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Collective Bargaining Problems Part 2

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In part one of this two-part article, the Florida contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law discussed the structure of unions in the construction industry and detailed the role a business agent plays in helping unions organize. In addition, we briefly covered some of the issues that occur during the collective bargaining process, many of which are the result of poor organization from the top down.

Now, we will outline some potential solutions for collective bargaining disputes. Remember, disputes occur often and have the potential to quickly derail your projects, so consult a Florida contractor lawyer for assistance dealing with conflicts involving owners, subcontractors, or members of your union.

Regional Bargaining

Did you know that when it comes to negotiations, the geographical area assigned to your collective bargaining agreement and the territory of your union and contractors’ associations aren’t necessarily the same? Jurisdictions and territories often overlap, which can affect the contract termination dates of various crafts. While the majority of collective bargaining agreements handle negotiations on the local level, regional agreements are equally important. Regional agreements are typically more comprehensive since they cover multiple states.

Due to organizational policies, national union negotiators and contractors’ representatives are limited when dealing with local collective bargaining issues. However, the agreement established between national and international unions and a national contractor act as the binding force between a contractors’ association and its respective bargaining unit. Therefore, to improve regional bargaining, it’s suggested that unions expand the geographic region of  agreements pertaining to a single trade while simultaneously avoiding further overlap between territories and jurisdictions.

Multicraft Bargaining

Equal and fair treatment of various craft disciplines within the greater context of the construction industry represents one of the most consistent and complex issues inherent to the collective bargaining process. One way to create an amicable solution for all trades involved is to bring together a number of these craft trade unions and a contractor to sign a collective bargaining agreement that covers the full duration of a project. This agreement can include important stipulations like:

  • Wage rates
  • Fringe benefits
  • Working conditions
  • Dispute resolution methods
  • Commitments to no-strike and no-lockout

Enhancement of Bargaining Performance

While the outcome of collective bargaining negotiations are ultimately determined by both parties partaking in these talks, lackluster organization in local contractors’ associations has lead to poor collective bargaining performance in the construction industry for years. Overcoming this obstacle is integral for the enhancement of bargaining performance. One potential solution would be to bring in an impartial third party to facilitate a hearing in which details like bargaining units and geographic regions can be established for both single-trade and multi-trade projects.

If you would like to speak with a Florida contractor lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.