Practical Law Glossary Item 1-504-3640 (Approx. 3 pages)
In the labor context, a group of two or more employees who share common interests in their terms and conditions of employment and who either:
Are represented by a union for the purpose of bargaining over terms and conditions of employment.
Seek to be represented by a union.
The bargaining unit is usually defined in the collective bargaining agreement and described by the employees' type of work, job classification or location. For example:
All production and maintenance employees.
All truck drivers.
All non-supervisory employees at a particular plant.
The appropriateness of a bargaining unit may be determined either by agreement of the parties or by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at a hearing. In determining the appropriateness of a bargaining unit, the NLRB generally considers the employees' community of interest, including:
Common terms and conditions of employment, such as:
Common work locations.
Contact among employees at different work locations.
Integration of the employer's operations (for example, how different departments interact).
Employees' skills and functions.
Frequency of employee transfers between positions.
An employee is only eligible to vote in an NLRB election if he is a member of the bargaining unit at issue in the election.