Jump to Section
Need help with a legal contract?
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
Seasoned technology lawyer with 22+ years of experience working with the hottest start-ups through IPO and Fortune 50. My focus is primarily technology transactions with an emphasis on SaaS and Privacy, but I also provide GC services for more active clients.
I am a California-barred attorney specializing in business contracting needs. My areas of expertise include contract law, corporate formation, employment law, including independent contractor compliance, regulatory compliance and licensing, and general corporate law. I truly enjoy getting to know my clients, whether they are big businesses, small start-ups looking to launch, or individuals needing legal guidance. Some of my recent projects include: -drafting business purchase and sale agreements -drafting independent contractor agreements -creating influencer agreements -creating compliance policies and procedures for businesses in highly regulated industries -drafting service contracts -advising on CA legality of hiring gig workers including effects of Prop 22 and AB5 -forming LLCs -drafting terms of service and privacy policies -reviewing employment contracts I received my JD from UCLA School of Law and have been practicing for over five years in this area. I’m an avid reader and writer and believe those skills have served me well in my practice. I also complete continuing education courses regularly to ensure I am up-to-date on best practices for my clients. I pride myself on providing useful and accurate legal advice without complex and confusing jargon. I look forward to learning about your specific needs and helping you to accomplish your goals. Please reach out to learn more about my process and see if we are a good fit!
I am a NY licensed attorney experienced in business contracts, agreements, waivers and more, corporate law, and trademark registration. My office is a sole member Law firm therefore, I Take pride in giving every client my direct attention and focus. I focus on getting the job done fast while maintaining high standards.
A twenty-five year attorney and certified mediator native to the Birmingham, Alabama area.
I absolutely love helping my clients buy their first home, sell their starters, upgrade to their next big adventure, or transition to their next phase of life. The confidence my clients have going into a transaction and through the whole process is one of the most rewarding aspects of practicing this type of law. My very first class in law school was property law, and let me tell you, this was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I remember vividly cracking open that big red book and staring at the pages not having the faintest idea what I was actually reading. Despite those initial scary moments, I grew to love property law. My obsession with real estate law was solidified when I was working in Virginia at a law firm outside DC. I ran the settlement (escrow) department and learned the ins and outs of transactions and the unique needs of the parties. My husband and I bought our first home in Virginia in 2012 and despite being an attorney, there was so much we didn’t know, especially when it came to our HOA and our mortgage. Our real estate agent was a wonderful resource for finding our home and negotiating some of the key terms, but there was something missing in the process. I’ve spent the last 10 years helping those who were in the same situation we were in better understand the process.
Samantha has focused her career on developing and implementing customized compliance programs for SEC, CFTC, and FINRA regulated organizations. She has worked with over 100 investment advisers, alternative asset managers (private equity funds, hedge funds, real estate funds, venture capital funds, etc.), and broker-dealers, with assets under management ranging from several hundred million to several billion dollars. Samantha has held roles such as Chief Compliance Officer and Interim Chief Compliance Officer for SEC-registered investment advisory firms, “Of Counsel” for law firms, and has worked for various securities compliance consulting firms. Samantha founded Coast to Coast Compliance to make a meaningful impact on clients’ businesses overall, by enhancing or otherwise creating an exceptional and customized compliance program and cultivating a strong culture of compliance. Coast to Coast Compliance provides proactive, comprehensive, and independent compliance solutions, focusing primarily on project-based deliverables and various ongoing compliance pain points for investment advisers, broker-dealers, and other financial services firms.
Experienced General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer