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Labor Relations and Negotiations

To promote and emphasize the primacy of free collective bargaining including voluntary arbitration, mediation and conciliation, as modes of labour settlement.

employee relations

labor relations

collective bargaining

industrial relations

hr labor












work form home

A violation of collective bargaining law by either party, which could include refusal to engage in collective bargaining or interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of their collective bargaining rights granted by statute.

  • Unfair labor practice (ULP)

Wages due for past services, often the difference between money already received and a higher amount resulting from a change in wage rates.


A group of employees that the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) has certified as appropriate to be represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining.

  • Bargaining unit

A forum for communication between the union and management to deal with matters of general concern between the parties.

  • Joint labor-management/conference committee

Employing more workers than are actually necessary to complete a task.


The combination of two or more seniority lists (usually from a merger of different employers) into a single seniority list with the group of employees from one company being placed at the bottom of the new seniority list.


A temporary stoppage of work by a group of employees, not necessarily union members, to express a complaint, enforce a demand for changes in conditions of employment, obtain recognition, or resolve a dispute with management.

  • Strike

During negotiations, one or both parties may call in a mediator, who is a neutral third party.

  • Mediation

A vote by members of a collective bargaining unit to dissociate from the union that represents them.

  • Decertification

A clause in the union contract which provides for a cost‑of‑living increase in wages by relating wages to changes in consumer prices.


The evaluation of jobs traditionally performed by one group of workers (such as women or minorities) to establish whether or not the worth of those jobs to the employer is comparable to the worth of the jobs traditionally performed by white men and the payment of extra wages to those occupying comparable jobs but receiving less income.


A union term for meetings of workers called by management, on company time and property.


A city or county federation of local unions which are affiliated with different national or international unions.


A bargaining unit member selected by a group of fellow members and/or appointed by union officials to carry out union representational duties in the workplace.

  • Shop steward/delegate

unions that organize workers who produce a single product or set of products.


In an agency shop environment, employees who opt not to join the union as a full member must typically pay a fee to the union in lieu of member dues, which helps the union pay for its representational duties such as negotiating a collective bargaining agreement and representing employees in grievances and arbitration.

  • Representation fee

Negotiated gains other than wages such as vacations, holidays, pensions, insurance and supplemental unemployment benefits.


The Index measures changes in the cost of living month by month, year by year.


The legal requirement that two parties in a collective bargaining relationship meet and negotiate at reasonable times and places, with a willingness to reach an agreement on the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.

  • Good faith bargaining

A clause in a union contract which says that workers cannot be compelled to handle goods from an employer involved in a strike.


An annual wage increase negotiated by the union and management which recognizes that the rising productivity of workers contributes to the company's profit­ability.


A committee within the local union which processes grievances arising from the violation of the contract, state or federal law, or an abuse of a shop's past practice.


A benefit program that offers a choice between taxable benefits, including cash, and non-taxable health and welfare benefits.


The combination of two or more seniority lists (usually of different employers being merged) into a master seniority list, with each employee keeping the seniority previously acquired even though the employee may thereafter be employed by a new employer.


A general raise in wages applied at one time to the pay tables of employees in a bargaining unit.

  • Across the board increase

Continuous, low level discriminatory remarks or behaviors that cumulatively 'poison' the workplace for the aggrieved victim enough to alter the terms, conditions or privileges of the workplace, and are commonly considered by the courts and the EEOC as equivalently unlawful to more overt forms of discrimination.


A contractual right (also known as “displacement”) whereby employees scheduled for layoff are permitted to bump or displace less senior employees in other jobs for which they are qualified.


Early labor groups formed by workers for social and philanthropic purposes.


Formal approval of a newly-negotiated agreement by a vote of the employees in a bargaining unit.

  • Ratification

A cost of living adjustment or escalator clause tied to inflation rates.

  • COLA

A procedure, usually advisory, to submit matters that are unresolved in a bargaining impasse.


A workers' education movement for self‑improvement in the 1830s and '40s.


A group of factors, such as duties, skills, working conditions, reporting lines, and other job-related issues, to be considered in determining whether a group of employees should be grouped together as an appropriate bargaining unit.

  • Community of interest

A period of time during the term of a contract when the incumbent union is protected from a take-over action by an outside union to call for an election in order to gain exclusive representation of employees represented by the incumbent union.


An employee organization, usually in one company, that is dominated by management.

  • COMPANY union

A pre‑industrial system where the skilled artisan found identity, pride, and self‑worth in his work.


Today the expression means collective pressure on employers by refusal to buy their goods or services.


The point in collective bargaining negotiations at which either party determines that no further progress can be made toward reaching an agreement.

  • Impasse

Formal recognition of a union as the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit, usually accomplished through a representation election by employees in the bargaining unit.


An attempt by an impartial third party to reconcile differences between labor and management.


In a union security clause of a contract, the amount a nonunion worker must contribute to a union to support collective bargaining activities.


An employee organization identified by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) as the sole, official representative to bargain collectively for the employees in a bargaining unit.

