Developing Negotiating Styles and Tactics to Master the Dynamics of Collective Bargaining
If you are involved in collective bargaining, you know the complex and multi-layered dynamics at play. Whether you represent a business unit, government department, or union, you know that the organization's strategic interests and priorities are tied to how well you do at the bargaining table. But can you implement more effective collective bargaining strategies that are true to your own style and the organization's best interests? These and other important issues are explored in our intensive five-day Negotiation Skills program, which features expert instruction and on-the-spot coaching.
a) Understanding the Negotiation Process
The opening component of our program establishes the foundation on which new skills can be based. We draw the big picture in collective bargaining: what must the organization accomplish in the negotiation round, and what are the dynamics at play. We set the stage by:
- Defining strategic negotiations
- Teasing out the dynamics of power/rights/interests approaches
- Identifying individual team and organizational capabilities
b) Building and Prepping the Negotiating
In preparation for your extended bargaining simulation later in the week, we explore how to create roles and responsibilities for effective team dynamics. We analyze bargaining dynamics as well, including intra-team, inter-team, and team-constituent bargaining.
c) Developing a Collective Bargaining Strategy
There are many crucial elements to consider in crafting a strategy for your bargaining round.
Here are several that are discussed:
- Gathering and analyzing data
- Determining the real issues and interests (yours and theirs)
- Framing issues for productive dialogue
- Gaining team agreement on priorities,strategies, tactics, and processes
- Communicating with stakeholder groups
- Formulating a bargaining mandate
d) Negotiation Simulation: Part 1
Here is your chance to practice what you have learned so far this week. The first part of the simulation gives your team an opportunity to identify bargaining priorities, formulate interests, and anticipate the other team’s interests to develop a foundation for moving forward. Begin to manage team dynamics by establishing roles and responsibilities, and gaining team agreement on strategies.
e) Introduction to Costing the Collective Agreement
This workshop is devoted to the art and science of costing the collective agreement. You get a template for costing the monetary and nonmonetary issues of your collective agreement, and apply the information to your ongoing simulation.
f) Negotiation Simulation: Part 2
After forming your opening statements, your team meets to negotiate effective pre-agreements on ground rules and process issues. Watch for possible turbulence in team dynamics.
g) The Union View of Bargaining
We ensure that our roster of coaches includes strong and experienced representatives of unions. In this spirited session they offer the union perspective, fielding your candid questions and satisfying your curiosity.
h) Negotiating to Agreement
There are a number of techniques to employ in order to reach a satisfactory bargaining conclusion.
Here are several that are explored:
- Questioning skills for distinguishing interests from positions, exploring assumptions, and obtaining important information
- Creating joint problem-solving statements
- Negotiating without locking onto positions
- Controlling destructive dynamics
- Dealing with sources of resistance
- Linking issues and solutions for effective resolution
- Packaging and re-packaging offers
i) Negotiation Simulation: Parts 3 to 5
The negotiation simulation comes to a climax during this full day of bargaining. Do team members perform as advertised? Have you considered all the possible counter-proposals? Prepare to be surprised by the results.
j) Pre-Bargaining Rituals
The bargaining process is a bit like going to a dance: there are rituals, strategies, and tactics that play out beneath the surface.
In this section you will learn:
- How to set the tone for productive bargaining
- How to prepare and deliver an opening statement
- How to negotiate pre-agreements on ground rules and meeting schedules
- How to develop a joint bargaining process/agenda
k) Concluding the Agreement
Learn how to go from agreement in principle to agreement on specifics by:
- Drafting contract language and checking for mutual understanding
- Communicating with stakeholder groups to achieve agreement and ratification.
- Reaching agreement on the entire package
Success is close at hand, but pay attention to details.
l) Large Group Debrief
With the intensity of the simulation melted away, it is time to take stock of the lessons learned and gather feedback from coaches. Begin to contemplate your role in future negotiations and how you will enhance the competitive position of your organization.
By the end of the week, you will be better positioned to:
- Prepare effectively for negotiations by identifying interests and developing strategic mandates
- Open negotiations constructively and negotiate pre-agreements
- Build skills in formulating and delivering proposals and managing impasses
- Develop the skills of an effective negotiator including listening, probing, identifying interests, and mutually solving problems
- Develop skills in costing both your present collective agreement and proposed new clauses
- Better outcomes from collective bargaining sessions
- Faster and more effective preparation of negotiating team members
- Improved labour management relations
- Creation of competitive advantage through strategic negotiations
- Planning for Bargaining Workbook
- Issues Analysis/Preparation/Framing Templates
- Negotiations Checklist
Labour Relations and Human Resources professionals, union representatives, and managers who prepare for negotiations
Gary Furlong has extensive experience in labour mediation, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Gary is past president of the ADR Institute of Ontario, is a Chartered Mediator (C. Med.) and holds his Master of Laws (ADR) from Osgoode Hall Law School. Gary is the author of The Conflict Resolution Toolbox, John Wiley and Sons, 2005; the co-author of The Construction Dispute Resolution Handbook, Lexis Nexis 2004; and The Sports Playbook, Routledge, 2018.
Gary has worked with the Queen’s University School of Industrial Relations conducting research into employment models of dispute resolution in Canadian companies. He teaches a number of labour-related...
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