Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining & Contract Administration

Collective bargaining is the process by which unions and employers negotiate terms of an employment contract. The Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act, also known as the Taylor Law, governs labor relations for public employees in New York State, while the New York City Collective Bargaining Law governs labor relations for public employees in New York City. In the private sector, the federal National Labor Relations Act governs collective bargaining. All these laws set forth standards for good faith bargaining and guide the subjects that may be negotiated at the bargaining table. They also provide a mechanism by which unions may challenge employers’ bad faith conduct.

We represent unions in the public and private sectors throughout the negotiation process. Our attorneys are well-versed in these laws and are knowledgeable in the rules and procedures associated with labor-management disputes. You can trust our attorneys, who rely on thorough preparation and in-depth investigation, to help you navigate the collective bargaining process to a successful conclusion.


There are times during collective bargaining when both parties have solidified their positions so that talks reach the point of impasse. When that happens, the rights of workers and employers vary greatly in the public and private sectors.

For employees of New York State and local municipalities (other than the City of New York), the Taylor Law provides a dispute resolution procedure which begins with mediation. Unions comprised of police officers, firefighters, and certain other law enforcement personnel are entitled to compulsory and binding arbitration. Other employees, such as teachers and administrative personnel, may proceed to a fact-finding trial where a neutral hearing officer issues a report and recommendation for terms of a new contract. Trade titles, like auto mechanics and electricians, are generally entitled to “prevailing wage rates” which can be challenged through administrative proceedings.

The process for New York City employees is similar under the New York City Collective Bargaining Law, except the parties may not need to engage in mediation before proceeding to impasse.

The private sector is different. Under certain conditions, a private employer may unilaterally change working conditions, but its employees may engage in a strike or work stoppage. Public employees may not engage in strikes or work stoppage.

We are well-versed in handling collective bargaining negotiations, including ones that reach impasse. If you have questions about or need assistance with collective bargaining or impasse, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Back To Our Practices