Pros and Cons of Collective Bargaining

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Collective bargaining rights for employees has become a spotlight issue as of late. In essence, this right allows workers to bargain with their employer for wages, benefits, and other workplace rights. A contract is then formed that outlines the responsibilities each party has to the other. Let’s take a look at some of the key pros and cons of collective bargaining.

Here Are the Pros of Collective Bargaining

1. It helps to solve problems.
When there are issues between workers and the management of an organization, then the natural outcome is a drop in productivity. Be being able to bargain for rights, both sides can address their concerns and come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial.

2. It creates a legal contract.
Employees and employers are contracted to follow the guidelines that are agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement. If either side violates that agreement, then there are legal protections for the other side so that productivity or a paycheck can be protected.

3. It makes the working environment more predictable.
Wages are the #1 expense for most employers. Without collective bargaining, this expense can be variable from year to year and create unpredictability in the budget. With a long-term agreement in place, these costs are able to have more controls in place.

Here Are the Cons of Collective Bargaining

1. One side can take advantage of weak representation.
If workers or management don’t have a skilled negotiation team in place, then one party can take advantage of the other. This means repressed wages or excessive benefits could be required by contract, limiting the profitability or productivity of either group.

2. It creates a divide between workers and management.
Collective bargaining naturally separates management from workers. Each group often feels like the other is out to get them, so the goal is to protect one’s own best interests instead of working cohesively together.

3. Negotiations take time to complete.
Bargaining teams can spend months hammering out a contract that may only be in place for two years. The process can be very slow, especially if the working relationship is complex, and this limits productivity during this process. More security is created, but there is also a lot more red tape that must be navigated.

The pros and cons of collective bargaining show that it may be beneficial for worker protections, but it does come at a price. Many are managed by union officials. Is this a practice that has outlived its time? These key points can help us all find an answer to that question.