Industrial Relations (IDRL) 305

Collective Bargaining (Revision 4)

IDRL 305 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies (Business and Administrative Studies). IDRL 305 can also be used to fulfill the Social Science area of study (credential students only).

Prerequisite: None. IDRL 312 is strongly recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Science

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IDRL 305 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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IDRL 305 is designed to satisfy the needs of both trade unionists and human resource managers who are or might be involved in collective bargaining as well as students who simply want a better understanding of this important Canadian institution.

The course presents collective bargaining within a theoretical framework that highlights some of its historical and legal underpinnings and aspects of industrial relations theory. In addition, it provides you with practical skills and knowledge related to negotiation and interpretation of collective agreements that will prove useful if you plan to practise in the field: insight into some of the main approaches to bargaining and the major principles that guide interpretation; an understanding of selected technical aspects of the process; and an appreciation of the manner in which the institution is being affected by changes in the workplace, society, and our global environment.


Unit 1: Foundations

  • Lesson 1: Reflections on Bargaining
  • Lesson 2: Industrial Relations and Bargaining
  • Lesson 3: Origins and Development of Collective Bargaining in Canada
  • Lesson 4: Social, Political, and Economic Effects on Bargaining

Unit 2: Parties to Bargaining

  • Lesson 5: The Employer
  • Lesson 6: The Union
  • Lesson 7: The State

Unit 3: Legal and Political Aspects of Bargaining

  • Lesson 8: Collective Bargaining Law
  • Lesson 9: Public Sector Bargaining
  • Lesson 10: Collective Bargaining as a Human Right

Unit 4: The Bargaining Process

  • Lesson 11: Bargaining Process Basics
  • Lesson 12: Preparation for Bargaining
  • Lesson 13: Bargaining Strategies and Tactics
  • Lesson 14: Bargaining in Action
  • Lesson 15: Alternative Models of Bargaining

Unit 5: Settlement and Collective Agreements

  • Lesson 16: Contents of a Collective Agreement
  • Lesson 17: Strikes and Lockouts
  • Lesson 18: Third Party Intervention
  • Lesson 19: Grievance Arbitration

Unit 6: Contemporary Issues

  • Lesson 20: Bargaining and New Human Resource Models
  • Lesson 21: Globalization, Neoliberalism, and the Changing Workforce


To receive credit for IDRL 305,you must complete three assignments, participate in at least four of six end-of-unit class discussions, and achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the Final Examination and a composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The following chart summarizes each type of activity, its placement in the course, and the credit weight associated with each assignment.

Assign 1 Assign 2 Assign 3 Discussion Final Exam Total
15% 15% 25% 10% 35% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Godard, J. (2011). Industrial relations, the economy, and society (4th ed.). Concord, ON: Captus Press Inc. ISBN 978-1-55322-235-4

Other materials

The course materials also include a book of readings. Students will access all other course materials online.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the IDRL 305 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Online Exam

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, September 22, 2011

View previous syllabus

Updated May 19 2016 by Student & Academic Services