The Battlefield - Section 4 - Collective Bargaining: How it Works and Why - 3rd Edition
Thomas R. Colosi is American Arbitration Association Vice President for National Affairs and a third-party neutral. He spends much of his time training advocates and neutrals about the workings of dispute resolution. He has taught as an adjunct professor for the University of Maryland Law School and at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Arthur E. Berkeley is Associate Professor at the Memphis State University’s School of Business, where he teaches alternative dispute resolution. He is involved in training programs as well as serving as an arbitrator. He served as the founding president of the Maryland Chapter of Industrial Relations Research Association.
Originally from Collective Bargaining: How it Works and Why - 3rd Edition
IN THIS SECTION we discuss some subjects that cause disputes.
Scope of Bargaining
When the union and employer sit down to negotiate an agreement, there are certain limitations on what they may and may not negotiate about. To take some extreme examples, the parties are not free to negotiate higher benefits for only those members of the bargaining unit who are dues-paying members of the union, nor may the parties agree to violate applicable laws, such as minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Whether the negotiations take place under the National Labor Relations Act in the private sector or under various federal, state or local laws or ordinances, there are usually three broad categories into which negotiations may be classified, although particulars will vary with applicable governing laws.
The first category contains mandatory items of bargaining, which the parties must negotiate. The failure to do so constitutes an unfair labor practice. In the private sector, wages, hours and conditions of work are considered mandatory subjects. It must be noted that, while something may be mandatory, the law is explicit about concessions not being required. Put simply, as long as the employer is willing to discuss wages with the union at reasonable times and places, the employer is not required to make any compromise. Admittedly, the courts have often had great difficulty in distinguishing hard bargaining, which is legal, from a refusal to bargain in good faith, which is illegal.
Scope of Bargaining
Subjects of Bargaining
Points to Ponder