Everything you need to know about the process of collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is a process by which employers and employees confer in good faith and come to an understanding about the terms and conditions of work and other related aspects.
The objective of bargaining is to settle matters on discussion tables with mutual consent and cooperation.
Management is usually represented by senior executives of the company and the workers are represented by the trade union leaders and officials.
Among the different methods available for the settlement of industrial disputes and coming to a long-term understanding with labour, collective bargaining is the most important one.
The steps involved in the process of collective bargaining are:-
1. Preparing for Negotiations 2. Identifying Bargaining Issues 3. Negotiations Procedure 4. Bargaining Strategy 5. Reaching the Agreement 6. Ratifying the Agreement 7. Administration of the Agreement.
Process of Collective Bargaining: 7 Step by Step Process
Process of Collective Bargaining – Negotiation Team, Preparation of Demands, Negotiating Procedure, Bargaining Strategy and a Few Others
The term collective bargaining refers to the negotiation, administration, and interpretation of written agreement between two parties that covers a specific period of time. This agreement or contract lays out in specific terms the conditions of employment; that is what is expected of employees and what limits are there on management’s authority.
The term collective bargaining was first utilised by Sidney and Beatrice Webb written at the beginning of this century. They believed that collective bargaining was the collective equivalent to individual bargaining, where the prime aim was to achieve economic advantage and was undertaken between trade unions and employers or employer’s organizations.
The classical definition of collective bargaining has been subject to a number of critical analyses. In the late 60’s, Flanders (1968) argued that this view of collective bargaining was erroneous; rather collective bargaining should be understood as a rule – making process which established the rules under which the economic purchase of labour could initially take place.
Further, to establish rules, collective bargaining outlines a framework for future negotiations regarding buying and selling of labour. Thus, collective bargaining is not a collective equivalent of individual bargaining, as nothing is actually bought or sold; only the conditions, under which the commodity of labour can be bought or sold, are established.
It is in fact a body of rules intended to regulate. The terms of employment contracts… Collective bargaining is itself essentially a rule making process.
Flanders goes on the argue that collective bargaining also entails a power relationship; the imbalance of economic power, status and security between the single employee and that of the management can, to some degree, be addressed by collective pressure such that agreements are compromise settlements of power conflicts.
In consequence, collective bargaining is a political activity undertaken by professional negotiators and this clearly differentiates it from individual negotiation.
Fox (1975) had disputes with Flander’s argument, that an individual bargain is an economic exchange which always concludes with an agreement, whereas collective bargaining is essentially a process to establish rules for exchange. In fact, there is no assurance that either process will achieve agreement on terms acceptable to the parties involved in negotiation.
Even Fox strongly argues that Flanders view of collective bargaining as primarily political ignores the fact that “The intensity of conviction, effort and feeling which many trade unions are appear to invest in pay claims hardly seems to be given sufficient recognition and weight in the Flanders analysis.” Chamberlain and Kuhn (1965) offer an analysis to form the bargaining process.
The collective bargaining process has three main stages, that is, the identification stage, the negotiation stage, and the stage of contract administration. In the process of identifying the problem, both parties have to decide if the problem needs to be addressed immediately or alternately can be deferred for some time. The influencing factors in problem identification stage are selection and size of representatives, negotiation period, agreement duration, etc.
While negotiating for the agreement, the chief negotiator from the management side presides the process and presents the problem, its scope, and invites views from both parties. After listening to the arguments and counter arguments, he or she facilitates a solution, which is acceptable to both parties.
The essentials to be included in the collective agreement are the purpose of the agreement, rights and responsibilities of the management and the trade union, terms and conditions of employment, procedures of grievance redressal, dispute settlement methodology, and termination clause for ending the agreement.
The key factor determining the success of collective bargaining is ‘contract administration’. Both parties should understand the terms and conditions of the contract, explain it to all the workers at large, and build support for its effective administration.
The factors hindering the effective functioning of the collective bargaining process include failure of employers to accept inevitability of trade unions, separatist tendencies of trade unions, failure of both parties in preparing for the process, unfair practices, and unequal strength of the parties.
In this process the following main steps are involved:
1. Negotiation Team
2. Preparation of Demands
3. Negotiating Procedure
4. Bargaining Strategy
5. Preparation of Agreement
6. Administration of Agreement
1. Negotiating Team:
Two types of teams, one from management side and other from workers side are essential for bargaining the issues because the interest of both sides are involved. On the workers side, the team consists of the office bearers of the unions while from management side the team may consist personnel, production and finance managers, etc. The chief Executive of the organisation is out of the team. It is not necessary that the number of representatives from both the sides be equal.