  • Exclusive bargaining representative

Negotiated contract provisions other than wages and hours; for example, health insurance, welfare fund, pensions.


A worker in the bargaining unit who refuses to join the union but accepts all the benefits negotiated by the union.


The history of the way parties have behaved toward one another in the past that bears upon the expectations the parties have regarding negotiations in the future.

  • Past practice

An employee whose job requires him/her to develop or present management positions on labor relations and/or collective bargaining, or whose duties normally require access to confidential information that contributes significantly to the development of such management positions.


union contract provision for the raising and lowering of wages according to changes in the cost of living index or a similar standard; most commonly referred to as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).


The legal obligation for a union to fairly represent all employees in the bargaining unit without regard to factors such as union membership or membership in a protected class.

  • Duty of fair representation

A condition where an employer operates two closely related companies—one with a union contract and one without


A system based on the amount of production turned out by workers.


Bargaining issues that neither party may refuse to negotiate.

  • Mandatory subjects of bargaining

A provision in the union contract which says that a worker who voluntarily joins the union must remain a member for the duration of the agreement.


A union staff member responsible for carrying out union representational duties in the workplace.

  • union representative/agent

Under common-law, this phrase describes the relationship between employer and employee that exists without a written contract or other agreement guaranteeing job security.


The practice of allowing laborers to stop work and have an afternoon drink.


The act of forcing American seamen into the service of the British Navy.


Negotiating sessions which may be held after the contract is settled to address sudden changes in working conditions.


The part of the collective bargaining agreement that addresses union membership, which directly affects union dues and fees.

  • union security provision

The hiring and employment of union members only. Illegal under the Taft‑Hartley Act.


When one or both parties engaged in collective bargaining represents a group of entities, e.g. a group of labor unions forms a coalition to negotiate a single agreement.


In some cases, a resignation provoked by management harassment so unbearable that the resignation may be construed by the court or an arbitrator as a form of discharge, restoring the employee's right to grieve or hold the employer liable for violating the employee's due process rights.


A nonprofit store that is collectively owned and operated for the benefit of both the seller and the shopper.


The inherent rights of an employer to make decisions regarding its business.

  • Management rights

Referenced in many collective bargaining agreements, a widely-used term that requires the employer to use good and sufficient reasons to discipline employees.

  • Just cause

The process by which management and union representatives negotiate the employment conditions for a bargaining unit for a designated period of time.

  • Collective bargaining

Factors, such as common supervision, job tasks, hours, working conditions, wages and benefits, etc., which determine which groups of employees the NLRB will include in an appropriate bargaining unit.


Clauses in union contracts permitting employees to refuse to handle or work on goods shipped from a struck plant or to perform services benefiting an employer listed on a union unfair list.


Issues that are neither mandatory nor prohibited.

  • Permissive subject of bargaining

unions that organize workers in a single occupation or set of occupations.

  • CRAFT unionS

_______________ contains a similar provision for other groups of UW employees who are not covered by RCW 41.80.

  • RCW 41.56

A form of picketing in which employees of a struck employer, who work at a common site with employees of at least one employer is not being struck, may picket only at their entrance to the worksite.


Passed in 1938, this law set minimum wages and overtime rates and prohibited child labor for industry connected with interstate commerce.


The worker is paid a fixed amount for the day rather than being paid a salary or being paid for the individual piece produced.


The great advances in technology beginning in the late eighteenth century turned America from a handicraft economy into one of technological mass produc­tion.


_________________ permits agency shops with agency shop fees, as long as those agency shop fees are not greater than membership dues/fees, and the union provides a procedure for paying a reduced amount, knows as a representation fee.

  • RCW 41.80

Generally, this is a formal complaint filed by the union alleging a violation, misapplication, or misinterpretation of one or more terms of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.

  • Grievance

A labor organization that is the exclusive representative of all employees in a bargaining unit, both union and non-union members.


The agreement reached through bargaining prior to its ratification or final approval by the negotiators’ constituencies.

  • Tentative agreement (TA)

The lowest rate of pay an employer is allowed to pay under the law or a union contract.


This adopts and enforces rules relating to the determination of appropriate bargaining units, makes determinations relating to the certification and decertification of union, and adjudicates unfair labor practice cases.

  • Public employment relations commission (PERC)

Passed in 1946 by a Congress which intended to establish machinery to maintain full employment.


Arguments among unions over which union represents workers at a job site.


A formal, signed agreement that serves as an addendum to the collective bargaining agreement.

  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU)

Trade unions organized along lines of their skilled crafts.

  • CRAFT unionS

A management tactic used at the bargaining table where the employer asserts that its first offer is its “final, best and last” offer.


Unequal treatment of workers because of race, sex, religion, nationality, or union membership.


A person brought in from the outside to break strikes and union‑organizing attempts.

  • GOON

An arrangement under which an employer deducts from the pay of employees the amount of union dues they owe and turns over the proceeds directly to the treasurer of the union.


A court order which prohibits a party from taking a particular course of action, such as picketing in the case of a union on strike.


Topics that the parties are forbidden to bargain over.

  • Illegal (prohibited) subjects of bargaining
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