Thursday, March 16, 2023

Things To Ask For In Union Negotiations

Must read

How Do We Get A Good Contract

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers in Nyeri ask to be included in Doctors’ negotiations

We need to build our bargaining power. Bargaining power is the ability to achieve our bargaining goals and strengthen our contract. It comes from our solidarityour determination and willingness to stick together.

Taking action to show our employer we support our Bargaining Committee can send a message that we are not satisfied with the status quo or our employers demands. When our employer sees that we are united, it puts us in a stronger position at the bargaining table.

The History Of Union Membership

Over the past 50 years, the decline of union membership has greatly influenced bargaining interactions. By the mid-1950s, 35 percent of private-sector workers were union members who had their employment terms established through collective bargaining.

As the U.S. was transformed from a manufacturing to a service and white-collar economy and while American firms were directly impacted by global competition from emerging countries, the elevated labor costs associated with unionized personnel became harmful to many corporations. Non-union companies hired law firms and labor consultants to keep their firms non-union, and organized companies began to discover ways to get rid of their unions.

Positive Employee Relations Strategy

Of course, the strength of positive employee relations and maintaining a respectful workplace are major influences on how well union contract negotiations go. A unionized business with high employee engagement is more likely to have a successful negotiations process for the simple reason employees know the employer has long-term employee success in mind.

There is also the possibility the union could be decertified at the allowed time in the future. The implication is that leadership training in communication and developing positive employee relations should continue even while union contract negotiations training is in progress.

You May Like: Educators Credit Union Racine Wi

Ask A Union Organizer: What Should We Expect From Bargaining

I know bargaining is part of the unionization process, but I dont understand what that means. What does it involve? Whats the process? We are new to unionizing and trying to figure out what to expect. Wondering Worker

Dear Wondering Worker,

Thats a great question! Bargaining is the term unions use when they are negotiating the wages and working conditions contractually outlined in a Collective Bargaining Agreement . With a union, nobody personally negotiates for individual working conditions–workers only Collectively Bargain.

When you form your union, and every two or three years after that, youll get an opportunity to negotiate with your boss about your wages and working conditions. A ton of late-night research, practice, and preparation culminates during a series of workers vs. management negotiation sessions that aim to change the employment contract.

Bargaining looks like people sitting on opposite sides of a table discussing the terms of a contract. The Bargaining Team is the debate club of union leadership roles.

This process can take place over several months, or even years. Even good-faith* negotiations take a long time to hammer out the many details of a collective bargaining agreement. Once the bargaining team reaches either a point of satisfaction with the proposed contract or utter frustration about their face-to-face negotiations with management, they put it to a vote.

Are You Facing Any Challenges With My Provisions

In Negotiation Cartoons and Comics

After giving them your provisions, ask them if there are specific provisions that they find challenging to accept. This allows for you to understand which specific areas of your agreement the other party may have issues with. Upon learning their challenges, you may adjust your provisions to better suit their needs, or you can find a new compromise that helps both parties feel comfortable with the agreement. Try asking them why they feel hesitant to accept your provisions and ask them if they have ideas for provisions that you both can agree upon.

Recommended Reading: What Does The European Union Do

Dont Wait For The First Day Of Contract Negotiations

Train your senior leaders, mid-managers, and supervisors on TIPS and FOE (or better known as TIPS-D and FLOP_, employee communication, NLRA requirements, and maintaining a positive attitude during a time of possible negativity or conflict. These are critical elements supporting a successful union contract negotiations process. Moll, quoted above, and whose insight helped shape this article, also shared that, “A consistent message, driven by employee communications and reinforced by managers, helps support the organizations bargaining objectives and keep employees focused on the work at hand.

We offer a multitude resources that are available quickly, including eLearning courses, dark website development, custom videos, information tools, digital communication messaging, and a lot more. The key is to get started long before the first day of contract negotiations. If you’re not sure where to begin in order to develop and maintain a direct connection with employees in the proactive era, the first step is to get the advice and assistance of a professional management consultant.

Why Fight For Mandatory Subjects Anyway

Units arent always required to bargain over mandatory subjects, but doing so can yield great results. Weve lauded the many benefits of union membership before, and were not afraid to do it again. Heres what collective bargaining can get you:

Higher salaries: When workers want to fight for higher salaries, collective bargaining is a great tool, thanks to the pressure unions can apply during contract negotiations. Even if a company is running low on cash and can’t raise wages, workers still have options on the table. We mean that literally: Units can bargain for other forms of compensation, like ownership options, to help pad compensation packages.

Not-so-fringe benefits: According to the Economic Policy Institute, unionized workers receive more in the way of fringe benefits. Contrary to what the name suggests, these benefits allow workers to enjoy better health insurance , more robust pensions, and extra paid time off.

Increased equity: By bargaining for clear hiring and promotion policies, concrete action to improve diversity and inclusion efforts, and documented wage transparency, unions can address inequality in the workplace. As a result, workers can more equitably develop their careers, decrease bias and improve the overall company culture.

