Jump to Section
Need help with a legal contract?
Post Your Project (It's Free)
Get Bids to Compare
Hire Your Lawyer
What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)?
When a workplace has a union, negotiation between employees and employers defines the terms that govern certain aspects of the workplace. The legal contract that defines these terms is called a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). This document defines the terms of condition of employment and includes details about things like wages and hours.
How Collective Bargaining Agreements Work
Collective bargaining agreements make employer-employee negotiations legally binding. They are helpful to both parties because they define, in writing, the terms of employment that are required from each.
The process for coming to a collective bargaining agreement varies, but generally the timeline looks something like this:
- Need for Negotiation : The event that triggers a need for collective bargaining agreements is a need for contract negotiation . This might entail a dispute between employees and their employers regarding wages, hours, or some other aspect of the job. Agreements can also expire, prompting a meeting for a new collective bargaining agreement.
- Preparation : When meetings occur for collective bargaining agreements, each party chooses someone to represent them. This could be an appointed member of a board or an appointed employee. Employment lawyers or labor lawyers are also options for representation. During the preparation phase employees prepare their demands and employers prepare their negotiations.
- Ground Rule Determination : Each collective bargaining agreement meeting is conducted based on pre-determined ground rules that both parties agree on prior to the meeting. These rules might include where and when a meeting will take place, what types of negotiations are acceptable, and how long a party has to inquire or respond.
- Negotiation Begins : The negotiation stage of a collective bargaining agreement is essential to change in the workplace. Bargaining subjects fall under one of three categories: mandatory , permissive , or illegal . Mandatory subjects, such as work hours and compensation, are required parts of the negotiating process by federal law. Permissive subjects, such as internal company affairs, are optional. Illegal “closed shop” clauses, where companies will only hire members of a union, are examples of illegal subjects.
- Tentative Agreement Reached : Once negotiation concludes and both parties agree on resolution, a tentative agreement is reached. This is drafted into the collective bargaining agreement and gives specific details about the matters discussed and the agreed-upon solution for each. At this stage, the union will review and either approve or deny the agreement. If the agreement is approved, the collective bargaining agreement is signed and certified. If it is denied, one of two things will happen: negotiations will resume, or members will take action, such as organizing a strike. This stage may not occur until several rounds of negotiation are completed first.
- Union Members Vote to Ratify : When an agreement is approved and certified by the labor union, union members sometimes must vote to ratify the agreement. Since both parties often choose a representative to speak for their interests during negotiations, this step ensures that the proposed solution to disputes is in alignment with the employees’ desires.
Check out this article to learn more the collective bargaining agreement process.
Examples of Collective Bargaining Agreements
Collective bargaining agreements are valuable tools to have in any workplace. They ensure that employees are treated fairly and that employers understand their role in prioritizing their workers’ needs.
Here is an example of a successful collective bargaining agreement:
The employees at JJ’s Grocery Store do not received paid vacation. The employees are all a part of a labor union and decide to come together to demand paid vacation time from the company’s upper management.
First, the employees go to the labor union board to explain their demands and to ask for help. Then, with the help of labor lawyers , they bring their demands to upper management. They explain that they want a minimum of three weeks’ vacation for all full-time employees with extra vacation days given to those who have more tenure in the company.
The grocery store’s management decides that paid vacation time is a reasonable request from their employees, but that the company’s budget does not include enough money to compensate for three full weeks of vacation. Instead, they propose that each employee will receive two weeks.
Employees of the grocery store review the negotiations and agree to the two-week vacation time offer. The measure is finalized and placed into a collective bargaining agreement to be filed and certified so that it can be legally binding.
For more examples of collective bargaining agreements, check out this webpage .
What’s Included in Collective Bargaining Agreements
Collective bargaining agreements include a wide range of different objectives and solutions within. Since they are documents meant for the improvement of processes and rules for the benefits of employees, all of the objectives within deal with different aspects of an employee’s role with the company. There are also several parts of a collective bargaining agreement that operate to set the expectation for certain events, such as termination or disciplinary procedures.
Here are some examples of what collective bargaining agreements might detail:
- Hours and wages
- Employee benefits
- Strikes and lock-outs
- Working conditions
- Management rights
- Disciplinary procedures
- Termination and layoff policies
- Holiday pay
- Employee benefits
- Leave policies
- Retirement benefits
Find out more about what’s included in collective bargaining agreements here .
Image via Pexels by Pixabay
Are Collective Bargaining Agreements Legally Binding?
