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Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining refers to the bargaining between the agency and the union of employees in a bargaining unit. There is a mutual obligation for bargaining to take place at reasonable times in a good-faith effort to reach an agreement with respect to conditions of employment. The result of the bargaining is a written collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

  • Employees have a right to engage in collective bargaining with respect to conditions of employment through their chosen union representatives.
  • The union of a bargaining unit is entitled to act for, and negotiate collective bargaining agreements covering all employees in the unit. It is responsible for representing the interests of all employees in the unit without discrimination and without regard to labor organization membership.
  • Once an agreement is reached during collective bargaining, a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is written. This may sometimes be referred to as simply the “contract”. This document is composed through the joint effort of union and management describing certain conditions of employment and working conditions observed by management, the union, and employees in the bargaining unit. Each agreement must, at a minimum, show the scope of its coverage and contains a grievance mechanism. Refusing to put an agreement into writing is an unfair labor practice.
  • CBAs cannot contain provisions that interfere with management rights, nor even restate agency or Government-wide regulations that interfere with management rights. CBAs include:
    • Conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees
    • Various rights and obligations of the parties to the agreement
    • The Negotiated grievance procedure
    • Dues withholding provisions
    • Reopeners
    • Duration of the agreement
  • Negotiated agreements are subject to agency head (i.e., Department of Homeland Security) review for approval.