Overview: The labor management process may include collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is a good-faith effort by an employer and a union to engage in a give and take process to achieve a freely negotiated written contract - also known as a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
A good faith effort typically includes:
CBAs can provide employees with greater rights then those minimally required by state or federal law. Unions frequently fight to secure rights that are not typically covered under state or federal law - such as seniority criteria, grievance/arbitration procedures, minimum leave of benefits and retirement type of benefits.
During the process of securing a CBA, employers must be careful not to engage in any unfair labor practices, such as refusing to sign the CBA or bargaining exclusively by mail or through the exchange of written proposals only. Generally, once a CBA is signed, an employer cannot make unilateral changes to its terms and conditions. If one party ignores its obligations under the CBA, the other party can request or compel arbitration of the dispute.
Trends: Some CBAs have provisions that address paid leave, provide for leave beyond the 12 weeks of FMLA, address the availability of light duty assignments, or discuss the accrual and use of, or bidding for, paid time off.
Employers with partially or fully unionized workforces should make sure that employees leaves under the FMLA, ADA, state law or employer policy comply with the provisions of any applicable CBA and that the most favorable protections are applied.
Author: Melissa Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
New guidance is available to help an employer prepare for the collective bargaining process with a union.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the rights of employees to organize and select a union in order to address issues regarding wages, hours, and working conditions. In order to bargain effectively, an employer must understand its legal obligations under the NLRA and properly prepare for negotiations so that it can obtain an agreement on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that satisfies its economic and operational needs.
Items such as flame-retardant jackets, hardhats and work gloves that are both designed and used to cover the body and are commonly regarded as articles of dress count as clothes under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Supreme Court ruled in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp.
The Hours Worked > Clothes-Changing or Washing Under a CBA section of the Employment Law Manual now includes information about what constitutes "clothes" under Section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Supreme Court has agreed to review a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that held that requiring Illinois non-union home health care workers to pay a "fair share" of union dues based on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) does not compel their speech and association with the union in violation of the First Amendment.
California public employers may be required to provide unions operating under an "agency shop" agreement with the home addresses and phone numbers of all employees, even non-union employees, according to a recent California Supreme Court ruling.
In Litton Financial Printing Division v. NLRB, 501 U.S. 190 (1991), the Supreme Court addressed whether a dispute over the layoff of employees which occurred well after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement must be arbitrated nonetheless under the arbitration provision of the then-expired collective bargaining agreement.
If Congress and the White House do not reach a deal on the sequestration,employers with federal contracts should be prepared to take immediate action to deal with drastic cuts in government spending that will result. Federal contractors should anticipate how the sequestration will directly affect their workplace with respect to complying with Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, wage and hour requirements, benefits and immigration status as well as unions and collective bargaining agreement issues. Employers should also expect possible lawsuits from workers laid off due to spending cuts.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp. and resolve a split in the circuits over what types of clothes-changing may be excluded from working time under section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
HR guidance on collective bargaining agreements.