Skip to main content Skip to site utility navigation Skip to main site navigation Skip to footer

Bargaining terminology

A union is a membership-based workers’ organization that represents its members and negotiates collective agreements that govern members’ working conditions, pay, benefits and more. The Atlantic Academic Union (AAU) represents NSCC Faculty and Professional Support employees.

Bargaining unit
A bargaining unit includes 1 or more occupational groups that share a collective agreement and are represented by the same union. For example, Faculty and Professional Support employees are the units represented by the Atlantic Academic Union (AAU). The third College bargaining unit - Operational Support employees - is represented by the NSGEU.

Collective agreement
A collective agreement is a contract between an employer and a union that represents a bargaining unit. Collective agreements are in effect for a defined period and set terms and conditions of employment for members of that bargaining unit.

Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining is the process of negotiating a collective agreement between an employer and a union. It is common for numerous negotiation meetings to take place, and this process may or may not result in a collective agreement.

Conciliation is the process of mediating between an employer and a union during the process of collective bargaining. Conciliation may or may not result in a collective agreement being reached.

A conciliator (also referred to as a conciliation officer) is appointed by the provincial government to help an employer and a union reach a collective agreement. This is part of the conciliation process.

An impasse defines when a collective agreement is not reached through the involvement of a conciliator. In the event of an impasse, the conciliator files a report with the Provincial Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration indicating an impasse.

Cooling-off period
Filing an impasse report initiates a 14-day cooling-off period during which legal job action cannot take place. A union can provide notice of job action any time during or after a cooling-off period. Employer and union negotiations can continue during a cooling-off period.

Job action
Job action may occur after a 14-day cooling period and within 6 months of an impasse being declared. A minimum of 48 hours’ notice is required before job action can take place. Unions can provide notice of job action within 6 months of an impasse being declared. A strike is a type of job action.

A strike is a type of job action which involves work stoppage across an organization.

Work-to-rule is a type of job action in which employees do their jobs exactly as outlined in their job descriptions and contracts.