants have underwent safety changes, UFCW worked with Tyson to make sure new safety protocols were in place.

"Some of the things we worked together on were plexiglass barriers,” added Kelly. “The company also added social distancing and additional personal protective equipment. We were able to get additional pay for our members as well.”

However, Dworkin says this pandemic could lead to a change in union contracts.

"One side or the other can cancel the contract and go for a new contract,” said Dworkin. “I think you might see more contracts in the future having some of this forced majeure language in them."

Force majeure would allow both parties to opt out of a contract when an extraordinary event occurs that is out of the control of either party. UFCW says, they will always look for ways to improve safety.

"We think we have come a long way but we are always looking to make things better for our members, “said Kelly

Dworkin thinks there will be several arbitration hearings following the opening of plants because he predicts people won't feel safe going back to work. The Union says they will continue to work with employers to make sure they feel safe in their work environment.

Lafayette
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 27°
Kokomo
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 21°
Rensselaer
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 21°
Lafayette
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 27°
Danville
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 18°
Frankfort
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 15°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 15°
Monticello
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 21°
Monticello
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 21°
Logansport
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 21°
Dry, mild conditions continue
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 664446

Reported Deaths: 12663
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion909511650
Lake48568884
Allen36004640
Hamilton32182398
St. Joseph30166513
Elkhart25453419
Vanderburgh21300382
Tippecanoe20143203
Johnson16407361
Porter16042276
Hendricks15877300
Clark12018181
Madison11776319
Vigo11660231
Monroe10379163
Delaware9870179
LaPorte9802198
Howard9083199
Kosciusko8582111
Bartholomew7488147
Warrick7438151
Hancock7428133
Floyd7243170
Wayne6648192
Grant6446157
Boone610989
Morgan6106126
Dubois5925112
Dearborn549969
Cass547299
Marshall5439105
Henry542594
Noble510578
Jackson465167
Shelby461991
Lawrence4193113
Harrison402564
Gibson402083
Clinton396753
Montgomery389683
DeKalb387178
Knox357885
Miami357863
Whitley350237
Huntington347377
Steuben339555
Wabash332676
Putnam331260
Ripley327862
Adams324749
Jasper318143
White297952
Jefferson295874
Daviess285696
Fayette272156
Decatur271188
Greene262080
Posey261431
Wells258675
Scott251350
LaGrange241870
Clay241444
Randolph225676
Spencer218930
Jennings216344
Washington212827
Sullivan203639
Fountain202142
Starke189051
Owen183253
Fulton179837
Jay178528
Carroll176619
Perry173736
Orange171250
Rush165322
Vermillion161442
Franklin159635
Tipton148441
Parke140016
Pike128233
Blackford120727
Pulaski107344
Newton96632
Brown95140
Benton92213
Crawford91713
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54011
Unassigned0432

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events