Bargaining unit: A group of faculty or other employees who are represented exclusively by a union for purposes of dealing with their employer with respect to wages, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. 

Collective bargaining: The process during which the employer and the union representatives meet to bargain in good faith over wages, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. The obligation to bargain does not require either party to agree to a proposal or to make any concession.

Collective bargaining agreement: A contract between an employer and a union on behalf of all employees or faculty members within a bargaining unit. 

Representation Election: When a union seeks to become the exclusive bargaining agent of a group of employees of the University of Pittsburgh, they file a petition for representation with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB). If the union submits authorization cards or petitions signed by at least 30% of the members of the bargaining unit it seeks to represent, the PLRB will conduct an election in the bargaining unit it finds appropriate. All members of that proposed bargaining unit would be eligible to vote on whether or not to have a faculty union. The outcome would be determined by a simple majority of faculty who actually vote.

Exclusive bargaining representative: The union that has been determined by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) to bargain on behalf of all employees or in the bargaining unit.

Authorization Card: Part of the union organizer’s initial steps toward establishing a faculty union as the exclusive bargaining agent for Pitt faculty. Union organizers must collect enough faculty signatures to petition for an election.

Petition for representation: If the union is successful in demonstrating a showing of interest, it can petition the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) to hold a representation election. The PLRB reviews the petition and decides if all conditions are satisfied prior to holding an election.  The PLRB determines the parameters of who can vote and sets the time, place and manner of the election.

Showing of interest: Part of the union’s initial step toward establishing a faculty union. The union must obtain signed authorization cards or petitions from at least 30% of the faculty it seeks to represent to legally demonstrate that there is significant interest in faculty unionization. Without this minimum number, a union cannot submit a petition for representation to Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. 

Union: The term used for both the local bargaining agent representing a defined group of employees or faculty and also the national and/or state affiliate of a local bargaining union.

Unfair Labor Practice (ULP): A practice on the part of either the union or the employer that is judged to be in violation of the Pennsylvania Employee Relations Act (PERA), the statute which governs collective bargaining for Pennsylvania public employers like the University of Pittsburgh. Unfair labor practices include bargaining in bad faith, refusing to bargain, or discriminating against employees for their support or opposition to a union.