The Full Wiki

Collective bargaining: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Collective bargaining

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In organized labor/industrial relations, collective bargaining involves workers organizing together (usually in unions) to meet, discuss, and negotiate upon the work conditions with their employers. Such bargaining normally results in a written contract setting forth the wages, hours, and other conditions which the parties agree on for a stipulated period.[1] It is the practice in which union and company representatives meet to negotiate a new labor contract.[2] In various national labor- and employment-law contexts, the term collective bargaining takes on a more specific legal meaning. In a broad sense, however, it implies the coming together of workers to negotiate their employment-conditions.

A collective agreement functions as a labor contract between an employer and one or more unions. Collective bargaining consists of the process of negotiation between representatives of a union and employers (generally represented by management, in some countries by an employers' organization) in respect of the terms and conditions of employment of employees, such as wages, hours of work, working conditions and grievance-procedures, and about the rights and responsibilities of trade unions. The parties often refer to the result of the negotiation as a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or as a collective employment agreement (CEA).



A number of theories – from the fields of industrial relations, economics, political science, history and sociology (as well as in the writings of activists, workers and labor organizations) – have attempted to define and explain collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining consists of a type of negotiation between organized workers or employees and their employer or employers - usually to determine wages, hours, rules, and working conditions.

One theory suggests that collective bargaining is a human right and thus deserving of legal protection. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies the ability to organise trade unions as a fundamental human right.[3] Item 2(a) of the International Labor Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work defines the "freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining" as an essential right of workers.[4]

In June 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada extensively reviewed the rationale for regarding collective bargaining as a human right. In the case of Facilities Subsector Bargaining Assn. v. British Columbia, the Court made the following observations:

  • The right to bargain collectively with an employer enhances the human dignity, liberty and autonomy of workers by giving them the opportunity to influence the establishment of workplace rules and thereby gain some control over a major aspect of their lives, namely their work.
  • Collective bargaining is not simply an instrument for pursuing external ends…rather [it] is intrinsically valuable as an experience in self-government.
  • Collective bargaining permits workers to achieve a form of workplace democracy and to ensure the rule of law in the workplace. Workers gain a voice to influence the establishment of rules that control a major aspect of their lives.[5]

Different economic theories provide a number of models intended to explain some aspects of collective bargaining:

  1. The so-called Monopoly Union Model (Dunlop, 1944) states that the monopoly union has the power to maximise the wage rate; the firm then chooses the level of employment. (Recent literature has started to abandon this model.[citation needed]
  2. The Right-to-Manage model, developed by the British school during the 1980s (Nickell) views the labour union and the firm bargaining over the wage rate according to a typical Nash Bargaining Maximin (written as Ώ = UβΠ1-β, where U is the utility function of the labour union, Π the profit of the firm and β represents the bargaining power of the labour unions).
  3. The efficient bargaining model (McDonald and Solow, 1981) sees the union and the firm bargaining over both wages and employment (or, more realistically, hours of work).[citation needed]

United States

In the United States, the National Labor Relations Act (1935) covers most collective agreements in the private sector. This act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate, spy on, harass, or terminate the employment of workers because of their union membership or to retaliate against them for engaging in organizing campaigns or other "concerted activities" to form "company unions", or to refuse to engage in collective bargaining with the union that represents their employees.

At a workplace where workers have voted for union representation, a committee of employees and union representatives negotiate a contract with the management regarding wages, hours, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, such as protection from termination of employment without just cause. Once the workers' committee and management have agreed on a contract, it is then put to a vote of all workers at the workplace. If approved, the contract is usually in force for a fixed term of years, and when that term is up, it is then renegotiated between employees and management. Sometimes there are disputes over the union contract; this particularly occurs in cases of workers fired without just cause in a union workplace. These then go to arbitration, which is similar to an informal court hearing; a neutral arbitrator then rules whether the termination or other contract breach is extant, and if it is, orders that it be corrected.

