It’s common to see different union contracts tackle the same topic in a variety of ways. But the subject of pay determination may be the area in which union contracts display the greatest number of approaches. Some contracts set forth specific dollar amounts, payable on an hourly or other basis. Other contracts provide for a base salary, but they also provide for the possibility of “merit pay” or other variables that can vary the pay levels for individual employees.
For some types of work, it’s common for the collective bargaining agreement to set only a minimum salary for each classification. Some contracts set up a two-tier pay system, with newly hired employees coming in at a lower rate and working up a different pay scale. Sometimes, but not always, after a certain number of years these employees catch up in pay to their longer term co-workers.
Finally, there is also the device of “grandfathering.” “Grandfathered” or “red-circled” employees are those who, despite some change in their job or even the elimination of an entire classification, are entitled to hold on to their old pay rates.
-- Adapted from The Union Members Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer