What is collective bargaining?

Our union is heading into collective bargaining negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers this year. What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is a process that determines the terms and conditions of work between employers and unionized workers.

The process of collective bargaining concludes with the signing of a collective agreement (often referred to as a “union contract”). A collective agreement is a written contract, that is legal and binding, between a union and an employer and cannot be changed except by mutual agreement of the parties.

Collective agreements have a predefined length. This means that, nearing its expiry date, the union and employer can propose to introduce changes to the agreement’s terms and conditions. Both the union and employer must agree to the changes (commonly referred to as a “tentative agreement”). The tentative agreement is subject to membership approval before it becomes a renewal collective agreement.

In 2023, our union is seeking to negotiate renewals of the Ford, General Motors and Stellantis collective agreements, covering workers at their Canadian facilities.