Bargaining Outside Of The Collective Agreement

  • April 8, 2021

The current law is not only skewed in favor of single-establishment bargaining units, but it also puts in place obstacles that workers and unions try to coordinate negotiations in several establishments. For example, current legislation limits the ability of workers and unions to coordinate contract expiry data covering different bargaining units in several entities, while common process data would bring rationality and order to the negotiation process. Workers may also not exert any other economic pressure on a “neutral” employer than their own, or attempt to overwhelm them in order to promote their objectives at the negotiating table – these activities are most likely declared illegal as an illegal “secondary boycott”. Finally, workers and unions are limited in their ability to negotiate the work practices of suppliers and contractors that their employer hires for the work. Unless these practices are directly related to work and workers covered by the collective agreement, they are likely to be considered “receivable” bargaining partners, meaning that the employer is not legally obliged to negotiate them if it does not. Recently, the union concluded negotiations for some 75,000 commercial cleaners on the East Coast. The New York agreement alone involves 22,000 commercial cleaners.32 The union negotiates with a multi-employer association or with employer groups, and its agreements bind signatory employers in all cities where the union has local agreements. In other words, in the New York agreement, for example, New York employers agree to abide by the Philadelphia collective agreement when they work in Philadelphia. In recent negotiations, SEIU Local 32BJ has gained substantial wage increases, pension improvements, new protection against sexual harassment and much more. Employers also agreed to a union recognition procedure for cleaners in Miami, opening the door to extending the protection of collective agreements to 1,500 additional building cleaners in miami. Employers have a legal obligation to negotiate in good faith with their workers` representatives and to sign any collective agreement. There are many obligations to this obligation, including the obligation not to make certain changes without negotiating with the union and not to bypass the union and to deal directly with the workers it represents. These examples hardly scratch the surface.