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Evaluating a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)

Updated on January 3, 2017

Review the CBA provided in the resources section between the Trustees of Columbia University and Local 2110 International Union of Technical, Office, and Professional Workers.

Describe how this is similar to a “contract” between management and labor. Do you believe it is written at the correct level of detail (e.g., is it too vague and therefore needing more specific details, or is it broad enough for logical interpretation)? Provide several specific examples.

Do you believe this document adds value to a workplace, or does it create restrictions? Please explain.

A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is in many ways similar to a contract between management and labor. A collective bargaining agreement is 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"( Duhaime's Law Dictionary, n.d.) . The main difference between a collective bargaining agreement and a contract is that the agreement is between the employer and the union while the contract is between the management and the labor.

The collective bargaining agreement is between the trustees of Columbia University in the state of New York and local 2110 international union. The collective bargaining agreement is written at a level of detail that makes most of the collective bargaining agreement clear for logical interpretation. The section on “No Strike No Lockout” is written in clear and concise language. One example of this is shown when the agreement states:

During the life of this Agreement, the Union will not cause, or cause the Employees represented by it to cause, nor will any such Employee take part in any strike, slowdown, work stoppage, or any other concerted interference with the University's work. No officer or representative of the Union shall authorize, instigate, aid or condone any such activity and no Employee shall participate in any such activity (Collective Bargaining Agreement, 2015).

The language used makes it clear that the union will not cause, take part in, or approve of any strike against the Columbia University in the state of New York. The paragraph describes in great detail the actions that the union and union members will not be allowed to take as a part of the collective bargaining agreement.

In contrast to the section on strikes, the appendix of the collective bargaining agreement that focuses on the dress code could be interpreted differently by different people. For instance, the appendix states that men and women may wear “Footwear in good taste (shoes or dress sandals)” (Collective Bargaining Agreement, 2015). This could easily be interpreted differently depending on the tastes of the person; people all have their own opinions on what the phrase “in good taste” means. Many of the dress code items are written in vague terms that leave them open to various interpretations. This section of the agreement could use more specific detail on what the employer considers to be in good taste.

It is my view that the collective bargaining agreement adds value to a workplace and creates restrictions. The agreement adds value to the workplace through providing all employees with clear terms for their employment; the document informs employees of the working conditions, pay rates, hours of work, and other working conditions. The agreement serves as a measure of security for the employees as it is locked in place until January 31, 2019. However, given the length of the agreement and the numerous subjects that it covers, it also creates restrictions for the employees, though many of the restrictions may have been in place prior to the agreement. For instance, prior to the agreement, the employees most likely had a dress code, but it may not have been a written dress code. The lack of a written dress code would have allowed the employees a large range of freedom in relation to their daily s dress; however it would have also allowed management to deem a person’s dress to be inappropriate to the work place without a clear line of reasoning.

References

Collective Bargaining Agreement. (2015, February 1). Retrieved from

http://hr.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/document-files/2016/01/25/2110_cba_2015-2019final.pdf

Duhaime's Law Dictionary. (n.d.). Collective Bargaining Agreement Definition:. Retrieved from

http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/C/CollectiveBargainingAgreement.aspx

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