Collective bargaining or negotiations towards collective agreement is a democratic framework under the New Labor Code to stabilize the relation between labor and management to create a climate of sound and stable industrial peace. It is a mutual responsibility of the employer and the union, and is their legal obligation. (Loy vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 54334, Jan. 22, 1986).
The Labor Code definition of collective bargaining is almost a verbatim copy of Section 8(d) of the US Taft-Hartley Act which defines collective bargaining as:
...the performance of the mutual obligation of the employer and the representative of the employees to meet at reasonable times and confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment, or the negotiation of an agreement, or any question arising thereunder, and the execution of a written contract incorporating any agreement reached if requested by either party, but such obligation does not compel either party to agree to a proposal or require the making of any concession.
Under this definition, collective bargaining includes four related but distinguishable processes: (1) negotiation between representatives of the management and the union over "wages, hours, and other terms...of employment;" (2) the execution of a written contract embodying the terms agreed upon; (3) negotiation of any question arising as to the interpretation or application of the contract; and (4) negotiation over the terms of a new contract or proposed modifications, when an existing agreement is validly opened for negotiations. (Edwin E. Witte, Collective Bargaining and the Democratic Process in E. Wright Bakke, Clark Kerr, and Charles Anrod, Unions, Management and the Public [Harcourt, New Yourk, 1967], p. 295.)
Collective bargaining is a system made up of a set of continuous processes; it is customary and helpful to distinguish negotiation of contracts (the "legislative" phase of the union-employer relationship), administration of contracts (the "executive" phase), and interpretation or application of contracts (the "judicial" phase). (Harold Davey, Mario F. Bognanno and David Estension, Contemporary Collective Bargaining [Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1982], p. 3.)
In common usage as well as in legal terminology, collective bargaining denotes negotiations looking forward to a collective agreement. However, it does not end with the execution of an agreement. It is a continuous process. It requires both parties, the employer and duly authorized representatives of employees, to deal with each other with open and fair minds and sincerely endeavor to fight the obstacles in the process to stabilize employer-employee relationship. (PAMBUSCO vs. PAMBUSCO Employees Union, 68 Phil. 451)
A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as used in Article 252 of the Labor Code, refers to a contract executed upon request of either the employer or the exclusive bargaining representative of the employees incorporating the agreement reached after negotiations with respect to wages, hours of work, and all other terms and conditions of employment, including proposals for adjusting any grievances or questions under such agreement. (Davao Integrated Port Stevedoring Services vs. Abarquez, G.R. No. 102132, March 19, 1993)