Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights
Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights

Understanding collective bargaining agreements as a worker

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Labor Law

Having conflicts or concerns as an employee can be an isolating experience. However, when you are part of a union, representatives work on your behalf to resolve issues and preserve employees’ rights. One primary way of accomplishing this is with collective bargaining.

The ABCs of CBAs

A collective bargaining agreement is a contract between the union representing the employees and the employer. It outlines wages, hours, promotions, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.

But it’s more than just a document; it’s a safeguard for fairness in the workplace.

Bargaining process at a glance

Collective bargaining is a negotiation process between unions and employers. Under the National Labor Relations Act, the topics discussed fall into three categories:

  • Mandatory subjects: These are essential topics that parties must discuss, like wages, hours, and terms of employment.
  • Permissive or voluntary subjects: These include topics that parties may negotiate if they both agree to do so, such as certain employee benefits.
  • Illegal subjects: These are topics that cannot be part of the negotiations, like discriminatory practices or permissions allowing employers to fire workers for engaging in union activities.

Understanding these categories helps both sides know what can and cannot be included in their discussions.

How does this information help individual employees?

Even when you aren’t directly involved in the negotiation of CBAs, knowing what they involve is crucial because:

  • Knowing the details of your CBA empowers you to understand your rights and the benefits you should receive.
  • Being familiar with the CBA allows you to more effectively tackle issues that may arise.
  • Understanding your CBA means you can advocate for yourself and your colleagues, ensuring the workplace adheres to the negotiated terms.

Familiarizing yourself with the basics of CBAs equips you with the necessary information to protect your interests and contribute to a fair working environment. Should you have questions or concerns, you can also contact an experienced attorney for more individual guidance and support.

Collective bargaining agreements are more than just legal jargon; they are the pillars that support your work life. Knowing your rights and having legal counsel can empower you to work with confidence.