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What is Collective Bargaining, and How Can it Help You?

Collective bargaining is one of the most essential tools that workers have to protect their legal rights. Through collective bargaining, workers have historically been able to fight for better compensation, better working conditions, and to fight against abuses by their employers. But what is collective bargaining, and how can it help workers to improve their working conditions and get them better pay?


Defining Collective Bargaining

In simple terms, collective bargaining is the practice of workers negotiating the terms of their employment as a group, rather than individually. This is typically done through the organization of labor unions, who are able to negotiate a union contract that protects all union members. Through this tactic, workers have much better chances of obtaining favorable terms of employment, rather than relying on the goodwill of their employers to improve their situation.

The Benefits of Collective Bargaining

Through the process of collective bargaining, employees can fight for contracts that help guarantee them better pay and benefits, such as paid sick leave, health insurance, or retirement benefits. They can also seek the redress of grievances, such as unsafe or unsanitary working conditions, labor violations, or discrimination against employees. If a union contract is in place, they can also seek to enforce these terms through the legal system, giving collective bargaining agreements substantial power.

Why Collective Bargaining Works

The basic idea behind collective bargaining is this: if you, as an individual employee, try to negotiate for better pay or benefits, you are likely to be ignored, and may face professional repercussions for daring to ask for better compensation. However, if every employee of a company (or a department of a company) asks for these things at the same time, an employer cannot easily retaliate without putting their entire business at risk. This gives the employees as a group greater negotiation power, and a greater ability to avoid retaliation for seeking better conditions for themselves.

What You Should Do

If you work at a business that is not unionized, and you are suffering from inadequate pay, poor working conditions, or other issues, you may want to consider looking into the benefits of collective bargaining. The law protects the rights of employees to collectively bargain for their betterment, and if your employer tries to stop you, there may be legal remedies available to you. However, if you want to know more about enforcing your legal rights, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling labor law matters, who can help you understand your next best steps.

Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 42 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or

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