Bargaining Process in the Aviation Industry

Non-marketing strategies that influence government, legal regulation, and the social environments of the aviation industry are essential factors for the airlines’ competitiveness position. The unions’ bargaining process as a non-marketing strategy involves engaging relevant agencies, the government, and other societal actors to pursue public policy outcomes beneficial to aviation (Doellgast & Benassi, 2020). The process can be viewed as the most evolved form of representation or collective voice and is carried under the rules, procedures, and rights designed by the national or international laws.


One of the bargaining process objectives of aviation unions is to establish a mutually beneficial agreement, which outlines the respective responsibilities and expectations from all parties involved (Akbar & Kisilowski, 2020). When the process is successful, the agreement facilitates efficient airport and airline operations and a healthy working relationship between the parties. Each Airline has its specific requirements that change over time. Nonetheless, the bargaining process tends to rely on the previously established agreement and avoid new contract formation. Renewing a contract is more accessible than approving a new one, and it allows following a set precedent. Additionally, bargaining allows the stakeholders to cater to the changes in the industry and society. Overreliance on the old agreement may be inconsiderate to current economic conditions, airlines mergers, and other concerns that affect the negotiations. Old contracts are potentially obsolete and ill-fitting to the current needs, and barraging for a new agreement is necessary (Akbar & Kisilowski, 2020). Finally, successful bargaining by unions safeguards employees’ interests and maintains a democratic environment at the workplace. Such a working environment contributes to the business’s success by delivering long-lasting solutions.

Both parties are legally expected to conduct themselves in good faith during the bargaining process. Here, the parties participate actively in the deliberations and illustrate a desire to find an agreement basis. Some of the bargaining topics for aviation may include pay rate and structure, health and safety, and performance assessment procedures (Doellgast & Benassi, 2020). These concerns are mandatory, and the stakeholders have to engage and attempt to find an optimal solution. Resolving arising issues during the bargaining process requires a collaborative approach. The approach is based on win-win negotiations to create value for both parties. Second, the management team must present their counter offer. For instance, while the aviation team presents wages and health benefits proposals, the management team counter-offer can include demands on restrictive practice, industrial peace, and absenteeism (Akbar & Kisilowski, 2020). Finally, mandates of each team member must be pre-assigned, with each member comprehending when to contribute to the negotiations.

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Nonetheless, a union bargaining impasse can occur when the involved parties fail to reach a consensus on the bargaining agreement. Impasse solution attempts to resolve the bargaining disputes through the intervention of a third party when the involved parties fail to reach a consensus (Schweinsberg et al., 2022). Strikes, mediation, and interest arbitration are impasse resolution methods. Neutral mediators attempt to prevent or minimize possible strikes that disrupt interstate commerce and aviation activities. As a third party, interest arbitrators hear a case in a quasi-judicial process and present abiding decisions.

Also, another bargaining objective for aviation unions is to find a collective agreement that establishes a working environment with clear mandates and expectations from involved stakeholders, caters to the changing working environment, and safeguards employees’ interests. Some of the most common bargaining topics in aviation include pay rate and structure, health and safety, and performance assessment procedure. Strategies to resolve conflict include undertaking a collaborative approach, presenting counter-offers by management, and pre-assigning roles to each member of the bargaining process. In a bargaining impasse, mediation and interest arbitration can be utilized as a third-party resolution strategy. Promoting inclusiveness of collective bargaining and collective agreement is vital to reducing inequality and extending labor protections.


Doellgast, V., & Benassi, C. (2020). Collective bargaining. In Handbook of research on employee voice. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Akbar, Y. H., & Kisilowski, M. (2020). To bargain or not to bargain: Airlines, legitimacy and nonmarket strategy in a COVID-19 world. Journal of air transport management88, 101867.

Schweinsberg, M., Thau, S., & Pillutla, M. M. (2022). Negotiation impasses: types, causes, and resolutions. Journal of Management48(1), 49-76.