Achieving a new agreement

What happens at the bargaining table?

After the bargaining committee has been elected, and members’ bargaining demands have been decided on, it’s time to meet with the employer.

The union notifies the employer they want to schedule bargaining dates.

Contract talks usually take place over several months.

Once the bargaining committee is satisfied that the membership’s key objectives are achieved, the union and employer reach a tentative agreement.

The union then prepares a Comprehensive Report highlighting the changes to the collective agreement. This includes all additions, revisions and deletions.

The tentative agreement is then brought to the members to vote on. This is called a ratification vote.

How do you ratify a collective agreement?

The bargaining committee tries to make sure all members have read the tentative agreement and understand the changes. They will hold information meetings, publish bulletins, and reach out through email, phone or text.

The vote may be held in person, or held online using the Simply Voting secure election platform.

Members can choose to accept or reject the tentative agreement.

If the contract is accepted, then provisions go into effect and a new collective agreement document is prepared.

But if the contract is rejected, then the bargaining committee and employer go back to the negotiating table to continue talks.  

If members vote NO, anything agreed to in the tentative agreement may or may not still be on the table when bargaining resumes. So, voting NO means you can risk losing some of the gains negotiated.