Confident multiethnic male nurse in front of his medical team looking at camera wearing face mask during covid-19 outbreak. Happy and proud indian young surgeon standing in front of his colleagues wearing surgical mask for prevention against coronavirus. Portrait of mixed race doctor with medical staff in background at hospital.

Collective Bargaining

How collective bargaining really works?

The union and the company come together for a series of meetings to reach an agreement on a union contract. During these meetings, the union is allowed to ask for the things it’s promised you, but it’s also allowed to ask for things the union wants, things that you might not care about at all.

And the union can trade away things that you do care about to get what they want.

Currently, there is no time limit on negotiations. So, bargaining can take weeks, months and even years, before employees even see a contract - if they see one at all.


You could end up with…

happy, meh and sad emojis

…than what you have now.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has said:
"Unions can promise wage increases, better benefits and protecting what you have now during an election campaign, even though they have no actual power to guarantee those things, because those promises are considered mere ‘pre-election propaganda'.” *

Risks of bargaining

  • No time limit
    • Bargaining can take months or years. In fact, according to a Bloomberg Law News analysis of first contracts, the average time to negotiate a first contract is currently 465 days.
  • No improvements
    • The company must maintain the "status quo" and is prohibited by law from unilaterally making changes to wages, benefits or working conditions during bargaining.
  • No guarantee
    • By law, there’s no guarantee or requirement that a contract ever be reached
  • Everything's on the table
    • Your wages, benefits, vacations and holidays will be subject to bargaining, and you don’t know what you’ll end up with.


Less than You Bargained for

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that:

"...collective bargaining is potentially hazardous for employees and that as a result of such negotiations employees might possibly wind up with less after unionization than before." -- Coach and Equipment Sales Corp., 228 NLRB 440


There are no quick fixes and when it's all over, you could even end up with LESS than what you have right now.

*Shirlington Supermarket, Inc., 106 NLRB 666 (1953)'