Bargaining Terms


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A

Across-the-board adjustment
Change in pay rates made for all employees in a workplace.

Arbitration
(also called grievance arbitration) A mechanism for providing final and binding resolution to a dispute under a collective agreement.  A neutral third party, the arbitrator, is brought in to hear the case and, either alone or as part of an arbitration panel, to render a decision.  Expedited arbitration, available under the Labour Relations Act, is a speedier version of this process.  Interest arbitration refers to the use of a third party to resolve the terms of the collective agreement itself.

Attrition
A system of reducing the number of employees in a workforce through measures other than layoffs. Generally, employees who retire or resign are not replaced.

B

Bargaining
The legally-prescribed process of discussion and give-and-take through which a collective agreement between an employer and a union is achieved.

Bargaining agent
Union designated by a labour relations board or similar representative of all employees in a bargaining unit for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Bargaining unit
Group of workers in a craft, department, plant, firm, industry or occupation, determined by a labour relations board or similar body as appropriate for representation by a union for purposes of collective bargaining.

C

Certification
Official designation by a labour relations board or similar government agency of a union as sole and exclusive bargaining agent, following proof of majority support among employees in a bargaining unit.

Checkoff
A clause in a collective agreement authorizing an employer to deduct union dues and, sometimes, other assessments and transmit these funds to the union. There are four main types; the first three apply to union members only: (1) Voluntary revocable; (2) Voluntary Irrevocable; (3) Compulsory; (4) Rand Formula dues deducted from union and non-union employees.

Collective agreement
A contract (agreement and contract are used interchangeably) between one or more unions – acting as a bargaining agent – and one or more employers, covering wages, hours, working conditions, fringe benefits, rights of workers and unions, and procedures to be followed in settling disputes and grievances.

Collective bargaining
Method of determining wages, hours and other conditions of employment through direct negotiations between the union and employer. Normally the result of collective bargaining is a written contract which covers all employees in the bargaining unit, both union members and non-union members.

Conciliation
A process under the Labour Relations Act which either side during collective bargaining may initiate in order to break an impasse.  A provincially-appointed conciliator is brought in to meet with the parties in an effort to resolve the dispute.  See "no-board report"

Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Statistics Canada's monthly statistical study which checks retail prices of selected consumer items in a representative group of cities. Strictly, it is not a cost-of-living index, though it is often so described.

Contract proposals
Proposed changes to the collective agreement put forward by the union or the employer and subject to collective bargaining.

D

Decertification
Withdrawal by a Labour Relations Board of its certification of a union as exclusive bargaining representative.

Duty to accommodate
An employer's obligation under the Human Rights Code to make every effort, short of undue hardship, to ensure a non-discriminatory workplace.  This could mean, for example, providing appropriate equipment to an employee who is visually impaired.  Unions also have obligations under the Code.

E

Estoppel
A legal doctrine according to which a party to a collective agreement, through a failure to insist on its strict legal rights under that agreement, can potentially jeopardize its ability to enforce those rights in future.

F

No current entries.

G

Grandfathering
“Grandfathered” (sometimes also called “red-circled”) employees are those who, despite changes negotiated into a collective agreement or contract, are entitled to hold on to a certain benefit, entitlement, rate of pay or classification.

Gratuity
A gratuity is one of a number of forms of payment in the public or private sector.  Variations of gratuities include:  retirement gratuity; longevity gratuity; service gratuity.  Retirement gratuities are paid at the time of the employee's retirement from the service.  Longevity and service gratuities can be based on an employee's salary and total years of service.  This amount of a gratuity may consist of a lump sum or an annuity, or a combination of both.

Grievance
A dispute over the interpretation, application, administration or alleged violation of the collective agreement.  See arbitration.

H

No current entries.

I

Injunction
A court order restraining an employer or union from committing or engaging in certain acts.

Intervention
Intervention is a procedure that allows a person or organization not directly involved in a legal matter to join in the proceedings.  That person/organization would be called an intervener (also spelled intervenor).   Intervention may occur when a decision in a particular case may affect the rights of parties outside the case, and therefore those parties should have the right to be heard.  For example, if the proposed intervener represents a group of people who have a direct concern in the issues raised in the case or complaint, or would be affected by any decision rendered by a court, tribunal or board, then seeking intervener status might be in order.

J

Job evaluation
A system designed to create a hierarchy of jobs based on factors such as skill, responsibility or experience, time and effort. Often used for the purpose of arriving at a rational system of wage differentials between jobs or classes of jobs.

Just cause
A standard of proof which an employer must meet in order to terminate an employee, provided there is a “just cause clause” in the collective agreement.

K

No current entries.

