What is Collective Bargaining?

Collective bargaining is a process where an employer and the representative of its employees (i.e., a union) meet at reasonable times, confer in good faith about mandatory subjects of bargaining—such as pay, benefits, and other conditions of employment—and put into writing any agreement reached, if requested by either party. Neither party, however, is required to agree to a proposal by the other, nor must either party make a concession to the other. Tree House is committed to bargaining in good faith but is under no legal obligation to agree to anything that it determines is not in the best interest of Tree House Humane Society. Finally,  staff members in the bargaining unit could receive more, the same, or less than they currently receive in compensation and benefits.

Who can new employees contact regarding the union?

New employees can contact the union representative assigned to their workplace or the designated union contact person. This individual is typically responsible for handling inquiries and providing information about union-related matters.

Which employees are represented by the Union?

Included: All full-time and regular part-time Community Cats Assistants, Cat Café Baristas, Cat Care Technician Leads, Shelter Operation Coordinators, Community Cats Coordinators, Cat Care Technicians, Adoption and Support Counselors, Shelter Services Coordinators, Feline Behavioral Specialists, Shelter Shift Leads, Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinators, Operations Technicians, Client Services Coordinators, Surgical Assistants, Clinic Assistants, Veterinary Techs and Lead Clinic Assistants employed by the Employer at its facility currently located at 7225 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60645.

Which employees are not represented by the Union?

Excluded: All other employees, Development Assistants, Annual Giving Managers, office clerical employees, managerial employees, professional employees, guards and supervisors as defined in the Act.

Who is the IAM?

IAM is the abbreviation for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is a large labor union that operates in the United States and Canada.

How long does it normally take to negotiate a first contract?

Collective bargaining toward an initial collective bargaining agreement has no set deadlines and is not an exact science. As in any negotiation, a union contract negotiation is a give-and-take process. It is not unusual for a collective bargaining agreement to have 30 or more distinct subjects or articles. Each of these must be discussed and agreed to for the contract to be completed. In the end, a first contract can take many months, or even years, to negotiate.

What will happen to existing benefits during contract negotiations and until a collective bargaining agreement is finalized?

Tree House is required to maintain the status quo with respect to employees’  “terms and conditions of employment” during this interim period. Generally, this means that Tree House will not unilaterally change pay, benefits, or certain other aspects of employment without first negotiating with the Union.

What rights will I have to decide what terms are negotiated?

The Collective Bargaining Agreement will be negotiated by the Union (through its bargaining committee). You will need to speak with the Union directly to answer this question.

Who decides how much union dues are?

IAM District 8 sets the amount of dues, and Tree House has no say in the matter. The Union also has the legal right to increase dues as it sees fit. Unlike salaries and benefits, dues are not negotiated between the Union and the employer. In addition, while the Union determines how much you will pay, whether or not that money is automatically deducted from your paycheck, and other details, would be part of a contract negotiation.

What happens if bargaining teams cannot come to an agreement?

In the event that the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the parties simply continue to negotiate. The Union has the right to call a strike. Conversely, Tree House has the right to lock employees out or to implement its last, best and final offer.

How long does the contract last?

There is no required length of time, but a union contract typically lasts for one to five years.

What rights do I have if I don’t agree with the terms of contract or the process, can I opt out?

No. The contract will apply to all staff members included in the bargaining unit, regardless of whether they approve of the contract or not.

Where can I find updates regarding negotiations?

We encourage all staff in union positions to stay informed throughout the negotiations. This is an agreement for you—and it’s important you know the facts. We encourage you to frequently visit this site, treehouseanimals.org/bargaining, for the latest information and updates about the collective bargaining process.

What does it mean to be represented by a union?

IAM District 8 has the sole authority and exclusive right to negotiate with Tree House on the bargaining unit’s wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. That means your legal rights to negotiate terms and conditions of your employment are transferred to the Union. Tree House may not extend different terms to you or any members of the bargaining unit regardless of need or merit, except as agreed to by the Union.