Resources on Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining and union contracts are historic methods for defending workers’ rights and benefits and improving working conditions in the U.S. as well as in many Western countries.  On this website, viewers will find materials on collective bargaining under “Workshops” as well as books and resources under “Bibliography.”  In the coming weeks, we will add new materials on “contract language” in the “Bibliography” section.

In the U.S., universities offer semester and year-long courses on collective bargaining.  Unions also devote time and resources to training workers and union staff for collective bargaining.  There are many legal and legislative issues in collective bargaining, which provide a framework for the negotiations process. The most important aspect of collective bargaining is the participation and voice of the workers. The negotiators need to know: what are the conditions in the workplace? Are wage and benefits implemented fairly? What do workers want or need? Are there ways for workers to complain if their rights are violated?  How can the needs of workers and employers be negotiated to produce an equitable and fair contract?

Collective bargaining is under attack in the U.S., and only a small percentage of American workers are directly covered by collective contracts.  However, these contracts often set workplace or labor market standards that are followed even in the non-union work force.  Diverse contracts exist on the company (enterprise) level, as well as in industrial sectors of the economy, and regions.

There is much discussion in China on collective consultations, collective bargaining and ways to respond to collective labor disputes in Chinese workplaces.  Some cities and regions are considering legislation or regulations on these issues.   This is a good time for deliberating diverse international models to find the best ways to protect workers and stabilize workplaces in the global economy. 

There are many cases and examples to share and discuss.  We welcome more China contributions on this topic – please e-mail us at: