BASF Council Addresses Social Media, Covid-19 Policies

Members of the USW’s BASF Council this month discussed company policies with council head and District 9 Director Daniel Flippo and Bob Tokar, senior director of labor relations for BASF.

Meeting virtually on Feb. 4, the group largely focused on the social media use policy BASF revised Dec. 1, 2020.  

“Our concern is two-fold,” Flippo said. “We’re working together to increase respect for one another, and at the end of the day, discipline under these policies will fall under just cause.”

At Flippo’s request, Tokar explained the thought process and intention behind the policy. He said BASF is known as the employer of choice in diversity and inclusion, and does not want to see the social unrest and political divisiveness that characterized 2020 reflected in the workplace and on employees’ social media accounts.

“Our concern is the roll out of the policy,” Flippo said. “If we know the boundaries, we can stay out of the ditch.”

Tokar said that management received training on implementing the social media use policy.

But, local leaders on the call said their site managers did not conduct discussions of the policy. Some were unaware of the policy revisions, while others said that management only emailed it.

Flippo called on management to institute training so members and management at each location understand the social media policy.

In turn, Tokar affirmed the need for better communication.

Covid-19 protocol

There was also discussion on the call about BASF’s Covid-19 protocol policy, which was revised last June. The revised policy says that if an employee used the 14-day leave and pay benefit provisions under the original memorandum of agreement, those benefits will not be reinstated under the revised MOA. However, if the company requires someone to self-quarantine, the employee will have their 14-day leave and pay benefit restored, because the company would not allow the member to work.

A worker at the McIntosh, Ala., plant used the 14-day leave last April. Last month, the worker’s immediate family member tested positive for Covid-19. Management told the employee to go home and quarantine for 20 days without pay.

Local leaders said that employees will not report exposure to Covid-19 if they have to go on unpaid leave.

Tokar said he would look into the situation.

Good experience

The BASF Council has been an excellent way to resolve concerns over these sorts of policies, Flippo said.

The council started when BASF began purchasing other companies and since then, it has been a vehicle for improved communication between locals, a force for solidarity and an opportunity for direct communication with management.

Flippo said he would like to have quarterly virtual meetings and have semi-annual, in-person labor-management meetings when the pandemic ends so that Tokar and the regional labor relations managers can address site issues.

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