A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |


CAFETERIA BENEFITS. A benefit plan in which employees have a choice of benefits within some dollar limit. Usually a common core benefits package is required (specific minimum levels of health, disability, retirement, and death benefit) plus a group of elective programs from which the employee may select a set dollar amount. Additional coverage may be available through employee contributions.

CALLBACK PAY. Pay, usually at premium rates, received by a worker called back to duty after completing his or her regular assignment.

CALL-IN PAY. The amount of pay guaranteed to a worker who is called to work on a day on which he or she otherwise would have not reported, and finds no work available or is not given a full or half shift’s employment. Call-in pay may be higher than the amount of reporting pay, and may be provided for at premium rates on specified premium days, such as Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. (See REPORTING PAY.)

CANCELLED RATE. A rate of pay or production which has been changed or cancelled because of changes in method, material, or because an error has been found in the rate.

CAPPED RATE. A control limit placed on certain incentive standards which control the top earnings level. Can be a self-imposed level of production which employees will not exceed or a control designed into the incentive plan.

CARD CHECK. A procedure whereby signed union authorization cards are checked against a list of workers in a prospective bargaining unit to determine if the union has majority status. The employer may recognize the union on the basis of this check without the necessity of a formal election. Often conducted by an outside party, e.g., a respected member of the community. (See AUTHORIZATION CARD.)

CASUAL WORKERS. Workers who have no steady employer, but who shift from employer to employer. Also used in longshoring to refer to workers not regularly attached to a particular work group. Sometimes applied to temporary employees.


CELL MANNING. Similar to team manning in which all of the operators in a group are able to perform all of the operations in the group.

CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL. An AFL-CIO organization formed by association of local unions in a community or other geographical area, to further union interests and activities. Also known as City Central Body.

CERTIFICATION. Formal designation by a government agency, such as the National Labor Relations Board, of the union selected by the majority of the employees in a supervised election to act as exclusive bargaining agent for all employees in the bargaining unit.

CHANGEOVER TIME. The time required to modify or replace an existing facility or workplace, usually including both teardown time for the existing condition and setup for the new condition.


CHARADE. Action during negotiations to achieve a certain position through pretense or bluffing.

CHARGE. (NRLB) A written statement of alleged unfair practices filed with the NLRB by management, labor, or any aggrieved employee under the provisions of the Labor-Management Relations Act.

CHARTER. Written authorization to establish a union or a subordinate or affiliated body.

CHECK-OFF. The practice whereby the employer, by agreement with the union, regularly withholds from the wages of union workers assessments and dues, and transmits these funds to the union. Under the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, the employer must receive from each employee a written assignment which shall not be revocable for a period of more than one year, or beyond the termination date of the agreement, whichever occurs sooner.

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT. Under Title VII of this federal act (1964), employers, unions, and employment agencies are required to treat all persons equally, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, in all phases of employment, including hiring, promotion, compensation, firing, apprenticeship, job assignments, and training. An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was created to assist in carrying out this section of the act.

CIVIL SERVICE REFORM ACT. Title VII of this act was passed in l978 and is known as the most significant change in federal personnel administration since the passage of the Civil Service Act pub l883. It deals with unfair labor practices in the federal government.

CLASSIFICATION. A category or group in which a job is located on basis of pay rate, competence or training level, seniority or other job identification criteria.

CLASSIFICATION ACT EMPLOYEES. Federal government employees, typically professional, administrative, technical and clerical employees, whose salary rates and certain other conditions of employment are determined by Congress. (See WAGE BOARD EMPLOYEES.)

CLASSIFICATION CHANGE. A grade or title change in classification based on reevaluation or change in duties and responsibilities of a particular position.

CLASSIFICATION INDEX. A numerical value assigned to a job classification which establishes the relationship of that job classification to others.

CLASSIFICATION METHOD OF JOB EVALUATION. A method which compares jobs on a whole job basis. Predefined class descriptions are established for a series of job classes and a job is placed in whichever classification best describes it.

CLASS OF POSITIONS. A group of positions, regardless of location, that are alike enough in duties and responsibilities to be called the same descriptive title, to be given the same pay scale under similar conditions, and to require substantially the same qualifications.

CLASS RATE. Pay applicable to a given grouping of jobs or employees.

CLEANUP TIME. Paid time allowed to workers to clean their workplaces or tools or to wash up before leaving the plant at the close of the workday or for lunch. Also known as Washup time. (See CLOTHES CHANGING TIMe.)

CLOCK-OUT (OFF). The act of punching off a job on a time clock for a variety of reasons such as, machine breakdown, waiting for work or shift end.

CLOSED SHOP. Form of union security provided in an agreement which binds the employer to hire and retain only union members in good standing. The key distinction between a closed shop and a union shop lies in the hiring restriction, a restriction prohibited by the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947. Legal closed shops may be found outside the scope of this act (which applies to employers and employees in industries affecting interstate commerce) and outside of states with “right-to-work” laws.

CLOSED UNION. A union which bars new members or makes membership acquisition difficult (e.g., by very high initiation fees) in order to protect job opportunities for its present members, or for other reasons. Some unions accept only sons of present members. (See OPEN UNION.)

