Cornell University

Effective Collective Bargaining: Preparation and Negotiations LR402

Not currently offered

This program currently has no scheduled dates.

This workshop focuses on both preparing a bargaining and negotiating strategy as well as executing “at the table” tools, tactics and techniques to reach an agreement using small group exercises and a full day collective bargaining simulation to hone skills learned during the workshop. 

Strategic Preparation

The strategic preparation portion of the workshop focuses on determining the needs and interests of management and the bargaining unit and aligning collective bargaining objectives with overall business objectives. Participants will:

  • Identify the authentic relationship between management and the union and how that affects bargaining
  • Evaluate the key business conditions and business objectives of the enterprise and determine how they relate to labour relations and the collective agreement
  • Review assessment and preparatory research, including:
    • Identifying internal and external factors that influence negotiations
    • Review of grievance and arbitration logs
    • Obtaining input from supervisors and managers
    • Analysis and assembly of negotiation information
    • Bargaining unit demographics
    • Wage rates, benefits, and current cost data
    • Area surveys of wages and benefits
    • Surveys of settlements and industrial patterns
  • Set management's collective bargaining priorities and learn to marshal data and argument to support them
  • Anticipate the union’s needs and objectives and how it will respond to management objectives
  • Understand the basics of collective bargaining accounting
  • Formulate bargaining strategies on difficult economic and operational issues
  • Evaluate the need for communication and climate setting

At the Table Process and Simulation

Following the strategic preparation phase of the course, participants will then learn and apply best practices regarding “at-the-table” negotiating.  Participants will practice:

  • Developing a negotiating strategy (as distinct to a bargaining strategy), including the sequence and timing of offers and concessions
  • The duty to bargain in good faith
  • Making opening statements
  • Formulating and articulating responses to union demands
  • Probing union demands, including clarification of interests, and messaging/signaling of management’s position
  • Formulating/presenting management offers, including best practices, “sale” of the proposal, responding to union questions and opposition
  • Using the “caucus” or break effectively
  • Resolving management proposals and union demands, including interest-based problem-solving techniques, when and how to make concessions, creating and advocating for “linkages,” and strategies for overcoming stalemates
  • Communication skills for effective managing of interpersonal dynamics, including the emotional, political and tactical aspects of bargaining

Instructors will facilitate the simulation with debriefings regarding where best practices were or could have been used in key situations.

Special Features

Case study analysis of complex, cutting-edge economic and operational issues, culminating in full day small group simulation.

Who Will Benefit

Labour relations and human resources, operations, and finance professionals who support or have responsibility for collective bargaining.  

Open enrollment workshops can be taken individually or as part of a certificate in Contract Administration Studies or Collective Bargaining Studies. They are also available as Labour Relations Customized Programs for your organization.