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The Collective Bargaining Process

The Collective Bargaining Process

What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargainingis only process allowing pilots, as a group, the right to secure their terms and conditions of employment through negotiation of a legally binding agreement defining the terms and conditions of employment for both pilot and carrier.

What is the final result of collective bargaining?

Once a contract is negotiated it will contain such provisions as hours of work, wage and salary definitions, safety and work rules, and definition of benefits. The contract is enforceable in a court of law. And the Railway Labor Act guarantees an orderly procedure for resolution of differences, including binding arbitration if necessary. Without a union contract pilots are "at will" employees. They serve at the whim and will of the carrier.

Why is collective bargaining beneficial?

The following points identify the importance of collective bargaining to pilots:

  • By organizing and acting in concert, pilots achieve bargaining parity with their employer.
  • Collectively bargained wages and conditions, which reflect the relative strength of the pilots, are more substantial than what the carrier would offer absent a union.
  • The source of pilots' collective bargaining strength is their credible threat of collective action against their employer.
  • Without a union contract, carriers are free to act as dictators and to set and change conditions for pilots without any input from the pilots. With a union contract democracy is introduced into the workplace and pilots achieve more control over their work lives (where they spend a majority of their waking hours).
  • With a union contract pilots can win a wide range of benefits that otherwise could legally be withheld by the carrier, including improvements in vacation and sick leave policies, overtime pay, retirement, etc.

Does Collective Bargaining have a proven effect on pilot’s wages and benefits?

Yes, for example, since the organizing first began with the Bristow pilots (OPEIU, Local 107) in 2000 they have received, on average, over a 150% increase in wages alone. This is in addition to all of the other improvements to their benefits and working conditions.