L

Labour Relations Board
A board established under provincial or federal labour relations legislation to administer labour law, including certification of trade unions as bargaining agents, investigation of unfair labour practices and other functions prescribed under the legislation.

Local union
The basic unit of union organization. Trade unions are usually divided into a number of local administrations. These locals have their own constitutions and elect their own officers; they are usually responsible for the negotiation and day-to-day administration of the collective agreements covering their members.

Lockout
A labour dispute in which management refuses work to employees or closes its establishment in order to force a settlement on its terms.

M

Management rights
The body of rights including hiring, scheduling of hours of operation and contracting which management generally contends are not proper subjects for collective bargaining.

Mediation
A means of settling labour disputes whereby the contending parties use a third person - called a mediator - as a neutral go-between.

Model agreement
A union contract setting basic standards for employers and unions covered by the agreement who will negotiation further on local subjects.

N

No-board report
A part of the conciliation process which starts the clock ticking to a strike or lockout.  Sixteen days after the release of the no-board report by the Minister of Labour, the parties are in a legal strike or lockout position (subject to other conditions having been met).  The term “no-board” refers to the decision by the Minister not to appoint a conciliation board to deal with the dispute.

O

No current entries.

P

Picketing
Patrolling near employer's place of business by union members - pickets - to publicize the existence of a labour dispute, persuade workers to join a strike or join the union, discouraging customers from buying or using employer's goods or service, etc.

Posting
Required display of the vacancies available for completion within the bargaining unit.

Preferential hiring
A system under which employers agree to hire only union workers so long as the union is able to fill demands for workers.

Preliminary submission
The union's initial set of bargaining proposals tabled with management during a round of collective bargaining.

Probationary period
Trial period. Time during which a new employee is on trial by the company and usually subject to discharge without union challenge, except where the discharge is discriminatory.

Q

No current entries.

R

Rand formula
Also called agency shop. A union security clause in a collective agreement stating that the employer agrees to deduct an amount equal to the union dues from all members of the bargaining unit whether or not they are members of the union, for the duration of the collective agreement. See Checkoff.

Ratification
The process whereby a tentative settlement in negotiations is submitted to the membership for a vote.

Recognition
Employer acceptance of a union as the exclusive bargaining representative for the employees in the bargaining unit.

Reopener
A provision calling for reopening a collective agreement at a specified time prior to its expiration for bargaining on stated subjects such as a wage increase, pension, health and welfare, etc.

S

Scab
A person who continues to work or who accepts employment to replace workers who are on strike. By filling their jobs, he may weaken or break the strike.

Seniority
Term used to designate an employee's status relative to other employees, as in determining order of layoff, promotion, recall, transfer, vacations, etc. Depending on the provisions of the collective agreement, seniority can be based on length of service alone or on additional factors such as ability or union duties.

Severance pay
Lump sum payment by the employer to a worker laid off permanently through no fault of the worker.

Slowdown
A deliberate lessening of work effort without an actual strike, in order to force concessions from the employer. A variation of this is called a work-to-rule strike - a concerted slowdown in which workers, tongue in cheek, simply obey all laws and rules applying to their work.

Steward
A union official who represents a specific group of members and the union in union duties, grievance matters, and other employment conditions. Stewards are usually part of the workforce they represent.

Strike
A cessation of work or a refusal to work or to continue work by employees in combination or in accordance with a common understanding for the purpose of compelling an employer to agree to terms or conditions of employment. Usually the last stage of collective bargaining when all other means have failed. Except in special cases, strikes are legal when a collective agreement is not in force. A rotating or hitand- run strike is a strike organized in such a way that only part of the employees stop work at any given time, each group taking its turn. A sympathy strike is a strike by workers not directly involved in a labour dispute - an attempt to bring pressure on a employer in a labour dispute. A wildcat strike is a strike violating the collective agreement and not authorized by the union.

Strike vote
The secret-ballot vote which must be held in order for a legal strike to occur.  For the vote to pass, more than 50% of those voting must vote in favour.

Strikebreaker
A person who continues to work or who accepts employment to replace workers who are on strike. By filling their jobs, he may weaken or break the strike.

Strip
The removal of an entitlement or benefit from a contract or collective agreement.

Supplemental Employment Benefits (SEB)
A provision in the collective agreement to redress income loss incurred as a result of a maternity or parental leave.

T

No current entries.

U

Unfair labour practice
Those employer or union activities that are classed as “unfair” by labour relations acts.

Union security
Provisions in collective agreements designed to protect the institutional life of the union.

V

Voluntary recognition
An employer and a trade union may agree that the employer shall recognize the trade union as the exclusive bargaining agent of the employees in a defined bargaining unit.

W

Walkout
Loose term for a strike.

X

No current entries.

Y

No current entries.

Z

No current entries.