Collective bargaining is the bi-lateral process between an employer and a labor union, and it determines everything from wages and health benefits to hours and working conditions. The end result of collective bargaining is a legally binding contract, which clearly describes employees' rights and benefits.
Contracts vary from district to district, but they generally cover similar issues. The Education Employment Relations Act (EERA) specifies that in addition to wages and benefits, workplace issues such as leave and transfer policies, safety conditions, class size, evaluation procedures and grievance procedures are all negotiable through collective bargaining.
A contract is only as strong as its enforcement. To make sure management is living up to its side of the bargain, you have to know what the contract says. Read your contract and understand what it says. If you don't understand something, ask your job steward to explain it to you. And if you believe management has violated any of your rights as defined by the contract, tell a union steward or your chapter president.
Also, support your negotiating team when they go to the bargaining table—after all, they're there to represent you. Respond to surveys and let your chapter representatives know what you want. Through the collective bargaining process, you can get a lot, especially with CSEA on your side.