2. Preparation of Demands:
Now the next step which is very important is the preparation of demands. Generally the charter of demands presented to management by the unions is prepared by the members of negotiating team in consultation with other employees of the organisation or if necessary the involvement of an outside expert is permitted.
3. Negotiating Procedure:
After that the stage, process of negotiation is started. Generally two types of process may be adopted by team – (i) Piecemeal negotiation – In this process the issues taken one by one, (ii) Total approach – In this process all the issues are negotiated considering total effect. The process and authority during negotiations should be clearly spelt out by the management.
4. Bargaining Strategy:
There is no any specific strategy for negotiating the issues. It depends upon situation, time, strength and other market conditions. But the main point is to keep attention on the entire package and its ultimate results rather than on immediate gains or losses.
5. Preparation of Agreement:
The-outcome of collective bargaining process is the preparation of an Agreement. When the bargaining issues are solved then it is put on a paper. Legal terminology should be avoided as much as possible. The agreement should be signed by both the parties and communicated to all concerned. In our country it is called a ‘Settlement’ within the meaning of Section 2(p) of the Industrial Disputes Act., 1947.
6. Administration of Agreement:
The administration of agreement is concerned to both management and workers because under Section 29 of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 any person who commits a breach of any term of the settlement is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
One very important point is relevant to mention here that the collective bargaining is a temporary accommodation because the unions may always demand the renewal of such agreements before their expiry and the management may reject this demand, as a result, this may again lead to negotiations. Therefore we can say that the collective bargaining is a continuous process.
Process of Collective Bargaining – 6 Major Steps: Preparing for Negotiations, Identifying Bargaining Issues, Negotiations Procedure, Reaching the Agreement and a Few Others
Collective bargaining is a process by which employers and employees confer in good faith and come to an understanding about the terms and conditions of work and other related aspects. The objective of bargaining is to settle matters on discussion tables with mutual consent and cooperation.
Management is usually represented by senior executives of the company and the workers are represented by the trade union leaders and officials. Among the different methods available for the settlement of industrial disputes and coming to a long-term understanding with labour, collective bargaining is the most important one.
The process of collective bargaining involves six major steps:
Step # 1. Preparing for Negotiations:
Preparing for negotiations involves preparation before negotiation with the other parties to reach to an agreement Both the parties involved in collective bargaining should prepare before going for negotiation so that there can be proper negotiation at the time of discussion. The preparation would include the issue, parties involved, causes, costs and impacts. This would bring confidence in the participating parties and would result in effective negotiation. This is the first step of the process.
Step # 2. Identifying Bargaining Issues:
Before going for negotiation, the issue and possible related areas for discussion are to be identified. The knowledge regarding these issues must be collected. All detailed information should be wife the negotiator. During discussion, the confusions can be avoided. The negotiator on the basis of through knowledge of the issue for discussion would proper and effective discussion and the problem solution would become very easy.
Step # 3. Negotiations Procedure:
The negotiation procedure means how the negotiation would take place. Negotiation procedure is the method of negotiation. It would show that the activities are to be performed, who would perform and sequence and timing of the activities. This would clear the position in mind of negotiator and would bring confidence in his mind.
Step # 4. Reaching the Agreement:
The negotiation process begins when the concerned parties meet and submit their demand on the table to the other parties. It starts with submission of the demands of the trade union to the management. The negotiation starts with the submission and bargaining takes place. Through discussion they reach to an agreement. Negotiation completes with a mutually acceptable agreement.
Step # 5. Ratifying the Agreement:
During discussion whatever they have discussed and reach to an agreement that is to be ratified by both the parties. Once the agreement is ratified, the issue of difference or conflict is over and negotiation comes to an aid. Without acceptance of the agreement the negotiation cannot be completed.
Step # 6. Administration of the Agreement:
Once the agreement is accepted and signed, the agreement will be administered as per the terms and conditions of the agreement. In future, the work would be performed according to the ratified agreement. If doubt is there then the agreement in written would be referred.
If the process completes the above mentioned steps it can be said the collective bargaining process has been completed. If not or some steps not followed, then it can be said the bargaining process was not effective or a failure. So these steps are important in this process.
