Collective bargaining allows workers and employers to voluntarily agree on a wide range of issues. Nevertheless, it is limited to some extent by federal and regional laws. A collective agreement cannot be entered into by contract, which is prohibited by law. For example, a union and an employer may use unconventional negotiations to deprive workers of the rights they would otherwise enjoy under laws such as civil rights laws (Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 94 P. Ct. 1011, 39 L Ed. 2d 147 ). Nor can collective bargaining be used to waive the rights or obligations that the laws impose on each party. For example, an employer cannot negotiate with collective agreements to lower safety standards that it must meet under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (29 U.S.C.A. Moreover, the collective agreement is not purely voluntary. The inability of one party to reach an agreement allows the other party to resort to certain legal tactics, such as strikes and lockouts, to exert economic pressure and to reach an agreement.
Moreover, unlike trade agreements governed by national law, the collective agreement is almost exclusively governed by federal labour law, which determines issues that require collective bargaining, the date and nature of negotiations, and the consequences of non-negotiation or compliance with a collective agreement. The United States recognizes collective agreements   The collective agreement binds union members and employers who are members of an employer union that signed the agreement. These agreements are considered normally binding. Sections 8(a) (5) and 8 (b) (3) of the LNRA define the absence of collective bargaining as an unfair labour practice (29 U.S.C.A. 158, [b]). The aggrieved party may submit a fee for unfair labour practices to the NNRB, which has the power to prevent or stop the practice of unfair labour practices. One area of the ongoing conflict between unions and employers is that wage increases are mandatory bargaining partners. In Acme Die Casting v. NLRB, 26 F.3d 162 (D.C. Cir. 1994), the Court of Appeal analyzed the employer`s historical practice of determining the frequency and size of wage increases and found that the issue of granting a wage increase is not left to the employer`s discretion and cannot be decided without negotiation with the union.
Since 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court has failed to resolve whether wage increases are mandatory collective bargaining issues, so federal appels courts have developed their own rules to address this issue.