The World of Concession Bargaining
Concession bargaining is the mirror image of conventional collective bargaining as employers act and unions react, rather than the reverse. Concession bargaining is shaped more by the employer’s ability to pay than by the other factors brought up at the bargaining table such as changes in the cost of living or labor productivity. The basic assumptions of concession bargaining are employer credibility (that employers have made credible cases of hardship); the quid pro quo (that the union gets something (usually job security) in return for what it gives (usually lower wages and benefits)); and a sense of “for this time only” (that concessions are made only once and not repeated). Concession bargaining is discussed in terms of wage freezes and cuts, two-tiered wage systems, the duration of collective bargaining agreements, health care benefits, pensions, and work rules.
KeywordsConcession bargaining Conventional collective bargaining Two-tiered wages Defined benefit pensions Defined contributions pensions Contract duration Health care benefits Work rules Voluntary employee beneficiary associations
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