CLOTHES CHANGING TIME. Time allocated within the paid workday for changing from street wear to working clothes, or from working clothes to street wear, or both. (See CLEANUP TIME.)

CLOTHING ALLOWANCE. An allowance granted by an employer to those employees who are required to buy special clothing such as uniforms, safety shoes, and other safety garments, in connection with the performance of their work.

CODETERMINATION. A system of governing an organization where the employees in addition to management help run the company through union or worker representation on the board of directors.

CODES OF ETHICAL PRACTICES. Rules adopted by the AFL- CIO in 1956-57, setting standards of behavior for unions and their officers.



COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. Method whereby representatives of the employees (the union) and employer determine the conditions of employment through direct negotiation, normally resulting in a written contract setting forth the wages, hours, and other conditions to be observed for a stipulated period (e.g., two years).       (See AGREEMENT.)

COMMISSION. Compensation for services rendered in arranging a transaction, or  be a percentage of the transaction amount.

COMMISSION EARNINGS. Compensation to sales personnel based on a percentage of value of sales. Commission earnings may be in addition to a guaranteed salary or may constitute total pay. Sales personnel on straight commission usually have a fixed drawing account which is balanced against actually realized commission earnings at specific periods. (See DRAWING ACCOUNT.)

COMMON LABOR. General term used to designate unskilled workers performing heavy labor. In specific plants, may refer to unskilled workers not assigned to a particular job. The latter use is probably now the more frequent one.

COMMON LABOR RATE. The hourly rate paid for physical or manual labor of a general character and simple nature requiring no special training or skill and requiring little or no previous experience.

COMMUNICATION. The passing of information and under standing from a person to another person or a group.

COMMUNITY WAGE SURVEY. A general term used to describe a survey designed to reveal the structure and level of wages within a particular geographic area for a given industry or, more typically for broad categories of industry. (See AREA WAGE SURVEY.)

COMPANY UNION. A derogatory charge leveled against a union suspected of being an ineffectual employee representative.


COMPARABLE RATE. A rate paid for work agreed or determined to be comparable within a plant or occupations with similar characteristics in other industries.

COMPARABLE WAGES. Equal pay for equal work.

COMPARABLE WORTH. The doctrine that men and women who perform work of the same “inherent value” should receive comparable compensation, excepting allowable differences (for example, seniority plan, merit plan, production-based pay plans, or different locations).

COMPA-RATIO. The ratio of an actual pay rate (numerator) to the midpoint for the respective pay grade (denominator). Compa-ratios are used primarily to compare an individual rate of pay to the midpoint of some other control point of the structure. It is most frequently used as an index of a person’s relationship to the structure. In addition, compa-ratios can be calculated for a group of people, a department, or an entire organization.

COMPENSABLE INJURY. A work injury for which compensation indemnity benefits are payable to the injured worker or his or her beneficiary under worker’s compensation laws.

COMPENSATION. The total of value received for the performance of a job. Sometimes used to encompass the entire range of wages and benefits, both current and deferred, which workers receive out of their employment.

COMPENSATORY TIME OFF. A compensation plan for overtime work which gives the employee paid time off from duty in lieu of overtime pay. The Supreme Court ruled such plans unconstitutional for certain federal or government agencies, requiring full overtime rates for overtime worked.

COMPETITIVE WAGE. The wage within a given labor market required to balance the demand and supply for a particular labor type that is required by a company to maintain a competitive price position with other firms in the same industry.

COMPLAINT. (NLRB) A formal paper issued by the NLRB, stating the alleged unfair labor practice and the basis for the Board’s jurisdiction, in order to start an unfair labor practice hearing.

COMPRESSION. Reduction of the pay differentials for jobs having different responsibility and skill requirements. May apply either to actual pay or pay ranges.


COMPULSORY RETIREMENT. Involuntary separation from employment in a company upon reaching a specified age. In precise pension terms, a distinction is usually made between compulsory and automatic retirement. The age of compulsory retirement is that point at which a worker loses the right to decide whether he should retire or continue on his job. The age of automatic retirement is the age beyond which no employee may continue to work under the terms of the pension plan. In other words, an employee may work beyond the compulsory retirement age if the employer consents, but automatic retirement rules out the option on both sides. (See AUTOMATIC RETIREMENT.)

CONCESSION BARGAINING. A negotiating pattern in which a union agrees to certain reductions in pay and/or benefits in order to assist a company in becoming more competitive.


CONFLICT. The simultaneous presence of opposing or mutually exclusive impulses, desires, or tendencies.

CONFORMITY. A general term referring to adherence to a group norm concerning beliefs, values, attitudes, or behavior. Such adherence may reflect a variety of underlying psychological processes.

CONSTANT SHARING PLAN. A series of incentive plans in which the percent earnings of operators above a base level is either greater than or less than the percent increase in production. An incentive plan with a straight line incentive pay curve which does not pass through the (0/0) point. Most common constant sharing plans pay less than 1:1 incentive bonus; usually a 50-50 sharing plan in which the employees receive a 1% bonus for each 2% increase in production.

