FAQ About Collective Bargaining and Strikes

Is an agreement guaranteed?
* No. Any agreement requires the consent of both sides. The law requires that the parties bargain in good faith, but does not compel either party to agree to a proposal or require the making of a concession.
* There is no timetable for any potential agreement. It is not unusual for first-contract negotiations to take more than a year.

What happens if the union and the employer cannot reach agreement in bargaining?
* If the parties are unable to reach agreement, the union may decide to call a strike in an attempt to force the employer to accept its demands. In fact, the union may elect to strike at any time during bargaining for a first contract, in order to pressure the employer.

What does a union strike involve?
* Employees have a right to strike and cannot be disciplined or terminated for exercising the legal right to strike.
* If an employee is not working because of the strike, the employee does not receive pay from the employer.
* At a university, the people most hurt by a strike are the students.
* During a strike a university can continue classes using faculty who choose not to strike, and faculty from outside the bargaining unit.
* If the strike is about economic issues, the university can hire permanent replacements.

Strikes are never a pleasant subject, and we hope the likelihood of a faculty strike at USC is remote. But if the University ever faced a faculty strike situation, we would certainly meet our fundamental obligation to provide education to our students. The best way to avoid even the risk of a strike is to avoid unionization.