Process of Collective Bargaining – 7 Steps Involved in Collective Bargaining Process
A great deal of preparation goes into the collective bargaining process from the stage of preparation to the ratifying the agreement. Some companies and union organizations get their preparation started way ahead of the actual bargaining session itself. Such preparation involves collecting data pertaining to the presentation of their own side, anticipating the type of questions from their opponents, reviewing previous sessions in previous contracts, type of rebuttals to be given, statistical support, the economic data, and assessing the political climate and so on.
Collective Bargaining is an important process which helps to confront both the employer and employees in a more positive and structured manner without much disruption to the functioning of the organization, carried out with good spirit. It is a kind of forum for both groups to meet together. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), collective bargaining helps to protect the fundamental rights of employees by providing social protection and maintaining sound Industrial Relations.
Let us look at the Bargaining Process.
Although the following are general steps in the bargaining process, they do undergo some changes, not too drastic. Incorporating these changes, whether seating arrangements or the agenda line-up, of the schedules, may be from the past bargaining experiences.
1. Selection of Team members for each sides of negotiation team. Generally, criteria are based on experience, loyalty, skill, ability to comprehend, and negotiation skill or ability.
2. A few practice sessions are planned and carried out on each side. It is like cat and mouse game. So anticipate what the other Team is going to say or do. Management must depend on solid information to support their position. The preparation time may take longer depending on the issue at hand.
3. Meeting of both sides at a specified date, time, and place. At times, the choices of meeting place come under debate and discussion. Each side will make a presentation about its demands. Generally, the side which has demands or grievances will make the presentation first. Then the other side presents its position or rebuts the points made by the other without wasting much time.
4. Get into the core of the bargaining process. Arguments and counter-arguments will be made with supporting data and information. Both sides will go by their planned strategies. At times each party may have to consult superiors, consultants and advisors. Consultation is critical before proceeding further or taking their approval.
5. If the bargaining doesn’t progress further and all the attempts are fruitless, they may agree for third party intervention. Any number of things may happen, ranging from rescheduling the bargaining session after a break, arbitration, adjudication and so on. The contract doesn’t come into force until it is ratified.
6. In case an agreement is reached, the contract should be ratified after securing the employer’s approval and members of the union approval. The contract doesn’t become operational or functional until it is ratified by both sides although they get an indication before that.
7. Only the successful implementation of the contract can tell whether the collective bargaining exercise is successful or not. The management must take up the responsibility for explaining and implementing the collective agreement by training its members.
The collective bargaining session may take place at work site, or corporate headquarters or at the Industry level locations. Very proactive companies make the needed arrangements for such sessions. The unions go along with such arrangement if they are convinced the straightforwardness, honesty, and open communications exist. The past record can be a good indicator. The collective bargaining structure is a kind of framework set up for the negotiation process and the scope of such negotiation is clearly defined and all the details are circulated before the negotiation starts.
To sum up the above steps:
1. Submission of a notice by the union to the company
2. The company responds within 10 days of receipt of notice
3. Unions representatives and management hold meetings on the notice
4. If both parties agree on the proposal, agreement is signed
5. If deadlock, the union may file a notice of strike or company lockout notice.
6. Third party may get in to resolve through mediation
7. If the deadlock persists for more than 30 days, the union goes on strike or management on lockout
8. Some more efforts to avert the deadlock before strike or lockout
9. The case may be elevated to compulsory arbitration.
10. Appeal can be made to the Supreme Court
11. Finally, the Collective Bargaining Agreement is submitted for membership ratification. This step is avoided if compulsory arbitration is involved.
The success of the collective bargaining agreement depends on the ability of both parties to implement the agreement on their sides. Generally, the tenure of the agreement is for three years from the date of the contract. The contract should be interpreted properly by the labor as well the management sides. They should think of this problem while negotiating the contract and include proper remedial measures.
Process of Collective Bargaining – Preparing for Negotiation, Identifying Issues of Bargaining, Negotiation and a Few Others
Collective Bargaining is a method under which the unions and management come together to resolve their conflicting interests. It is called collective bargaining. Therefore, the representatives of workers as a group meet the employer to sort out their differences. It plays an important role in improving the labour-management relations and ensures industrial peace and harmony.
According to ILO – “Collective Bargaining refers to negotiations about working conditions and terms of employment between an employer and group of employees with a view to reaching an agreement wherein rights and obligations of each party are defined fixing a large number of detailed conditions of employment etc.”
According to R.F. Hozie – “Collective Bargaining is a mode of fixing terms of employment by means of bargaining between an organisational body of employees and an employer. The essence of Collective Bargaining is a bargain between interested parties and not a decree from outside parties.”
