What Happens When A Collective Bargaining Agreement Expires
A11. Employers should first carefully review their employment contracts to determine whether they allow unilateral changes. For positions such as wages and benefits, unilateral measures can be a challenge. In one way or another, employers and unions can discuss and accept the medium-term changes necessary to maintain the viability of the business at any time. For example, a union may be willing to relax the contractual levels of staff, distribute available work more equitably among employees in the collective agreement unit, or accept reductions in pay and benefits. Employers considering these measures should be willing to explain the need to change the duration of this change and to share relevant information with the union. On the other hand, the Chamber also found that an employer does not make a “change” in Katz`s sense if it continues to do what it has done in the past – when a CBA has expired and a CBA was in effect at the time of the employer`s previous actions. In Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 365 NLRB No. 161 (2017), the Commission recently confirmed the unilateral modification of an employer`s medical plans at the expiry of the contract and decided that an employer could be free to make unilateral changes at the expiry of working conditions, without any prior negotiation, if these changes were consistent with similar unilateral measures, particularly in previous years on the same date.
In the House`s view, unilateral measures are only a “change” in Katz`s sense if they are significantly different from what has happened in the past. Unilateral changes, consistent with established and proven past practices, therefore do not constitute a real change in established working conditions and therefore do not constitute real changes in the status quo in Katz`s sense. Therefore, an employer may make such unilateral changes, regardless of the course of its KBA, even if the employer and the Union are actively negotiating a new KBA and are not in a negotiating impasse. Despite the legal requirement that the parties maintain the status quo during the ongoing negotiations, the question often arises as to whether or not the parties wish to enter into a formal extension agreement. Such an agreement only codifies the conditions of the status quo, so that they are now legally binding. However, the conclusion of an extension agreement could have a significant impact on the conduct of negotiations, as it would respect the “strike or lockout obligations” of the parties. In other words, when an extension agreement is implemented, neither party can engage in concerted activities. It is understandable that this could undermine a party`s ability to exercise bargaining power during negotiations. A party with lower bargaining power would be inclined to convince the other party to enter into a renewal contract. The Nexstar decision appears to be as follows: while there are provisions of a collective agreement that protect unilateral measures by employers under the contractual coverage clause and that compliance with these unilateral rights is the key to the management of the business, the inclusion of the explicit language that such unilateral measures survive the expiry of the agreement may be an important bargaining objective. If this is the case, it will be important for employers to stay informed when cases are brought before the NLRB General Counsel and Board. University Benefits The university will continue to consider employees in collective agreement units to be entitled to benefits, subject to changes in benefits that are consistent with the dynamic status quo.
Paid release time will continue to participate in the system-wide performance meeting for representatives. As a general rule, when a collective agreement expires, the employer must continue to pay the same wages and benefits – and maintain most other terms of employment – until the parties reach a new agreement or a deadlock in negotiations.