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Collective Bargaining Subjects - Mandatory, Permissible and Prohibited

Author: Kimberly F. Seten, Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP

During the collective bargaining process, an employer must be aware of which subjects, including terms and conditions of employment, that it may or may not submit for negotiations with the union. Those subjects that an employer and a union must negotiate are called mandatory subjects of bargaining. Neither the employer nor the union can refuse to bargain about that particular issue. Permissive subjects of bargaining are those subjects about which the employer and the union may bargain, but neither side may bargain to impasse. Prohibited subjects of bargaining include those that would violate the National Labor Relations Act or other federal, state, or local laws. The following chart lists commonly recognized contract clauses falling within each category: