Preparation Overview

Parties to a contract
There are at least two parties to a contract. For instance, with an employment contract for one executive the two parties are the employee (executive) and the employer. If a union represents a group of employees, however, the contract is called a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the parties are the union and the employer. 

Collective bargaining is the process by which a union and employer meet and confer with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. If the union is a recognized representative of the employees, the employer is required to recognize the union and bargain with the union in good faith. 

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Compare Contracts
Prior to negotiations both parties review the current contract (if there is one) and the contracts of other comparable employers. When reviewing contracts, you are looking at the contract language, wages and benefits for similar positions. 

Let us take the example of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that is about to expire between a custodial union in Michigan and a public school district. Before negotiations begin the union and the employer would each take time to review these sites:

  1. Michigan School District Union Contracts (CBA)

  2. State of Michigan Employee Union Contracts (CBA)

The steps included in preparations for negotiation are shown below. Click on any of the steps to learn more about each process.