Essay On Collective Bargaining and Unions

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Collective Bargaining and Unions

Collective bargaining can be simply described as the process by which working people, through their different unions often negotiate contracts with their employers in a bid to determine their terms of employment (Troy, 1999). These terms of employment often include benefits, job health, safety policies as well as the adequate balance between family and work. It is critical to recognize that indeed collective bargaining is often seen as a way to solve workplace problems.

Unions are charged with representing the collective interests of the workers that exist in specific industries as well as occupations. In fact, many workers often find union membership to be the most efficient way of representing their interests, and this is because they often lack the knowledge as well as the resources to effectively represent themselves (Aidt & Tzannatos, 2002).

The union employees choose who will speak for them when it comes to the bargaining sessions with the employer. They also vote to either accept or even reject the contract that has been reached by the employer and employee bargaining committees (Troy, 1999). “When a deal is reached, a ratified contract can legally bind both sides- the employer and the employees- to the specified contract terms (Aidt & Tzannatos, 2002)”. In the United States alone, three-quarters of the private sector and around two-thirds of the entire public sector have the right to collective bargaining (Aidt & Tzannatos, 2002).

Collective bargaining and Unions are important concepts in employment law. This is because the agreements that are made between the employer and the unions are legally binding. “The Railway Labor Act was able to grant railroad workers in the year 1926 the right to collective bargaining and currently, the law covers many transportation workers” (Troy, 1999). For example, a union might negotiate for better salaries and working conditions for its employees. It is critical to recognize that indeed this is employment law because if the employer does not follow the contractual agreement then the employer is subject to court proceedings. This is the same case with the employee and the union; they should respect the contract that they sign to avoid industrial action.

The freedom to form or even join a union is a core right in the United Nations Universal Declaration of human rights. In fact, is often described as enabling right- this can be described as a fundamental right that ensures the ability to be able to protect other existing rights. It is of the essence to understand that each and every year, over 30,000 collective bargaining agreements are made. In fact, “the workplace today has about eight million private sector workers and around eight and a half million public sector workers being covered by what can be said to be collective bargaining agreements” (Duryea & Fisk, 2006).

There is a need for the human resource to provide the best training and best efforts to make sure that the employees are satisfied. This will avoid unnecessary industrial actions. Human resource professionals understand that without collective bargaining, employees can be able to tramp easily on the employees and provide conditions that are not favorable (Duryea & Fisk, 2006).

However, the aspect of collective bargaining and unions gives power to the employees as they can be able to negotiate easily and get what they want. In fact, it can be argued that indeed the unions and collective bargaining are important as they bring a balance in the workplace. Therefore, the human resource professionals should always ensure that the equilibrium is always in place.

In conclusion, collective bargaining and unions are important in bargaining for the right of the employees from the employers. In fact, collective bargaining gives power to the employees as they can speak in a single voice. The Unions are important as they give collective bargaining a body to speak for the employees. The agreements made by the Unions and the employers are legally binding.


Aidt, T., & Tzannatos, Z. (2002). Unions and collective bargaining: Economic effects in a global environment. Washington, D.C: World Bank.
Duryea, E. D., & Fisk, R. S. (2006). Faculty unions and collective bargaining. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Troy, L. (1999). Beyond unions and collective bargaining. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe.