In First National Maintenance, the Court considered whether an employer`s decision to cease certain activities altogether was a subject of mandatory bargaining. The court, which relied primarily on the consent of Stewart J. in Fibreboard, held that the decision to suspend all activities at a particular site was an economically motivated management decision that was separate from the employment relationship, although it clearly affected job security. However, the Court found that the effects of the employer`s decision, such as severance pay and benefits, were subject to mandatory negotiations under section 8(a)(5) of the LRA. Therefore, under this Fibreboard-First national maintenance framework, the most important economic decisions, such as plant closures, layoffs and moves, are not subject to mandatory negotiations, even if the employer must conduct “impact negotiations” accordingly. Typically, the negotiation of the first collective agreement takes up to six months. Negotiations on extension agreements will also take a few months, but while they are being negotiated, the old agreement will remain in force. The law of collective bargaining includes four fundamental points: A collective agreement is the ultimate goal of the collective bargaining process. As a general rule, the agreement defines salaries, hours, promotions, benefits and other conditions of employment, as well as the procedures for dealing with disputes arising therefrom. Since the collective agreement cannot address all operational issues that may arise in the future, unwritten and past practices, external law and informal agreements are just as important to the collective agreement as the written instrument itself.
Nevertheless, a party`s insistence on a specific contractual term is not necessarily an unfair labour practice. The NLRB and the courts reviewing and ensuing its orders are not prepared to replace their judgment with that of the parties and will not evaluate the content of collective agreements (NLRB v. American National Insurance Co., 343 U.S. 395, 72 pp. Ct. 824, 96 L. Ed. 1027 ). Moreover, the use of “economic weapons” such as pressure measures, pickets and strikes to force the negotiation of concessions is not necessarily bad faith negotiation (NLRB v.
Insurance Agents` International Union, 361 U.S. 477, 80 p. Ct. 419, 4 L. Ed. 2d 454 (1960)). Any terms and conditions of employment may be subject to negotiation and may be dealt with in the collective agreement. For very large bargaining units, the collective agreement can be hundreds of pages long. However, in a typical manufacturing company or retail store, collective agreements are more likely to be about 30 pages long. .