Pattern bargaining is a process in labour relations, where a trade union
gains a new and superior entitlement from one employer and then uses that agreement as a precedent to demand the same entitlement or a superior one from other employers.
In the United States, pattern bargaining was pioneered by unions such as the United Auto Workers
and the Teamsters
. The first step of the bargaining process is the identification of a target employer that is most likely to agree to a favourable employment contract. For the selected company, this provides an opportunity to influence the contract for the industry, while the downside is the risk of a labour disruption if negotiations stall or fail. Once this contract has been successfully negotiated and ratified by the unionized workers, the union declares it a "pattern agreement" and presents it to the other employers as a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
, pattern bargaining was specifically outlawed under the now-repealed WorkChoices
legislation. The law was repealed by the Labor Party
after their victory in the 2007 election
, but Labor's Fair Work Act, which came into force on 1 July 2010, still outlaws pattern bargaining.
* Marshall, Robert, and Antonio Merlo. 1996. Pattern bargaining''Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Research Department Staff Report''