Legally, all three of these acronyms mean the same thing.

  • CBA = Collective Bargaining Agreement
  • MOU = Memorandum of Understanding
  • MOA = Memorandum of Agreeement

All three of these are written agreements, or written notes of mutual understandings, between management and the union speaking collectively on behalf of the employees.

Typically, however, collective bargaining agreement is used to describe the master contract, the document that covers a broad range of working conditions, and goes for two or three years without change. Then it is re-negotiated.

The so-called memos usually cover single, less-important, subjects. They don't have any expiration dates; that means they remain in effect until the parties agree otherwise.