Common Labor Terms

This page’s goal is to help you understand some labor terms that are commonly used.

Collective Bargaining Agreement – This is the contract that is negotiated and agreed to by your union representatives and management. All of your workplace rights and conditions of employment are contained within your collective bargaining agreement. The collective bargaining agreement is the most important document to each and every member.

Interest Arbitration – A neutral third-party is used when there is a dispute between the two parties during the collective bargaining process and will issue a decision to resolve the issue. This decision is binding and both sides have to agree to live with the decision that was made.

Arbitration Award – This is a binding decision that an arbiter issues to resolve a dispute.

Management Rights – In the collective bargaining agreement there is a section that outlines management rights. This is in every contract and outlines what management can and cannot do within the guidelines of the contract.

Union Recognition – This part of the collective bargaining agreement outlines who has representation from the union.

Mediation – This is often the step used before going to arbitration in an effort to reduce the amount of issues that there are differences over. A neutral third-party will help mediate the differences so that management and the union can come to an agreement.

Grievance – A process that allows you to address issues or complaints that come up in the workplace.

Grievance Arbitration – A final resolution to a grievance filed. A neutral third-party will interpret the collective bargaining agreement and decide if it has been violated or not.

MERA – MERA stands for the Municipal Employees Relations Act and was enacted in 1965 to cover municipal employees. It can be found by clicking here.

Weingarten Rights – This protects an employees right to union representation during an investigatory interview. The employee must request to have a union representative and the supervisor has to grant a union representative to the employee or they have committed an unfair labor practice.

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