What Is Collective Bargaining? - Definition & Process

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Is Conflict Resolution in the Workplace? - Skills, Techniques & Methods

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Definition of…
  • 1:52 Basic Rules of…
  • 3:08 Example of Collective…
  • 4:02 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Collective bargaining is a vital process in labor-management relationships in the United States. In this lesson, you will learn what collective bargaining is and be given a general outline of its process. A short quiz will follow the lesson.

Definition of Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining is the process by which a labor union and employer negotiate over the terms of the employment relationship. The primary goal of collective bargaining is the achievement of a collective bargaining agreement between the union and employer. A typical bargaining agreement will contain the general terms governing the employment relationship, including, but not limited to, wages, benefits, hours, promotion, and grievance procedures.

While the union and employer can enter into a voluntary agreement on many matters, there are limitations according to federal and state law. First, a collective bargaining agreement can't establish any right, duty, or circumstance that is otherwise illegal. For example, a union and employer cannot bargain away employees' rights under the Civil Rights Act. Second, the agreement can't waive rights or obligations that the law opposes on either party. For example, a union cannot waive an employer's obligations under federal and state occupational safety laws. Third, if an agreement can't be reached, the law permits both parties to engage in legal tactics to pressure the other side to reach an agreement. Examples of tactics that may be used are lockouts and strikes.

A bargaining unit is a group of employees that is represented by the union in negotiations with the employer. A majority of employees in the bargaining unit must agree on the representative as their sole and exclusive representative in negotiations with the employer. Non-union employees will be bound by the collective bargaining agreement.

The National Labor Relations Act is the federal law that gives unions the right to collectively bargain. The Act also created the National Labor Relations Board, which is authorized to enforce the right to collectively bargain.

Basic Rules of Collective Bargaining

Generally, employers and unions are subject to the following rules when engaging in collective bargaining:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support