Collective bargaining agreements are legal contracts that make it illegal for employers or employees to violate the terms within. Having a legally binding aspect to a CBA is essential since these agreements are created with the employees in mind.
Consequences to Violating Collective Bargaining Agreements
When a collective bargaining agreement is violated, there are consequences. This is beneficial to both parties of the agreement since it reinforces the necessity to obey the agreement. However, violations unfortunately do still happen. Luckily, with a collective bargaining agreement in place, legal recourse can be taken against the offending party.
- When employees violate an agreement : The most common legal recourse that can be taken against a violating employee is a disciplinary measure. This might include a probationary period, a suspension, and even a termination. Some companies opt for a strike system, where an employee has a limited number of violation occurrences before a disciplinary action is taken.
- When employers violate an agreement : Collective bargaining agreements also include information about what happens when an employer violates an agreement. Some companies set up a review board that takes employee complaints and investigates them. If the complaint is substantiated, employers have their own disciplinary processes that are often similar to that of the employees. If an employee is unsuccessful in getting a resolution within the company regarding a violation, collective bargaining agreements are sufficient contractual proof to open a formal legal case against the offending party.
Check out this webpage for more details about collective bargaining agreements and their legality.
Get Help with Collective Bargaining Agreements
Are you ready to start negotiating a collective bargaining agreement? You need professional labor lawyers or employment lawyers on your side to help walk you through the process. Post a project on ContractsCounsel today to get connected with employment lawyers and labor lawyers who understand your needs and are standing by to help.
Meet some of our Collective Bargaining Agreement Lawyers
I am a top-performing bi-lingual legal services professional with a proven record of success. Reputation of assessing and evaluating client’s needs and providing individualized solutions in line with those needs while efficiently handling multiple tasks simultaneously. Able to create a collaborative work environment ensuring business objectives are consistently met. Seeking an attorney role within a legal setting to apply skills in critical thinking, executive communications, and client advocacy.
I run a small law firm in Pasadena, CA. I have been practicing for almost 10 years and the other attorneys at my firm each have 12+ years of experience. We focus on business and employment law, protecting and defending business owners. While my clients are all sizes, I particularly enjoy helping smaller companies and individuals manage their legal needs without the high price tag.
I have over 25 years' experience representing individual and company clients, large and small, in transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, private offerings of securities, commercial loans and commercial endeavors (supply contracts, manufacturing agreements, joint ventures, intellectual property licenses, etc.). My particular specialty is in complex and novel drafting.
I assist individuals and businesses across the state of Florida with contract drafting, contract interpretation, and issues that may arise because of contract terms, including demands (cease-and-desist letters) and litigation. I have experience with general service contracts, non-compete agreements, settlement agreements, and many other contracts. Please reach out if I can help you with a contract-related project!
Brianna is a well-respected New York attorney with a Juris Doctorate degree in law from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law School and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Dowling College. Since becoming an attorney, she has practiced in various areas including business law, residential real estate, commercial real estate, criminal law, traffic law, employment law, landlord tenant law, estate planning, and has represented intermediaries in procurement and the personal protective equipment industry. Brianna has broad and extensive business experience; She is an entrepreneur and co-owner of a microtechnology manufacturing company that was built by her and her partner, where she also served as the Chief Legal Officer and Human Resource Manager for the company. While building the manufacturing business, she created a brokerage firm for business transactions and has managed several other businesses which she has ownership interest in. Brianna’s involvement in these various businesses over the past 15 years provides a unique skillset to her clients; Not only does she understand contractual principals and obligations from a legal perspective while drafting and negotiating agreements, but she also has the foresight, experience, and ability to ensure the agreement reflects the practical aspects of the business. Based on the client’s needs and desired outcome, she has the forethought to cover different angles that would be overlooked from a legal standpoint, and as a result she is able to help prevent unforeseen business ramifications. She conducts extensive risk assessments on behalf of her clients and minimizes exposure to potential liability without “over lawyering” agreements. Additionally, she specializes in drafting and negotiating agreements. Negotiation is a passion of hers which was applied in law school while she was a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society, notably winning Touro Law School’s intraschool negotiation competition. In her more recent years, Brianna has removed herself from her various business interests to focus on her law practice. Brianna has a strong moral compass and believes in quality over quantity. She treats every client as a top priority; thus, she will not take on many cases at a time because she wants to give each client the focus and attention they deserve. She has sharp attention to detail and is a forceful advocate for every client.
Experienced attorney focusing on estate planning, probate administration, business formation and counseling, and consumer bankruptcy.