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Collective Bargaining


Collective bargaining refers to the negotiation process between a group of employees, often represented by a labor union, and their employer. This process aims to establish agreements on various workplace issues such as wages, working hours, benefits, and safety regulations. The outcome is a legally binding contract that governs the terms and conditions of employment for a specified period.

Key Takeaways

I believe there may be some confusion, as “collective bargaining” is not a term directly related to VA benefits. Instead, collective bargaining refers to the negotiation process between employers and a group of employees (usually represented by a labor union) to determine employment terms such as wages, working hours, and working conditions.If you still would like three takeaways about collective bargaining, here they are:

  1. Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation between employers and a group of employees, usually represented by a labor union, to determine employment terms such as wages, working hours, and working conditions.
  2. It seeks to balance the power between employers and employees, leading to improved working conditions, fair wages, and better employee benefits.
  3. Collective bargaining agreements, once reached, are legally binding and must be adhered to by both parties. This ensures stability and predictability in the workplace.


The term Collective Bargaining is crucial in the context of VA benefits as it represents the negotiation process between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees, often represented by labor unions, and VA administrators.

This process is key to ensuring that the rights, working conditions, and benefits of the employees, who serve veterans, are adequately addressed and maintained.

Furthermore, it guarantees transparent communication and collaborative decision-making that results in improved workplace environment, employee productivity, and service quality for the veterans.

Hence, collective bargaining plays a vital role in maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship between the VA employees and the administration, ultimately leading to an enhanced veteran healthcare and support system.


Collective bargaining serves as a critical instrument for empowering veterans and their organizations to advocate for fair working conditions, benefits, and compensation for their service. Its primary purpose is to promote fair negotiations between employees, particularly those who have served in the military, and their respective employers or government entities.

This process enables both parties to engage in discussions and come to a mutually beneficial agreement that safeguards the rights and interests of veterans in their workplaces. By uniting veterans under a single voice, collective bargaining ensures the protection and improvement of their rights—whether that be through wages, benefits, or general workplace conditions—thereby providing them with the respect and dignity they deserve after their selfless service to the country.

Collective bargaining is used to address various areas of concern that may arise in a veteran’s professional life, such as securing better healthcare benefits, ensuring mental health resources are readily available, negotiating salary increases, or promoting occupational safety and overall worker satisfaction. It empowers military veterans to voice their needs, demands, and concerns, which may sometimes be overlooked in their post-service careers.

Additionally, collective bargaining has a ripple effect in encouraging other sectors to adopt and maintain fair labor practices, fostering a healthy and productive environment for all employees. Ultimately, collective bargaining serves the vital function of ensuring that the sacrifices and service of military veterans are duly acknowledged and rewarded, creating a more equitable and just society for all.

Examples of Collective Bargaining

While VA Benefits primarily focus on providing support to veterans and their families in various facets of life, the term “collective bargaining” refers to a labor negotiation practice unrelated to VA Benefits. However, here are three real-world examples of collective bargaining in various industries.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) and General Motors (GM)In 2019, there were extensive negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors which led to a 40-day strike. The UAW demanded better wages, health benefits, and job security for auto workers, while General Motors aimed to cut operational costs. The strike ended when a new four-year contract was signed. This agreement included wage increases, bonuses, and commitments by GM to invest in U.S. plants.

The National Education Association (NEA) and school districtsTeachers unions like the National Education Association often engage in collective bargaining with school districts across the United States. Through negotiations, teachers’ unions aim to secure better wages, improved classroom conditions, and enhanced funding for resources. One notable example is the 2018 teachers’ strike in West Virginia, which won a 5% pay increase for educators in the state.

The National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA)In 2020, the NFL and NFLPA successfully negotiated a new 11-year Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will remain in effect through the 2030 season. The agreement includes changes to players’ shares of league revenue, increased roster sizes, a shortened preseason schedule, and adjustments to the drug testing policy among other improvements. These changes aim to balance the interests of the players and the league, ensuring that games continue to be successful while also providing better conditions for athletes.

FAQ: Collective Bargaining

What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is the process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more.

Why is collective bargaining important for employees?

Collective bargaining gives employees a voice in their workplace, and the opportunity to negotiate for fair and equitable working conditions. Through bargaining, employees can advocate for better wages, improved benefits, job security, and safer working conditions.

How does collective bargaining benefit employers?

Employers can benefit from collective bargaining by improving communication with employees, reaching mutually agreeable working conditions, and maintaining a stable workforce. A positive relationship between employees and employers can lead to increased productivity, reduced employee turnover, and a more positive work environment.

What are the different stages of the collective bargaining process?

The collective bargaining process typically involves several stages, including preparation, negotiation, agreement or impasse, and ratification. During preparation, both parties gather information and establish bargaining objectives. In the negotiation stage, both parties meet to discuss concerns and exchange proposals. If an agreement is reached, it must then be ratified by the employees. If an impasse occurs, parties may use mediation or arbitration to resolve disputes.

Can collective bargaining help address issues related to VA benefits?

Collective bargaining can potentially address issues related to VA benefits for employees working within the Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations that serve veterans. By bringing concerns and proposals forward during negotiations, employees can advocate for improved VA benefits and ensure their needs are appropriately addressed in the workplace.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Union Negotiations
  • Employee Rights
  • Contract Agreement
  • Grievance Procedures
  • Wage Negotiation

Sources for More Information