ILR students had negotiation exercise at Queen's University, Canada

International negotiation exercise between ILR and Queen's University students
2008_Students go for negotiations to Canada
Friday, April 4, 2008

Six MILRs and one CIPA student went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario for a weekend of negotiations in late February 2008.  The trip was part of ILROB 579 class: Negotiation and conflict resolution and ILRCB 500 class: Collective Bargaining. For the second time the trip was led by Professor Sarosh Kuruvilla. Full report on last year’s trip is available here. Students had a valuable international experience and came home ready to share their impressions from this year’s negotiation practice.

Martha Schniepp, MILR ’09 said: “The Canadian students were beyond friendly. It was great to see what our program might look like in another country. We compared course offerings, course content, career paths, etc. Also, it was great to get different perspectives on certain issues in Labor Relations. For example, the U.S. tends to have a relatively strong anti-union sentiment. Canada tends to be more pro-union, and it was great to talk with them and hear the cultural differences over this point.” Martha pointed out that negotiation exercise was interesting, especially discussing with other groups how they arrived at their solutions. “We hope to get the chance to host them in the future,” she further added.

“The trip to Canada was a great experience that allowed us to practice our negotiation skills and interact with students in a program similar to ours here at Cornell. Our hosts from Queen’s University were very friendly and outgoing, and they ensured that we had a well-rounded experience as they took us out the night before negotiations to one of the local pubs,” said Kristin Meadows, MILR ’09 who is currently a student at ILROB 579 and ILRCB 500 classes.

She explained that the first negotiation simulation required each student to assume a specific role and then work to satisfy the needs of that specific role while balancing the needs of the overall team. The exercise proved very challenging and required the students to take an integrative approach to creating a solution. During the second exercise all of the students were split-up and placed onto different teams. They were provided with a scenario and asked to make a decision based on the given information.

 “It was interesting to hear the students’ diverse opinions and how their various backgrounds played a role in determining their final decision. The exercise required students to draw upon their own beliefs and experiences as well as use analytical and critical thinking. It was an excellent experience. I would recommend that anyone interested in meeting new students in the field of Labor Relations/Human Resources and practicing negotiating skills attend the trip,” Kristin added.  

“Traveling to Canada was worthwhile for several reasons. Being in a two year professional degree program, it is imperative to practice the skills learned in the classroom in real life global settings,” said Rosemary Fantozzi, MILR ’09. Networking with Canadian MILRs was a good way to make new friends and talk about diverse issues such as health care, she explained. “Healthcare coverage is of a particular interest to me and I am glad that I got to hear their perspective on the current issues," she added.

First-year MILR student Andrew Starr is taking ILRCB 500 class. “I had fun. It was great to hear the experiences from the other schools' students: what their programs are like and what the different philosophies are in Canada in terms of systems for labor relations and unionization in general,” he said.   He added that it was nice to make contacts with people in the field outside of Cornell's ILR program. “I hope we get the chance to host them before we finish with our programs,” Andrew concluded.

~Written by Ana Stojanovic, MILR ’09