Overview: Part of the labor management process might include engaging in the collective bargaining process. If a union is declared the exclusive representative of a group of employees, a bargaining obligation arises, and the employer may no longer attempt to strike deals with individual employees. The employer and union must instead negotiate a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in good faith that will govern the terms and conditions of employment for the unionized employees. Once the CBA is in place, the parties must then bargain to change any of its terms.
The collective bargaining process requires that the parties negotiate in good faith. This means that both parties must enter the bargaining process with a real intent to reach a fair written agreement and use their best efforts to achieve this goal.
Neither party can request or require the other party to agree to any terms that violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and/or federal or state antidiscrimination laws.
Trends: Under the NLRA, union employees cannot be disciplined for engaging in "protected concerted activity" for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been going after union and non-union employers for any workplace polices or practice that restrain employees from engaging in protected concerted activity. Employee complaints about work, supervisors, the employer, salaries, or other co-workers on a social networking site, may be deemed to be protected activity by the NLRB.
Melissa Boyce, J.D., Legal Editor
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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.
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In WKYC-TV, Gannet Co., Inc., the NLRB reversed its 1962 decision in Bethlehem Steel, 136 NLRB 1500 (1962), and held that the dues checkoff provision is part of the status quo terms and conditions of employment that an employer must maintain until a new collective bargaining agreement or a lawful impasse is reached.
General Counsel of the NLRB continues to consider protected concerted activity to be at the forefront and that it is willing to strike down provisions that chill employees' right to engage in collective action. In Thermal Tech, Inc., the Associate General Counsel considered whether the moonlighting and noncompete provisions of an employer's mandatory employment agreement violated employees' Section 7 rights.
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HR guidance on the collective bargaining process.
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