Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Collective Bargaining Agreement Definition:

A contract on hiring, working conditions and dispute resolution between an employer and a union, the latter representing employees of a defined group.

Related Terms: Union, Collective Bargaining

The Trade Unions Act of Saskatchewan defines a collective bargaining agreement as follows:

"Collective bargaining agreement means an agreement in writing or writings between an employer and a trade union setting forth the terms and conditions of employment or containing provisions in regard to rates of pay, hours of work or other working conditions of employees."

Also frequently referred to by the acronym of CBA.

In 1976, Robert Gorman wrote:

"The anticipated and usual product of collective bargaining is a written agreement between the employer and the union.

"In part this agreement sets down the relationship between those two parties, for example in provisions dealing with the recognition of the union as exclusive representative for employees in the bargaining unit or dealing with the resolution of contract disputes through a grievance procedure.

Collective bargaining stamp"In greatest measure, the labor contract sets down the relationship between the employer and the employees and among the employees themselves. Thus the contract will normally have provisions governing wages, hours, discipline, promotions and transfers, medical and health insurance, pensions, vacations and holidays, work assignments, seniority and the like.

"The labor agreement is not a contract of employment; employees are hired separately and individually, but the tenure and terms of their employment once in the unit are regulated by the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement."

Most collective bargaining agreements provide that disputes are not resolved by recourse to the civil courts but, rather, by a private alternative dispute resolution mechanism, mediation or arbitration, usually the latter.

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