A collective agreement is the ultimate goal of collective bargaining. As a general rule, the agreement defines salaries, hours, promotions, benefits and other conditions of employment, as well as the procedures for dealing with disputes that result from them. Since the collective agreement cannot address all future employment problems, past unwritten customs and practices, external law and informal agreements are just as important to the collective agreement as the written instrument itself. Once the NRL has certified a union as an exclusive bargaining partner, the union has an irrefutable presumption of one-year majority support (River Dyeing – Finishing Corp. v. NLRB, 482 U.S. 27, 107 S. 2225, 96 L. Ed. 2d 22 ). This year, the employer must not refuse to negotiate with the union because the union does not represent a majority of workers.
At the end of this year, the employer may refute the presumption that the union represents the majority of workers, by showing either that the union does not have majority support, or that the employer doubts in good faith that the union has lost the majority (NLRB/Curtin Matheson Scientific, 494 U.S. 775, 110 S. Ct. 1542 , 108 L Ed. 2d 801 ). In cases where the employer doubts that a union is a majority, the employer may “proactively withdraw” the union`s recognition by insisting on a collective agreement that ends at the end of the certification year (Rock-Tenn Co. v. NLRB, 69 F.3d 803 [7. Cir. 1995]). Collective agreements are signed for certain periods, usually two to four years. A collective agreement is mandatory for both the employers` organization and its members, the union and its members, on the other.
In addition, a collective agreement is generally also in practice, if not theoretically, for individual non-unionized workers and unionized workers who belong to a union other than the union that are part of the collective agreement, provided that (i) the worker works with collective agreement tasks and (ii) that the union to which the worker is affiliated is not bound by another collective agreement with the employer. Exclusive Representation A majority of workers in a bargaining unit must appoint a representative with the exclusive or exclusive right to represent them in negotiations with the employer`s representative (29 U.S.C.A. The employer is not required to negotiate with an unauthorized representative (p. 158). Once a valid representative has been selected, non-unionized workers are also bound by the collective agreement and cannot negotiate individual contracts with the employer (J. I. Case Co. /NLRB, 321 U.S. 332, 64 p. Ct.
576, 88 L Ed. 762 ). Accordingly, the employer should not extend different conditions to workers in the bargaining unit, even if these conditions are more favourable, unless the collective agreement contemplates flexible terms (Emporium Capwell Co. v. Western Addition Community Organization, 420 U.S. 50, 95 P. Ct. 977, 43 L Ed. 2d 12 ). In the past, Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin have engaged in high-level struggles with public sector unions. Christie fired the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) for restructuring teachers` pensions as part of its efforts to rein in public spending.
Walker`s initiative to restrict teachers` rights in Wisconsin proved so controversial that his opponents managed to collect enough signatures to force a recall against Walker in June 2012.