Originally Posted: November 30, 2007
Beginning in 1947, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) acted under the mandate of the Taft-Hartley Act, also known as the Labor-Management Relations Act, to solicit collective bargaining agreements and make them available in a publicly accessible file. In September 2007, responsibility for maintenance of collective bargaining agreements and continued collection of these agreements was officially transferred within the U.S. Department of Labor, from the BLS to the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the Employment Standards Administration (ESA). This transfer was a result of Secretary's Order 4-2007, which appeared in the Federal Register on May 8, 2007.1
Prior to 1947, collective bargaining agreements were gathered on a more informal basis. These pre-1947 agreements were used to study wage trends. Due to the rapid increase in prices and wages after World War II and the need for the most current information on collective bargaining developments, the Bureau began to issue a monthly report, Current Wage Developments (the predecessor to today’s Compensation and Working Conditions Online), which listed the negotiated changes in wages and supplementary benefits by company and union.2
In an effort to continue providing quality service with collective bargaining agreements while adjusting to budgetary constraints of the early 1980s, the BLS redesigned the program and began collecting and providing copies of only those collective bargaining agreements covering 1,000 or more workers. At the same time, BLS discontinued its series on negotiated wage and benefits changes and also discontinued its directory of unions and employee associations. In 2002, the BLS entered into an agreement with the Martin P. Catherwood Library of the Kheel Center at Cornell University to archive all of the older agreements.3 The transfer of the bulk of the archives was completed in 2003.4
Over the past few years, BLS has worked to digitize all current collective bargaining agreements and began making electronic copies available on the BLS Internet in early 2007. The Employment Standards Administration intends to continue to provide electronic access to the current agreements.
Inquiries about the collective bargaining agreements file can be directed to the ESA at the following address:
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
The entire hard-copy file of collective bargaining agreements is now located at the ESA. Most current agreements are available in PDF format at the ESA website: http://www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/cba/. The BLS continues to collect and publish information on work stoppages. For more information on work stoppages, see the Work Stoppages program home page at www.bls.gov/wsp.
1 Secretary’s Order 4-2007 can be accessed on the Federal Register page of the Government Printing Office (GPO) website, on the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
2 Joseph P. Goldberg and William T. Moye, The First Hundred Years of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin 2235 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 1985), p. 202.
3 The archived collective bargaining agreements files can be accessed on the Internet at http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/blscontracts/.
4 The BLS continued to send archived materials to Cornell until the ESA took over responsibility for collecting the agreements.