Collective bargaining process involves a series of activities. It begins with identifying the bargaining issues, followed by negotiation process and finally preparation and implementation of the agreement.
1. Preparing for Negotiation:
This phase involves forming the negotiation team. The negotiation team should consist of representatives of both the parties with adequate knowledge and skills for negotiation. The negotiating team should have a clear knowledge and understanding of the main issues to be covered. The necessary data has to be collected on a number of issues. The personnel department sets the objectives which are proposed to be achieved through negotiation.
2. Identifying Issues of Bargaining:
The major issues to be discussed in collective bargaining are to be identified. The issues may include wage related issues like how basic wage rates are to determined, overtime pay and incentives, pension plans, paid vacations, paid holidays, health insurance plans, retrenchment pay, unemployment pension, rights and duties of employers, employees, unions, employee health and safety, technological changes, work rules, job security, training and so on.
The negotiation phase begins with each side presenting its initial demands. Different possible options are discussed to resolve the problems. Both the parties involved give patience hearing to the others problem and tries to solve the problem jointly.
4. Settlement and Contract Agreement:
Discussions and arguments continue until a consensus is reached. When both the parties mutually agree to an issue the agreement is formalized into a contract. It is important that the contract must be clear and precise.
5. Administration of the Agreement:
The agreement must be implemented according to the letter and spirit of the provisions of the agreement. Faulty implementation or violation of any provision leads to disputes. The HR must play crucial role in the day-to-day administration of the contract.
Process of Collective Bargaining – Negotiation Team, Preparation of Demands, Negotiating Procedure, Bargaining Strategy, Preparation and Administration of Agreement
The following main steps are involved:
1. Negotiation Team
2. Preparation of Demands
3. Negotiating Procedure
4. Bargaining Strategy
5. Preparation of Agreement
6. Administration of Agreement.
All six steps pre explained as follows:
Process # 1. Negotiating Team:
In the negotiating team, there are two teams, one from management side and other from workers side and they are bargaining for the issues because the interest of both sides is involved. From the workers side, the team consists of the office bearers of the unions while from management side, the team may consist of personnel, production and finance managers, etc. The chief executive of the organisation is one of the team. It is not necessary that the number of representatives from both sides should be equal.
Process # 2. Preparation of Demands:
The next step is preparation of demands. Here members of negotiating team in consultation with other employees of the organisation prepared a charter of demand and presented it to the management. If necessary, here the expert from one side may be involved.
Process # 3. Negotiating Procedure:
After preparing the list of demand, the two parties come to the stage of negotiation. Generally, two types of processes are adopted by the team-
(a) Piecemeal negotiation, in which the issues are taken up one by one,
(b) Total approach, in which all issues are negotiated, considering total effect here the negotiations are clearly spelt out by the management.
Process # 4. Bargaining Strategy:
There is no specific strategy for negotiating the issues. It depends on the situation, time strength and other market conditions.
Process # 5. Preparation of Agreement:
The result of collective bargaining process is the preparation of agreement. The bargaining issues are solved and then, put on paper. The agreement should be signed by both the parties and communicated to all concerned. In our country it is called a “settlement” within the meaning of Section 2(p) of the Industrial Disputes Act.
Process # 6. Administration of Agreement:
The administration of agreement is left to both management and workers because under Section 29 of the Industrial Disputes Act any person who commits breach of any term of the settlement is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to sue months, imposition of a fine, or both.
An important and relevant point of collective bargaining is that it is a continuous process because the unions may always demand the renewal of such agreements before the expiry and the management always tries to reject this demand which may again lead to negotiations. Therefore, it is say that the collective bargaining is a continuous process.
Process of Collective Bargaining – 6 Processes
Collective bargaining is a process and, therefore, it must consist of certain steps through which the process is completed. There may be variation in the steps or sequencing of these steps depending on the nature of the parties involved in bargaining process.
There are four types of structures for collective bargaining depending on the nature of parties involved in bargaining:
1. One company dealing with a single union.
2. Several companies dealing with a single union.
3. Several unions dealing with a single company.
4. Several companies dealing with several unions.
In Indian context, all such structures are available. The bargaining process becomes more simple and easy in the first structure and becomes complicated in the remaining structures. Another factor which is important for effective bargaining is the approach adopted by the parties to the negotiation.
