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Glossary of Union Terms

Bargaining Unit

"A group of employees with a clear and identifiable community of interests who is (under US law) represented by a single labor union in collective bargaining and other dealings with management. Examples are non-management professors, law enforcement professionals, blue-collar workers, and clerical and administrative employees." ( )

"A group of employees who have a clear and identifiable community of interests with one another....a bargaining unit is represented by a single labor union in dealings with management such as collective bargaining." ( )

Collective Bargaining 

"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. Collective bargaining is a way to solve workplace problems. It is also the best means for raising wages in America...through collective bargaining, working people in unions have higher wages, better benefits and safer workplaces." ( )

"The negotiation process between an employer and a union comprised of workers to create an agreement that will govern the terms and conditions of the workers' employment." ( )

Collective Bargaining Agreement

"The contract that embodies the results of the negotiations between the employer and the union, and sets forth their agreements." ( )

"A written contract negotiated through collective bargaining for employees by one or more trade unions with the management of a company...that regulates the terms and conditions of employees at work. This includes regulating the wages, benefits, and duties of the employees and the duties and responsibilities of the employer or employers and often includes rules for a dispute resolution process." ( )


"Formal...accusations of a violation of workplace contract terms or labor policy, filed by an employee or group of employees who feel negatively impacted by the employer. A grievance may be related to issues such as working conditions, pay, benefits, or treatment by supervisors... Grievances can be filed for contract violations or for violations of the collective bargaining agreement among other policy violations." (

"Raised by a (union on behalf of) an employee towards an employer within the workplace. There are many reasons as to why a grievance can be raised, and also many ways to go about dealing with such a scenario. Reasons for filing a grievance in the workplace can be as a result of, but not limited to, a breach of the terms and conditions of an employment contract..." ( )


"An allegation by United Academics involving substantive academic judgments." (CBA article 7.1.c, p. 12)

Appealed to the chancellor, who "shall refer the appeal to the appropriate appeals board...composed of 3 (UNAC) bargaining unit members, 3 University representatives chosen by the chancellor, and a seventh bargaining unit member chosen by UNAC to act as chair." (CBA article 7.3.1, p. 17)

Substantive Academic Judgement

"For decisions involving promotion, tenure or non-retention." (CBA article 7.3.1, p. 17)

Just Cause

"Shall include, but not be limited to, incompetence, neglect of duty, failure to perform assignment, unprofessional conduct, or other conduct or condition that interferes substantially with the continued performance of duties." (CBA article 9.4.6)

"Disciplinary action may be taken against a bargaining unit member only for just cause. If discipline of a bargaining unit member is being considered, an investigation or research inquiry must be conducted and the actions outlined in (CBA article) 11.2 must occur before any disciplinary action is taken." (CBA article 11.1, p. 41) 

"When a person is terminated for just cause, it means that they have been terminated for misconduct, or another sufficient reason. A person terminated for just cause is generally not entitled to notice severance, nor unemployment benefits depending on local laws. The standard of just cause provides important protections against arbitrary or unfair termination and other forms of inappropriate workplace discipline. Just cause has become a common standard in labor arbitration, and is included in labor union contracts as a form of job security. Typically, an employer must prove just cause before an arbitrator in order to sustain an employee's termination, suspension, or other discipline." ( )

Weingarten Rights

"Guarantee that any bargaining unit member who is called into a meeting that could reasonably be assumed to lead to discipline has the right to union representation during that meeting." (

"Employees have a right to union representation at investigatory interviews." ( )

Shared Governance 

"In well-functioning colleges and universities, educators are partners with administrators in the process known as shared governance, which is the process of decision-making that encompasses everything from budgets, hiring and discipline, to curriculum and academic standards. Peer review and administrative authority act as checks and balances upon each other, making shared governance work for the common good. where peer review and collegial decision-making does not take place, neither administration nor the faculty and instructional staff are checked and academic freedom is weakened." ( )

"Refers to the joint responsibility of faculty, administrations, and governing boards to govern colleges and universities. Differences in the weight of each group's voice on a particular issue should be determined by the extent of its responsibility for and expertise on that issue." ( )

"Faculty, professional staff, administration, governing boards, and students participate in the development of policies and in decision making that affects the institution." (

Academic Freedom

"Freedom of expression without government interference, but this freedom is circumscribed by academic expertise and position. Academic freedom of speech is therefore narrower than a general freedom of speech. For example, a non-academic has the freedom of speech to criticize the efficacy of vaccines, but only has academic freedom to do so if they possess the prerequisite academic qualifications to do so. Unlike public speech, academic speech is also subject to quality controls by academic peers, for example through peer review." [1]

"Research and teaching is "intellectually and morally independent of all political and economic interests", leading to openness, free enquiry and debate."[8]  (

"The freedom of a teacher or researcher in higher education to investigate and discuss the issues in his or her academic field, and to teach or publish findings without interference from political figures, boards of trustees, donors, or other entities. Academic freedom also protects the right of a faculty member to speak freely when participating in institutional governance, as well as to speak freely as a citizen." (

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