Key Negotiation Terms

Collective bargaining agreement (CBA)

The contract that codifies the results of the negotiations between the employer and the union, and sets forth their agreements for the duration of the contract, which is typically four (4) years.

Good faith bargaining

The legal requirement that two parties in a collective bargaining relationship meet and negotiate at reasonable times and places, with a willingness to reach an agreement on the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.

Management rights

The inherent rights of an employer to make decisions regarding its business. These may be documented in a collective bargaining agreement as reserved for management in, or they may be removed from the scope of collective bargaining by law.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

The NLRB is an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages or working conditions.


Draft contract language, either new or amended, made by either the employer or the union’s bargaining team, for consideration to be included in a contract.


Formal approval of a newly negotiated agreement by a vote of the employees in a bargaining unit. Eligible voters in a union ratification are determined by the union’s bylaws and constitution.

Tentative agreement (TA)

The agreement reached through bargaining prior to its ratification or final approval by the negotiators’ constituencies.