If their approach is positive and cooperative, the negotiation proceeds in right direction. Whatever may be the structure of bargaining and approach of the parties, collective bargaining proceeds through the steps.
Thus, in a collective bargaining process, various steps involved are as follows:
1. Preparation for negotiation.
2. Issues for bargaining.
4. Negotiated agreement.
5. Ratification of agreement.
6. Implementation of agreement.
Process # 1. Preparation for Negotiation:
Preparation for negotiation in a collective bargaining is as important as the negotiation process itself. Garry Luxmoore, a licensee with Effective Negotiation Services, an Australian negotiating consulting company, opines that “up to 83 per cent of the outcomes of the negotiations are influenced by pre-negotiation process. It is thus important to the homework.” Such preparation is required both by management as well as union.
From the management side, preparation is required as follows:
i. Management should decide when to open the negotiation; sometimes, it is advisable to open negotiation long before the expiry of previous settlement while, other times, fresh negotiation may start after the expiry of previous settlement. The management must interpret the situation appropriately and make the decision.
ii. Management must decide the representatives to negotiate at the negotiation table. These representatives should possess negotiating skills like emotional balance, communicative and listening, flexible attitudes, empathy, and knowledge of the issues involved in the bargaining.
iii. There should be analysis of the impact of various decisions which may emerge out of negotiations. Such an analysis helps in determining the extent of concessions that may be provided in the negotiation process. This may also help in convincing the union representatives if their demands exceed much more than what the company can provide.
iv. Draft for likely decisions should be prepared in advance so that final agreement draft can be prepared as soon as the negotiation process is over.
From the employees’ side, preparation is required on the following:
i. The union should collect the facts about the financial position of the company and its ability to pay.
ii. It must also be aware of the various practices followed by other companies in the same region or industry so that it takes a more realistic approach on various issues of bargaining.
iii. The union must assess the attitudes and expectations of the employees over various issues so that negotiation outcomes do not face resistance from them.
iv. It must also assess the likely stand that the management may take over various issues so that the union can adopt suitable steps for more acceptable outcomes.
Process # 2. Issues for Bargaining:
The second step in bargaining process is the determination of issues which will be taken up for negotiation. Various issues which can be sorted out through collective bargaining may be grouped into four categories- wage-related issues, supplementary economic benefits, institutional issues, and administrative issues.
i. Wage-Related Issues:
Wage-related issues include wage/salary revision, allowances for meeting increased cost of living like dearness allowances, overtime rates, financial incentive scheme, bonus, etc.
ii. Supplementary Economic Benefits:
These include such issues as pension plans, gratuity plans, paid vacation, paid holidays, lay-off pay, retrenchment compensation, accident compensation, health insurance plan, etc.
iii. Institutional Issues:
These issues include the determination of rights and duties of employer, employees, and trade union with a view that each group respects and protects the rights of others and performs its duties accordingly.
iv. Administrative Issues:
These issues include determination of seniority, basis of promotion, employee discipline and discharge procedure, grievance procedure, employee health and safety measure, work rules, job security and job changes, training, technological changes, etc.
Out of the above four categories of issues, the first two categories of issues receive the greater attention. The management can sort out the issues to be bargained either on the basis of the previous settlement arrived at through collective bargaining or the demands put forward by the employees or their union. Management seldom puts any issue on its own though it attaches productivity to be linked with upward pay revision.
Process # 3. Negotiation:
Negotiation is the process in which two or more parties (individuals or groups) attempt to reach agreement on issues on which they have differences. When the first two steps are completed, both the parties engage in actual negotiation process at a time and place fixed for the purpose. There are three types of negotiating procedures- haggling bargaining. Boulwarism, and continuous bargaining. In each type, the negotiation procedure differs.
i. Haggling Bargaining:
This is the oldest procedure of negotiation between labour and management. In this method, two approaches can be adopted- piecemeal approach and total approach. In piecemeal approach, an issue can be taken, deliberated, and decided without linking it to another.
In this way, all issues are decided. In order that the negotiating procedure proceeds smoothly, the items first taken are those on which consensus is expected without much discussion, leaving the more contentious issues to be settled at the end. In total approach, all the issues are discussed but the item-wise decision is not arrived at, as no issue is settled independently. Every issue is kept open until the whole negotiating process is ready to crystallize into a total agreement.
This negotiating procedure has drawn the name from its originator, Lemuel Boulware who headed employee relations department at GEC, USA. In this method, the company itself takes an initiative to find out through comprehensive research and survey the needs of the employees.
