Is a union employee protected from layoffs?

Author: Jed L. Marcus, Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C.

A collective bargaining agreement generally does not prohibit an employer from laying off an employee, although it will contain rules and procedures regarding the manner in which an employee is laid-off. These will include rules for the order of lay off, such as by seniority. Often more senior employees in higher classifications who are slated to be laid off can "bump," or displace, less senior workers in lower classifications, so long as the more senior worker is capable of doing the job. There may also be notice requirements to the union and an obligation to bargain with the union over such matters as severance pay. Finally, there will be rules regarding the obligation of the employer to recall an employee to work when work picks up.