Administering a Collective Bargaining Agreement

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Contract administration is the third phase of the bargaining process. The principal mechanism here is a grievance procedure, typically provided for in the negotiated agreement. Grievance procedures lay out the available steps or levels to resolve disputes about contract interpretation or implementation. Two key players in contract administration are the union steward and the first-line supervisor.

Both must be intimately familiar with the provisions in the contract and well trained in interpersonal skills and cooperative problem solving if contract administration is to proceed smoothly. Despite the knowledge, skills, and best intentions of stewards and supervisors, there are bound to be disagreements that lead to the filing of grievances.

Grievance mechanisms provide a peaceful and fair way to address these contentious issues with minimal disruption of the workplace. Binding arbitration of grievances provides finality to the resolution of disputes.

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