In the majority of U.S. states, workers who have elected to join a union may be required to contribute towards the cost of representation (such as at disciplinary hearings) if their fellow employees have negotiated a union security clause in their contract with management. Dues usually vary, but are generally 1-2% of pay; however, this is usually offset by the fact that workers who are represented by unions make, on average, 30% more than their non-union counterparts.[citation needed] Some states, especially in the south-central and south-eastern region of the U.S., have outlawed union security clauses; this can cause controversy, as it allows individuals who benefit from the protection of union contracts to avoid paying their portion of the costs of contract negotiation. Though certain business interests - attempting to weaken the power of unions - often advocate this sort of ban on union security clauses, the tactic can easily backfire, as the mandatory open shop, as such arrangements are called, may result in higher rates of unionization as workers no longer may be required to pay dues to be unionized, removing one obstacle to union success in elections. Note too that unions in states with the open shop have an incentive to build strong rank-and-file democracy among their memberships in order to sustain a high number of dues-paying members, rather than relying on the contract to bring dues in. This system thus favors a more active and responsive union, rather than a complacent one.

The industrial revolution brought a swell of labor organizing in the US.[citation needed] The American Federation of Labor was formed in 1886, providing unprecedented bargaining powers for a variety of workers.[6] The Railway Labor Act (1926) required employers to bargain collectively with unions.

In 1930, the Supreme Court, in the case of Texas & N.O.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, upheld the act's prohibition of employer interference in the selection of bargaining representatives.[6] In 1962, President Kennedy signed an executive order giving public-employee unions the right to collectively bargain with federal government agencies.[6]


  1. ^ "BLS Information". Glossary. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Division of Information Services. February 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  2. ^ O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003) [January 2002]. Economics: Principles in Action. The Wall Street Journal:Classroom Edition (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall: Addison Wesley Longman. p. 223. ISBN 0130630853. Retrieved May 3, 2009. 
  3. ^ United Nations General Assembly (1948). "Article 23". Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Paris. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  4. ^ International Labor Organization (1998). Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. 86th Session: Geneva. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  5. ^ Supreme Court of Canada (2007). Health Services and Support – Facilities Subsector Bargaining Assn. v. British Columbia, 2007 SCC 27. Online at the Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c Illinois Labor History Society. A Curriculum of United States Labor History for Teachers. Online at the Illinois Labor History Society. Retrieved on August 29, 2007.
  • Buidens, Wayne, and others. "Collective Gaining: A Bargaining Alternative." Phi Delta Kappan 63 (1981): 244-245.
  • DeGennaro, William, and Kay Michelfeld. "Joint Committees Take the Rancor out of Bargaining with Our Teachers." The American School Board Journal 173 (1986): 38-39.
  • Herman, Jerry J. "With Collaborative Bargaining, You Work with the Union--Not Against It." The American School Board Journal 172 (1985): 41-42, 47.
  • Huber, Joe; and Jay Hennies. "Fix on These Five Guiding Lights, and Emerge from the Bargaining Fog." The American School Board Journal 174 (1987): 31.
  • Liontos, Demetri. Collaborative Bargaining: Case Studies and Recommendations. Eugene: Oregon School Study Council, University of Oregon, September 1987. OSSC Bulletin Series. 27 pages. ED number not yet assigned.
  • McMahon, Dennis O. "Getting to Yes." Paper presented at the annual conference of the American Association of School Administrators, New Orleans, LA, February 20–23, 1987. ED 280 188.
  • Namit, Chuck; and Larry Swift. "Prescription for Labor Pains: Combine Bargaining with Problem Solving." The American School Board Journal 174 (1987): 24.
  • Nyland, Larry. "Win/Win Bargaining Takes Perseverance." The Executive Educator 9 (1987): 24.
  • Smith, Patricia; and Russell Baker. "An Alternative Form of Collective Bargaining." Phi Delta Kappan 67 (1986): 605-607.

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address