CONSTANT TOTAL COST PLAN.  An incentive plan with a pay curve that keeps the labor cost (labor plus overhead) at a constant rate.

CONSTANT UNIT LABOR COST PLAN. An incentive plan with a pay curve that keeps the labor cost per piece a constant.

CONSULTATION. An obligation on the part of management to consult the union on particular issues (e.g., contracting-out) in advance of taking action is frequently provided by agreements. What consultation actually means in each situation is what the parties want it to mean. In general, the process of consultation lies between notification to the union, which may amount simply to providing information, and negotiation, which implies agreement on the part of the union before the action can be taken.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI). A government index, issued monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which measures the average change in prices of goods and services purchased by urban wage- earner and clerical-worker families. (See COST OF  LIVING ADJUSTMENT, ESCALATOR CLAUSE.)

CONTINUOUS BARGAINING COMMITTEES (INTERIM COMMITTEES). Committees established by management and union in a collective bargaining relationship to keep the agreement under constant review, and to discuss possible contract changes, long in advance of the contract expiration date. May provide for third- party participation. (See HUMAN RELATIONS COMMITTEES, CRISIS BARGAINING.)

CONTINUOUS OPERATIONS. Necessary plant operations (powerhouse, maintenance, plant protection, including some manufacturing processes, etc.) that must continue to function on a 24-hour, 7-day basis. (See CONTINUOUS PROCESS)(ROUND-THE-CLOCK OPERATIONS.)

CONTINUOUS PROCESS. A process which, once begun, must continue without interruption for a long period, making the use of multiple shifts necessary.


CONTRACT BAR. A denial of the request for a representation election, based on the existence of any agreement. Such an election will not be conducted by the National Labor Relations Board if there is in effect a written agreement which is binding upon the parties, has not been in effect for more than a “reasonable” time, and its terms are consistent with the National Labor Relations Act.

CONTRACTING-OUT (SUBCONTRACTING; FARMING OUT). Practice of having certain steps in a manufacturing process, plant maintenance, or other work functions performed by outside contractors.

CONTRACT WAGE PAYMENT. An arrangement whereby the worker contracts to perform a specific job for a predetermined amount of compensation.

CONTRIBUTORY PENSION PLAN. A pension plan for the benefit of the employee under which the cost is shared by both the employer and the employee. (See NON-CONTRIBUTORY PENSION PLAN.)

CONTROL (WAGE AND SALARY). The administration of compensation plans in accordance with set predetermined policy.

CONTROL POINT. The point within a salary range representing the desired average or median pay for a job or group of jobs at a given time.

COOLING-OFF PERIOD. A period of time that must elapse before a strike or lockout can begin or be resumed, by agreement or by law. The term derives from the hope that the tensions of unsuccessful negotiations will subside in time and that a work stoppage will be averted. (See NATIONAL EMERGENCY DISPUTE.)

CORRELATION. The relationship between total point score value of a job, as determined by job analysis and pay grade.

COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT (COLA). An adjustment of wages or salaries in accordance with a formula taking into consideration changes in the cost of living as measured by an appropriate index of the retail prices of goods and services that enter into the consumption of low- or moderate-income families. (See ESCALATOR CLAUSE.)

COST OF LIVING ALLOWANCE. Regular cents-per-hour or percentage payments made to workers through the operation of escalator clauses or other types of cost-of-living allowances not incorporated into base rates. Also known as float.

COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS. This small federal government agency, established under the terms of the Employment Act of 1946, advises the President on economic developments, appraises government economic growth and stability, and assists in the preparation of the President’s annual economic report to the Congress. (See GUIDEPOSTS.)


CRAFT. Usually, a skilled occupation requiring a thorough knowledge of processes involved in the work, the exercise of considerable independent judgment, usually a high degree of manual dexterity, and, in some instances, extensive responsibility for valuable product or equipment.

CRAFT UNION. A labor organization which limits member ship to workers having a particular craft or skill or working at closely related trades, for example, electricians, machinists, or plumbers. (See SKILLED TRADES.)

CREDITED SERVICE. Years of employment counted for retirement, severance pay, seniority, etc. The definition of a credited year of service varies among companies and plans.

CREDIT UNION. A financial institution voluntarily organized and operated by a group of individuals having a common interest; providing for deposits to and withdrawals from a common fund with the purpose of extending credit to members at low, regulated interest rates and to encourage thrift.

CREDIT UNION DEDUCTIONS. Automatic deductions made by an employer from an employee’s pay and paid to the credit union to satisfy the employee’s repayment of a loan. Done by agreement among the employer, the employee, and the credit union.

CREEP (CREEPING METHOD CHANGES). Changes in the method of performing a job over a long period of time so that the exact date when a change took place cannot be determined.

CRISIS BARGAINING. Term used to characterize collective bargaining taking place under the shadow of an imminent strike deadline, as distinguished from extended negotiations in which both parties have ample time to present and discuss their positions.

CRITICAL INCIDENTS. Those events which are particularly conducive to success or failure in performing any task.

CYCLE TIME. (1) The time required to perform one complete sequence of job activities. (2) A period of time within which a round of regularly recurring events is completed.


< Previous | Next >