Malamut & Associates


What Are the Basic Components of a Union Contract?

May 16, 2018 |

Union ContractsContracts are agreements between two parties that ensure that both parties understand their obligations to one another. Contracts are written with the intention that both parties are legally bound by their terms, and to protect both sides in case there are future questions or arguments as to performance. Contracts are written for many different types of interactions, including purchases, projects, and confirming the obligations and payment of employment.

Union contracts are specifically written to protect the rights of workers and to outline the issues that will be negotiated during collective bargaining with an employer. Though every union contract is different based on the needs of its individual members and industry, there are five basic components that every union contract should include.

These are:

  • Wages – At its most basic, wages refer to the amount of compensation that union members will receive. It also includes such elements as bonuses, any stipends that will be provided for the pursuit of certifications, etc.)
  • Benefits – Employee benefits are one of the most crucial elements of union contracts. These benefits can include health insurance, vacation time, dental or vision insurance, pensions and life insurance.
  • Working Conditions – Working conditions are one of the elements that first drove unions to form, as before the establishment of unions workers often worked in dangerous and untenable conditions. The working conditions that are addressed in today’s union contracts address rules and procedures, as well as the expectations for what employees will perform, how problems are to be resolved, and more.
  • Job Protection – Unlike “at-will” employees, union members are protected from being laid off, unfairly disciplined or fired by specific processes that are outlined by their union contract.
  • Time Off – This element addresses the employees’ ability to be away from the job for the purpose of vacations, sick leave, personal days, holidays, bereavement leave and jury duty.

Once a union contract has been written and the parties have negotiated its terms, the contract’s terms need to be approved by the union membership, usually by a secret ballot vote. If the contract is approved and signed, its terms are legally binding, and the employees are fully protected by its terms.

A union contract requires careful crafting by an experienced knowledgeable attorney. For assistance with this integral protection, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.