Principles of Negotiations

Collective Bargaining

The negotiation of wages, hours, rules and working conditions by an organized body of employment.

Boilermaker contracts are negotiated between representatives of the union and representatives of the contractors.


The process of two parties (contractors and union) who are seeking to find common ground and settle on a contractual agreement.

The goal is for an agreement to be made that is mutually beneficial. i.e. Beneficial to both sides.


A formal agreement between the contractors and the union. Wages, benefits, hours or work, work rules and working conditions are all covered under a typical Boilermaker contract.


The principle of using a small advantage to achieve a greater result.

Perceived Value

Value in negotiations is what the other side believes it to be.

In order to maximize leverage and have success in negotiations the union must have marketed itself so that the other side (contractor) perceives that there is no other union or company on the planet that can do the particular work. Our mission as a whole is to make the Boilermakers union appear desirable for prospective contractors.

Market Share

The proportion of related industry that is controlled by the union.

The higher the Market Share the greater number of contracts the union receives. The higher the number of contracts, the more work for you as an individual. “More money in your pocket.”

Why is it important to maximize perceived value and increase leverage?

The higher the perceived value of the union the greater the chances of a successful contract negotiation and the greater its chance of increasing its Market Share. Successful negotiations may include wage increases, board and travel money increases, health and benefit increases, pension plan increases, improved working conditions, improved contract language and more.

How does a Union maximize its perceived value and increase leverage?

  • Solid Craftsmanship and Work Ethic. The union needs solid, hard-working individuals who take pride in the quality and quantity of their work. Without good quality work we (the union) have “no leg to stand on” in negotiations. Why would a contractor pay union premiums (higher wages, health and welfare, pension plan) for work that is equal or sub-par to non union workers? This is also the number one way to secure Market Share and work for the future.
  • Timekeeping. Show up to work when you are scheduled to do so. Aside from poor quality, there is nothing more frustrating and detrimental to a contractor than poor timekeeping. The contractor and supervision spend a lot of time and money planning their jobs. If they need 5 people to perform the work and only 3 show up, the job does not get completed according to plan. The union as a whole is made to look bad when jobs are not completed on schedule due to the performance (or lack thereof) of its workers.
  • Solidarity. An action of unity between people who have the same goals. We must collectively ensure that the contract is abided by both by the Contractors AND Union Workers.
  • Professionalism. Keep a clean, tidy and safe work space. Take pride in the finished product. Chip your slag, keep a consistent number of threads on your bolts. Remove weld spatter, arc marks, gouges etc. Return all tools to the tool crib and place any garbage or mess into the appropriate disposals. Remember that your name as well as Boilermakers Local 128 is on each and every piece of work that you complete.
  • Accountability. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Hold yourself and your fellow brothers and sisters accountable. Put in an honest days work, honor your contract and make sure your fellow Boilermakers do the same. Don’t forget, if someone is missing shifts, doing poor quality work or simply doing no work at all it not only makes them look bad individually it de-values the union as an entity.