Recommended Reading: Pima Federal Credit Union Locations

Why Is It Important To Develop Negotiating Skills

Here are several reasons why it’s important to develop negotiating skills:

  • Resolve conflict: Negotiating skills help you resolve conflict with others. These skills may help you see the other individual’s perspective of the argument and express your opinions in a constructive way.

  • Find a mutual agreement: If both parties can’t decide on an agreement, negotiating skills may help you change your expectations so that you can find a compromise that works in the favor of both individuals.

  • Improve patience: Having excellent negotiating skills may increase your level of patience for others since you can take the time to understand their side and work through steps to find a compromise.

  • Build healthy relationships: Negotiating skills can lead to building healthy relationships, since both parties can express their opinions and find positive compromise. Individuals who use negotiation skills may feel more open to communicating their ideas and feelings with others.

  • Avoid future conflict: Negotiating skills may help you avoid future conflicts by using healthy communication to identify potential issues and solve problems using compromise.

Related:How To Negotiate at Every Stage of Your Career

Mobilize The Members To Fight If Necessary

Columbus school board prepares alternative outcomes for school starting amid union negotiations

While the Union might not be able to strike during the middle of the contract, the members can still take concerted action. They can take action to COLLECTIVELY let management know how they feel and to remind the boss that future relations will suffer if the employer tries to make changes without bargaining. Concerted action isnt supposed to violate the contract. UE members have always been inventive when it comes to demonstrating their dislike of employer policies. Be sure to consult with a UE Field Organizer prior to taking action. Just as the members take action during contract negotiations they should be ready to take action during mid-contract bargaining.

Don’t Miss: Used Auto Loan Rates Credit Union

General Points To Keep In Mind

When negotiating the union contract, there are some general points to keep in mind.

  • Aim for clearer language in the new contract than is found in the current contract wherever issues or uncertainty have arisen during the term of the current contract
  • Decide what you consider reasonable employee health and safety procedures in order to maintain operations
  • Identify solutions developed to problems that arose during the last contract period and need inclusion as negotiated stronger provisions in the new contract
  • Consider the impact of changes since the last contract was negotiated, like new facilities added, mergers and acquisitions completed, increased use of contracted or gig workers, etc.
  • Consider the impacts of new technologies already implemented or will be implemented during the new contract term and how they impact job descriptions and titles, employee classification , employee training needs and performance expectations, etc.
  • Review the grievance policies and procedures again, looking for potential gaps in employee voice, because unions almost always want to negotiate the grievance process

This list is just to get you started and give you an idea of the broad spectrum of elements needing an employer-union agreement. Your organization has unique needs that must be addressed.

Who Governs The Different Bargaining Situations

Many different statutes come into play during the negotiation process.

  • Private sector bargaining encounters are regulated by the National Labour Relations Act for most workers.
  • For railroad and airline personnel, the Railway Labour Act regulates bargaining.
  • The Civil Service Reform Act covers federal workers.
  • State and local government personnel are under state public sector bargaining laws.

Under the applicable statutes, employees have the right to organize and to select exclusive bargaining agents. These agents negotiate collective agreements defining their wages, hours, and working conditions. Agents may engage in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection.

For private-sector workers, this action allows them the protected right to strike. Federal workers and most state and local employees are prohibited from striking. However, several states do permit non-essential personnel to participate in work stoppages.

Individuals who engage in a lawful economic strike may not be dismissed or otherwise disciplined for such protected activity. However, under the Mackay Radio decision of the Supreme Court, these individuals may be permanently replaced. After replacement, the strikers maintain preferential recall rights. This means employers must rehire the strikers as positions become available before hiring outside persons.

Recommended Reading: Lake Michigan Credit Union Traverse City

Scope Of Collective Bargaining

Question: Do the International Labour Standards provide guidance on whether wages should be the subject of negotiations? Do you have an overview of best practices by multinational enterprises in this matter?

Answer: The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has concluded that wages, benefits and allowances may be subject to collective bargaining.

Concerning good practices for MNEs, the ILO MNE Declaration provides the following recommendations: When multinational enterprises operate in developing countries, where comparable employers may not exist, they should provide the best possible wages, benefits and conditions of work, within the framework of government policies. These should be related to the economic position of the enterprise, but should be at least adequate to satisfy basic needs of the workers and their families.

Question: Does the involvement of workers representatives in corporate restructuring/sale processes fall within the scope of collective bargaining agreements?

This link provides a comparative table of statutory requirement to consult workers’ representatives on collective dismissals:

Question: What subjects can be covered by collective bargaining?

However, strict limitations on the subject matter of negotiations may be possible in the case of economic stabilisation policies imposed by a government, for example on wage rates. In this case, the restriction should be imposed as an exceptional measure and only to the extent that it is necessary.

Collective Bargaining And Negotiation Anchoring


Another critical factor concerns the impact of negotiation anchoring. When one side begins with a generous initial offer, the other side is unlikely to appreciate this gift and reply in kind. Instead, one side begins to think it will do better than expected. This side then begins with a less generous opening offer.

