Understanding Collective Bargaining in Florida

Collective bargaining refers to the process of negotiating contracts with an employer through a chosen bargaining agent to determine the worker’s pay, hours, benefits, time off, safety restrictions, work-life balance, etc. It’s used as a way for workers to resolve workplace issues. 

Understanding the collective bargaining process in Florida can help employees more effectively resolve issues and concerns. 

Collective Bargaining Basics

Generally, employees use a labor union as a representation for collective bargaining. The goal of this process is to settle on an agreement or contract (often called a collective agreement) that presents and settles employees’ grievances. Additionally, collective bargaining typically takes place when workers’ contacts are being changed or are up for renewal. 

The chosen bargaining agent in collective bargaining is generally a labor union leader. This individual is elected by employees to represent their interests. 

Which Issues Are Addressed in Collective Bargaining?

Common contract issues that may be addressed during collective bargaining include:

  • Employment requirements, rules, and policies
  • Working conditions and rules
  • Shift length
  • Work hours
  • Vacation days, sick leave, and holidays
  • Benefits, such as healthcare and retirement plans
  • Wages and overtime pay

There are three categories of issues that may be addressed through collective bargaining: voluntary subjects, mandatory subjects, and illegal subjects. Voluntary subjects are factors that are negotiable and aren’t required by law (i.e. problems relating to the union, board member decisions, etc.). Mandatory subjects are required by law (i.e. wages, overtime, safe working conditions, etc.). Illegal subjects involve employment law violations, like discrimination in the workplace. 

What Are The Steps of Collective Bargaining?

Though the steps of collective bargaining may vary, they often include:

  1. Determining the issues and demands 
  2. Negotiating with the employer through two teams of professional negotiators 
  3. Reaching an agreement and submitting it to the respective constituents
  4. Accepting and finalizing the agreement
  5. Bringing the agreement into practice

The experienced attorneys at Weldon & Rothman, PL offer aggressive representation for employment law matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!