Negotiating A First Collective Bargaining Agreement

Once the NRL confirms the union elections, it is time for both sides to start negotiating the first collective agreement. Chris Langford, strategist and organizer of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), describes some of the important negotiations: many different statutes come into play during the negotiation process. For most workers, negotiations in the private sector are governed by the National Labour Relations Act (NLRA). As far as rail and air personnel are concerned, the Railway Works Act (RLA) governs negotiations. Federal workers are covered by the Public Service Reform Act. Public and local government staff are subject to public sector government collective laws. Arbitration also involves a procedure for resolving complaints between the university and the Union, following the completion of all internal stages of the appeal procedure and the non-resolution of the complaint. Arbitration proceedings in the context of the appeal are referred to as « rights arbitration » (i.e., the rights of the parties must be defined within the framework of the collective agreement). Arbitration is akin to a court proceeding in which a representative of the university and a representative of the Union make opening statements and make their arguments. Typically, parties also call witnesses (for example. B mourners and other employees/managers) who answer questions from university and union representatives.

The arbitrator or arbitrator makes a decision that the parties must follow. Under current legislation, workers and unions are limited in their ability to insist that their employer negotiate with them the terms and conditions of employment of workers in their employer`s suppliers and subcontractors. The current legal definition of « common employer » is too narrow to bring employers to the bargaining table and employers are generally unwilling to negotiate with their unions the terms of employment of their contractual partners36. For example, the Union of Machinists negotiated with both a public contractor and a subcontractor around the table and concluded agreements covering the workers of both employers.