When I was in graduate school studying collective bargaining, I asked a friend who had been a local union president what would happen if company negotiators began with a beneficial first offer. He reacted with displeasure and suggested that such behavior would probably cause a work stoppage. Once the rank-and-file employees learned of the munificent management offer, they would raise their expectations and anticipate far better final terms.

This factor may have generated the cancelation of this years National Hockey League season. The team owners were clearly concerned about rising labor costs. The team owners demanded a specific division of revenues between the players and themselves. In so doing, the team owners apparently hoped to give the players no more than 54% and retain 46% for themselves. Instead of initially offering the players union 48 or 50% and allowing that side to talk them up to 53 or 54%, the owners apparently began with an offer in the 53% area.

Also Check: Teachers Federal Credit Union Riverhead

Assemble A Negotiating Team

An interesting twist to the negotiation process is that there is no legal obligation to reach a mutually agreeable contract. What is required is that you bargain in good faith, and that can take weeks or months or sometimes a year or more, depending on it goes. One of the first steps you will take is forming a negotiating team, and its members should understand their duties and responsibilities. The typical team will include people like the following.

  • One or more labor professionals, like a labor law attorney and certified labor relations professional, if one is available
  • A human resources representative
  • An executive overseeing operations
  • A senior financial person who helps with determining the true cost of unionization
  • A frontline supervisor who has firsthand knowledge of the employee experience and the real-world impact of contract requirements on employees

With a negotiations team assembled, you are ready to assess organizational and employee needs and convert them into discussion points.

What Specific Provisions Are Significant

It’s useful to understand the other party’s specific provisions that are essential for them to make an agreement. Upon learning their provisions, you can adjust your own provisions, share your ideas and create a strategy that’s based on both of your important provisions. Understanding their provisions may help them feel supported, which can help you negotiate easier.

Read Also: State Employee Credit Union Com

Nine Key Tactics For Successful Union Negotiations

With recent market volatility and a change in the political landscape following the 2020 elections, Unions are once again garnering a lot of attention. President Joe Biden has voiced his support for organized labor at a time when the pressure is mounting to increase the minimum wage on a national scale.

Despite the apparent burden this places on employers, it nevertheless provides a great deal of leverage for organizations to seek concessions from those Unions.

Photo Courtesy of Stock Photo Secrets

Money To Go To Grad School

Union, King Soopers agree to resume negotiations

If tuition reimbursement for graduate or other programs is important to you, ask about it, and tell the employer why it matters to you. Remember: The worst they can do is say no. But if you dont ask for it, youll never know what the answer is. Plus, if youve researched the company to familiarize yourself with their values and understand what benefits they offer, you should be able to make a strong case for yourself. Matthew Burr, an HR consultant who previously owned a business

Read Also: Consumer Credit Union Log In

Things You Can Negotiate Besides Money

Clayton listed 15 common negotiation requests that have nothing to do with salary, promotions, raises, bonuses, or stock options. But these items all have a profound impact on your work life.

1. Start date.

A job offer comes with a start date. However, the date is typically moveable. You likely cant ask for an earlier date, but you may be able to delay your start date by a couple of weeks. For example, if you need more time to segue from your old job, or if you just want some time off between jobs, Clayton suggested negotiating your start date.

2. Flexibility

It is common to ask for flexible or reduced work hours, according to Clayton. With many companies emphasizing work-life balance, more employees are uninterested in clocking in and out on a strict schedule. Be prepared to demonstrate that you can complete your work and be responsive in the time allotted.

3. Remote work option.

During COVID-19, working remotely is a particularly reasonable request. Be prepared for the challenges of workflow apps and video conferencing.

A lot of employers are allowing telework already, but with the uncertainty of COVID-19, employees will definitely be requesting it more, said Clayton.

4. Different job title.

Maybe a job title seems irrelevant, or doesnt adequately describe your responsibilities.

If you arent happy with your job title, an employer may be able to tweak it especially if you have a valid argument for the change.

5. Different responsibilities or team assignments.

Union Contract Negotiations Tips

Through years of experience and networking, the UnionProof team has developed a deep understanding of the contract negotiations process. Following are some tips we picked up along the way.

As can see, the success of the union contract negotiations process is largely dependent on how well your leadership communicates with employees and how well the negotiations team can communicate the employer position on contract items to the union representatives.

Read Also: Coast Central Credit Union Crescent City

Collective Bargaining Union Negotiation

Gain insight into best practice approaches to collective bargaining negotiation. Learn the factors that can influence the outcome of your labour or union negotiation.

Collective bargaining negotiation between labor unions and corporate employers is a specialized area in the field of general negotiations. However, the underlying legal and relationship aspects make these areas distinct. General business negotiation and lawsuit negotiations are not regulated by statutory provisions. In contrast, external laws mandate and govern a collective bargaining negotiation.

More articles

Popular Articles