Labor 101: What is Collective Bargaining?

The Working Stiff Journal Vol. 2 #2, March 1999 by Jackie Dana For some in the labor movement, collective bargaining is the pinnacle of union organizing; for others, it is little more than a layer of bureaucracy that takes power away from unions and the workers as a whole. Collective bargaining is the process by which a union gains a contract with an employer. Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, workers gained the legal right to join unions and engage in collective bargaining. Under the provisions of the law, once workers organize and approve a union through an election, the employer is required to meet with union representatives “at reasonable times and confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment,” with the result being the “execution of a written contract incorporating any agreement reached….” Contracts spell out wages and benefits, working conditions, and the security of the union as well … Read more…