Based on the analysis of the findings, the company designs its own package based on the issues of bargaining. Thereafter, a change is incorporated only when new facts are presented by the employees or their unions.
iii. Continuous Bargaining:
In contrast to conventional time-bound bargaining, continuous bargaining involves parties to explore particular difficult bargaining problems in joint meetings over the long period of time, sometimes throughout the life of each agreement. The basic logic behind this method is that all contentious issues can be solved through continuous negotiation over the period of time.
In the negotiation process, either both parties arrive at a mutually agreed decision resulting in agreement, or there may be negotiation breakdown. In the case of negotiation breakdown, both the parties meet to sort out the differences which have led to negotiation breakdown. For this purpose, there may be a series of meetings which focus attention on differences leaving other issues.
Process # 4. Initial Negotiated Agreement:
When two parties arrive at some mutually acceptable agreement either at the initial process or through overcoming negotiation breakdown, the agreement is entered into with a provision that the agreement will be formalized after its ratification by the respective organizations.
Process # 5. Ratification of Agreement:
Ratification of negotiated agreement is required because the representatives of both the parties may not have ultimate authority to decide various issues referred to for collective bargaining. The ratification of agreement may be done by the appropriate manager(s) authorized for the purpose in the case of management, trade union executive or all the employees in the case of employees.
Ratification of agreement is also required because of legal provision. Section 18(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act lays down that ‘an agreement shall be binding only on the parties to the agreement’. Thus, any collective bargaining agreement does not extend automatically to all workers employed in the organization even though they may derive the benefits out of that. This why some companies insist that the agreement is signed by every worker.
The agreement is put in written form indicating the various issues settled. It usually consists of a preamble, a series of clauses and appendices giving details of items whenever required. It also includes the date from which it comes into operation and the period for which it will remain in operation, the mechanism of sorting out the differences over the interpretation of clauses, and signatories to the agreement.
Process # 6. Implementation of Agreement:
When the agreement is finalized, it becomes operational from the date indicated in the agreement. The agreement must be implemented in terms of its letter and spirit by both the parties. However, the implementation of the various provisions may create some problems in the organization either because of the drafting of the provisions or their inapplicability in a given situation.
Such facts must be communicated to human resource department or top management as the case may be. The role of human resource department is crucial in ensuring that all the provisions of the agreement are implemented properly.
Process of Collective Bargaining – Collective Bargaining Process in the Private Sector
How the collective bargaining process flows in the private sector is given below:
1. Organizing and Certification:
Efforts to organize a group of employees may begin by representatives requesting a union to visit the employees’ organization and solicit members, or the union itself might initiate a membership drive. The union must secure signed authorization cards from at least 30 percent of the employees when it desires to present.
Employees who sign these cards indicate that they desire the particular union to be their representative in negotiating with the employees.
While 30 percent of the potential union members must sign the authorization card prior to an election, unions are seldom interested in bringing to vote situations where they merely meet the National Labour Relations Bureau minimum. To become the certified bargaining unit, the union must be accepted by a majority of the eligible workers.
This election held by the NLRB, which is called a Representation Certification (RC) can only occur once in a twelve months period. Thus, the greater the number of signatures on the authorization cards, the greater the chances for a victory. But by no means is the victory guaranteed.
We should not assume that management will be passive during the organization drive. In reality, the management of most organizations can be accepted to resist unions. Although there are laws governing what management can and cannot do, management will undoubtedly use a variety of tactics to protect its interest.
When that majority vote is received, the NLRB certifies the union and recognizes it as the exclusive bargaining representative for all employees within the specified bargaining unit. Irrespective of whether the individual in the certified bargaining unit voted for or against the union each worker is covered by the negotiated contract and must abide by the governance.
Once a union has been certified, is it there for life? Certainly not. On some occasions, the union members become so dissatisfied with the union’s actions in representing them that they want to turn to another union or return to their non-union status. In either case, the rank and file members petition the NLRB to conduct a Representation Decertification (RD).
Once again, if a majority of the members vote the union out, it is gone. However, once the election has been held, no other action can occur for another twelve months period. This grace period protects the employer from having employees decertifying one union today and certifying another tomorrow.
And finally, and even more rare than on RD, is an RM or representation decertification initiated by management. The guidelines for the RM are the same as for the RD except that it is the employer who is leading the drive. While RD and RM are possibilities to decertify unions it should be pointed out that most labour agreements bar the use of either decertification election during the term of contract.