Unilaterally changing a mandatory bargaining subject before the impasse is generally an unfair labour practice, although employees may view the change as beneficial. According to the Supreme Court, unilateral changes minimize the impact of collective bargaining by giving workers the impression that a union is not necessary to reach an agreement with the employer. For example, in NLRB v. Katz, 369 U.S. 736, 82 p. Ct. 1107, 8 L. Ed. 2d 230 (1962), the employer unilaterally changed its sick leave policy and increased its wage rates without first negotiating with the union. The court ruled that the unilateral change of employer undermined the union`s ability to negotiate sick leave, wages and other terms and conditions of employment. Although the collective agreement itself is unenforceable, many of the negotiated conditions relate to wages, conditions, leave, pensions, etc.

These conditions are included in an employee`s employment contract (whether the employee is unionized or not); and the employment contract is, of course, enforceable. If the new conditions are not acceptable to individuals, they can oppose their employer; but if the majority of employees have given their consent, the company will be able to dismiss the plaintiffs, usually with impunity. The wage system is an integral part of the collective agreement as it defines the minimum wage. Read also: Collective agreement means considerable benefit Collective agreements are used to supplement legislation or to negotiate specific contracts. The fundamental principle is that collective agreements must not contain conditions lower than those laid down in the legislation. Agreements are usually domain-specific. These include the conditions of employment of office workers working, for example, in finance, computer services, construction, the metallurgical industry or the data communications industry. The NLRA regulates industrial relations only for companies involved in interstate trade. it therefore does not protect the collective bargaining interests of all categories of workers. Several categories of employers are not part of the NLRA, including those who work for the U.S. government and its wholly-owned companies, states and political subdivisions, railroads, and airlines. The NLRA also does not protect certain types of workers, such as agricultural workers, independent contractors, and supervisory and management personnel.

But other federal and state laws often offer protection to workers who are not covered by the NLRA. For example, federal government workers enjoy the right to bargain collectively under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which is largely modelled on the NLRA and enforced by the Federal Labour Relations Authority. .