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The Intricacies of Collective Bargaining Agreements in the Missouri Labor Scene

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What is Collective Bargaining and How Can it Affect Me?

Collective bargaining is the act of working together with a group of employees to negotiate items with an employer. Items of discussion may include working hours, training, salary, benefits, equal treatment of all employees, working conditions, and more. 

According to the National Labor Relations Board, the “National Labor Relations Act gives you the right to bargain collectively with your employer through a representative that you and your coworkers choose.” 

Collective bargaining is a fundamental right, according to the International Labour Organization. In fact, it’s a “key means through which employers and their organizations and trade unions can establish fair wages and fair working conditions.”

Steps in Collective Bargaining

With the end goal of reaching an amicable and reasonable agreement in mind, the process has several steps. The process can be intense and create many negotiation opportunities for all involved, but a favorable outcome is realistic when handled correctly.

Grievances – the first step is gathering a list of the issues at hand. Grievances such as poor pay, hours, working conditions, or more are typical reasons employees band together and discuss what needs to change.

Demands – once the issues have been identified, the group can determine their needs, what will make the workplace or its conditions more acceptable, and other examples. For instance, if the issue is that the pay is low, what is an adequate salary level, and why? Are there others in the industry who are being paid more? Is there data to back up the demands?

Negotiations – the next step is negotiations with the other parties. Professional negotiators are typically relied on to work with the employers and their team of negotiators. Well-versed employment lawyers are vital to this process, as they are familiar with the laws, have extensive experience in negotiations, and are prepared to go against the negotiations of the other relevant parties with determination and facts.

Next Steps

Once an agreement is reached, both teams will present the documented agreement to their interested parties. If other issues arise, they can be managed at this time, and if necessary, more negotiations can occur.

The agreement is then submitted to all relevant parties and put in place once final votes on the agreement occur. Once finalized, employees can remain vigilant to ensure that the agreed-upon details are happening and changes have been adequately made.

Ongoing reviews may also take place to ensure that management practices have changed, salaries have been adjusted, or other demands have been followed through in accordance with the agreement.

Why Collective Bargaining is Appealing

A group with the same goals or changes in mind can typically generate more realistic changes than one person with grievances. Management will have a more challenging time overcoming or ignoring the issues brought to them through a group rather than one single employee.

Once the process of collective bargaining is completed, a contract is in place that all parties must adhere to. This contract can ensure that real change occurs for all parties and that all expectations are clearly defined, eliminating the gray area that may have existed prior to the collective bargaining process.

The employee experience as a whole can see progress. All workers included in the agreement can expect to see changes made based on contracts. These changes can ensure that future employees won’t have to endure unfair employer practices such as unequal pay, abusive management practices, and more.

Additionally, rights and responsibilities are also apparent for the employers. This clarity can be invaluable in moving forward as a company and remaining productive for years to come.

Disadvantages of Collective Bargaining

While the collective bargaining process certainly has benefits, it can also have minor disadvantages. For example, the process can involve significant costs, both financially and from a productivity standpoint, making all involved hesitant. Professionals are necessary but can come at a price, and those involved may have to take time away from work to discuss the grievances and essential changes.

However, it’s important to remember that though the costs may be apparent initially, the overall changes typically far outweigh the initial costs involved in ensuring change can occur.

The process may be drawn out and frustrating. However, based on the costs and time involved, those entering the collective bargaining process are typically full of urgency, so the important aspect to remember is that the process is efficient for all parties involved to lessen the opportunities for productivity issues.

At this point, employment lawyers are invaluable for all parties involved to ensure the process is streamlined, stays on task, and can reach a realistic and enforceable agreement without losing unnecessary time.

a Team You Can Trust

For decades, we have been helping our clients in the Missouri area with multiple facets of employment law. From discrimination, breach of contract, employment retaliation, negotiations, and more, our clients have found that they can rely on us time and time again.

Multiple awards and accolades aside, our determination and dedication to our clients is evident. We work tirelessly, just as you do, and we respect your need for changes in the workplace.

Contact our office at (314) 528-9661 to schedule your consultation. Our team will go over the questions you have and discuss your options.

We look forward to finding a realistic solution to your concerns and fiercely advocating for you in the process.

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