Once a union has been elected, both public and private school boards are bound to deal exclusively with that union. The elected union must bargain for the collective interests of the members of the bargaining unit. Both the school district and the union representing teachers must bargain in good faith. The duty of parties to bargain in good faith is important in the collective bargaining process, since negotiations between school districts and unions can become intense and heated.
Interpretations of the term “good faith” under the National Labor Relations Act typically focus on openness, fairness, mutuality of conduct, and cooperation between parties. Many state statutes define “good faith” similarly, though some states provide more specific guidance regarding what constitutes good faith bargaining. Some states also provide a list of examples that are deemed instances of bargaining in bad faith. Refusal to negotiate in good faith constitutes an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act and many state statutes.