Collective bargaining agreement comes into play when negotiating the perks of a job offer can be hard and frustrating, especially for underrepresented employees. Negotiating can be a pain in the neck, as you have little power in demanding work right, unlike being under a union. Studies even show that employees who belong to unions have seen an income growth and equity rise in employment perks than workers who negotiate their employees alone.
In this article, you’ll learn relevant information about collective bargaining, how it affects you, and how it works.
What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement?
This is a legal employment contract of negotiation between a union of employees and the management to define the employment perks and terms in the workplace. For a collective bargaining agreement to occur, a representative on behalf of the employees must be selected to follow the process of negotiating the scope of business employment. The scope sets the terms and conditions of wages, work schedules, employee benefits, grievance and arbitration procedures, and management’s rights and responsibilities.
How Does it Affect Me?
One of the benefits of collective bargaining is that it strategically matches both proposals from the management and the employees. This good faith bargaining affects both parties. Employers benefit from collective bargaining agreements as it resolves issues collectively, which makes it more efficient than addressing them individually. It also heightens the management’s sense of job security with their employees.If they bargain well, there is a higher chance of reduced employee turnover and improved trust between employees and workers.
On the other hand, employees benefit from CBA as it opens a communication channel between them and the management thus increasing their inclusion and participation in decision making. It also establishes self-respect, responsibility, productivity, and morale because their needs are now validated. All in all, this fundamental principle and right at work contributes to improvements in job quality, equity, training, labor relations, enterprise performance, and working conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the rules of collective bargaining agreements?
First, a sole representative from both the union and the management must exist and have exclusive rights to represent their party during negotiations. The representatives must represent the majority of the employees or management – otherwise, a collective bargaining agreement would be void. Each party must then bargain in good faith over mandatory subjects of bargaining and any other employment conditions that address the relationship between the employer and the employee, such as salaries, benefits, and working hours. Lastly, while a collective bargaining agreement is in effect, the employer may not change a working condition that’s a mandatory subject of bargaining without first bargaining with the union.
What are some examples of collective bargaining topics?
Employees can bargain over subjects that are mandatory to their employment contract. These subjects can cover their pay rate and structure, health plans and benefits, training process, incentive and pension programs, working hours, and workplace conditions. Collective bargaining does not involve employees bargaining over illegal subjects that violate the NLRA.
What are collective bargaining rights?
These are civil rights that employees have in a workplace. It allows them to come together and choose a representative who will help negotiate their employment terms and conditions with their management. These rights are vital because a single worker may lack the bargaining power to demand certain employment perks or negotiate favorable work conditions.
What laws protect the right to collective bargaining?
A collective bargaining agreement is an “enabling” right (a fundamental right that ensures the ability to protect other rights) that’s consistent with the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It’s also recognized by the International Human Rights Convention. Various industries have the collective bargaining right under some laws:
- The Railway Labor Act of 1926 (RLA) grants collective bargaining to railroad workers, airline workers, and many other transportation workers.
- The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is the law that grants most private-sector employees the right to join a union and collectively bargain, and it prevents management from interfering with or preventing employees that want to form a union. It is also considered as the “policy of the united states”
- Federal and State law is the law that grants public and government employees the right to engage in collective bargaining.
- The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS) governs the collective bargaining process for non-postal federal employees.
How to Join a Collective Bargaining Agreement?
There are stages involved in joining and making a collective bargaining agreement work. Although these processes may differ across unions, it still has certain things in common.
Preparation for Negotiation
This is the start stage of collective bargaining where both the management and the union prepare to negotiate. Also known as pre-negotiation, both parties must have a mutual issue, labor dispute, or a need to draft or renew a collective employment contract they are trying to resolve or improve. That said, the management negotiating must study the labor union that they’ll be bargaining with to know their strength, background, and the nature of their contract with other firms to devise its bargaining strategy. The union leaders should also collect data on relevant aspects of the organization to support its negotiating power and tactics.
Select Your Negotiators
In this stage, the management and the labor union choose representatives to negotiate their interests during the bargaining process. On the management end, the negotiator may be the human resource officer, head of a particular team, the vice-president, or the company lawyer. On the union side, the negotiation team may consist of the employee head, a business agent, or the union president. In the end, both sides will review the existing employment contract to identify core areas for improvement.
Set Ground Rules
Both parties have to set ground rules and agree to them. They also agree on the bargaining style to use. A common form involves writing and exchanging proposals for the contract or interest-based bargaining, which allows both sides to present issues and settle for a mutual agreement. While setting rules, it’s important to note that certain bargaining subjects are mandatory and illegal. For instance, collective bargaining does not involve subjects relating to the company market strategies but isn’t limited to topics like wages and work hours because these subjects are mandatory under the NLRA.
After the first three stages, both parties meet up at a selected time and place to discuss their negotiation. Usually, it’s the union representatives that start stating their demands with their rationale. This is almost always followed by the management either accepting or disagreeing with the union. During this tug of war, each party assesses its priorities relative to what the other party demands.In the process, each group may compromise by giving up some of its demands to achieve mutual agreement. In the case where both parties do not reach an agreement, a deadlock or bargaining impasse occurs.
A Tentative Agreement or Contract
After the negotiation process, both parties reach an informal tentative agreement. After which, the agreement is written, and it often consists of the terms and conditions of agreement, the date from which it comes into effect, the duration for which it will remain in operation, and the names of the signatories of the agreement. In essence, any collective bargaining agreement does not apply straight away to all workers of an organization. The agreement becomes official once approved and signed by labor and management representatives.
After both parties have made and approved an agreement contract, the demands will then be implemented. How the implementation of their agreement occurs is often included in the contract, but what’s valued more is providing a procedure for handling grievances or violence against the collective agreement. In practice, almost all collective-bargaining agreements contain a formal process to resolve grievances.
To Sum Up…
The point of collective bargaining agreement is to make sure that the company takes into account the effect of its decisions on its employees. It also helps to keep tabs on the company so they wouldn’t affect their employees without first negotiating a reasonable solution.
If you’re interested in learning more about the checks and balances between employees and employers, you can head on over to our candidate services page!