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Collective Bargaining Agreements: Key Provisions

Aug 9, 2008
Also known as a Bargaining Agreement, Union Contract, or Employer-Union Contract, A Collective Bargaining Agreement is an explicit employment contract negotiated by a labor union and employers who employ the union members. Collective bargaining agreements are typically renegotiated periodically.

Collective bargaining is the process whereby workers organize collectively and bargain with employers regarding the workplace. In various national labor and employment law contexts collective bargaining takes on a more specific legal meaning. In a broad sense, however, it is the coming together of workers to negotiate their employment. Collective bargaining consists of the process of negotiation between representatives of a union and employers (represented by management, in some countries by 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 typical Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") will contain a preamble that acknowledges the existence of the union as the exclusive bargaining agent for the employees, the date of the agreement, and any employees that are excluded from the bargaining unit. The following provisions are also usually included:

1. Management Rights. The rights of management should be spelled out here, rights which have been negotiated and agreed upon. Typically, management will want to reserve the right to direct the work of its employees; hire, promote, demote, transfer, assign and retain employees; suspend, discipline, or discharge employees from proper cause; maintain the efficiency of governmental operations; relieve employees from duties because of lack of work or for other legitimate reasons; and take such actions as may be necessary to carry out the mission of the company. The employer may also want to reserve the right to take all other actions "permitted by law" to the extent they are not prohibited in the agreement.
2. Grievance Procedure. This section should lay the groundwork for the grievance procedure. It should first define what a grievance is; typically, a complaint that the employer has violated one or more of the terms of the CBA. The section should then describe in detail the grievance procedure: what a grievance shall contain, which sections of the agreement were allegedly violated, the "statute of limitations" on any grievance, and the steps that will be taken once a valid grievance has been filed. Each CBA is different, but the negotiations between management and the union will usually lead to the creation of a grievance board, a procedure for appeal, which may include a binding arbitration provision, and a promise that the employee will be allowed union representation during the grievance process.
About the Author
Mark Warner is a Legal Research Analyst for RealDealDocs.com. RealDealDocs gives you insider access to millions of legal documents drafted by the top law firms in the US. Search over 10 million Documents, Clauses, and Legal Agreements for Free at http://www.RealDealDocs.com
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