Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

Everything Passes, Everything Changes: Unionization and Collective Bargaining in Higher Education

Source: William A. Herbert, Jacob Apkarian, Perspectives on Work, 2017

From the abstract:
This article begins with a brief history of unionization and collective bargaining in higher education. It then presents data concerning the recent growth in newly certified collective bargaining representatives at private and public-sector institutions of higher education, particularly among non-tenure track faculty. The data is analyzed in the context of legal decisions concerning employee status and unit composition under applicable federal and state laws. Lastly, the article presents data concerning strike activities on campuses between January 2013 and May 31, 2017.

A Contract Campaign from Virtual to In Their Face

Source: Dave Staiger, Labor Notes, September 1, 2017

When confronted with a concessionary demand at the bargaining table, what if you filled the room with rank-and-file members? What would happen?

Kalamazoo, Michigan, teachers received an urgent message in July from their union’s private Facebook account for members: in bargaining, the district was demanding a pay freeze.

Within an hour teachers began to arrive at negotiations; soon they packed the room and turned the bargaining process on its head. All told, 46 members showed up at the union office on a beautiful summer day. The rapid response dramatically changed the course of bargaining…..

The Personality Traits of Good Negotiators

Source: Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Harvard business Review, August 7, 2017

Although there are hundreds of books about how to negotiate more effectively, the advice they offer is often difficult to apply, for three reasons. First, there are just too many contextual specificities underpinning each negotiation, such that one size does not fit all. Second, the effectiveness of each strategy is partly dependent on the personal background of the negotiators — who they are, what they want, and how they connect. Third, many of the factors determining the outcome of negotiations are more emotional than rational, which requires a deep psychological understanding of the people involved…..

How to Gain and Use Leverage in Every Negotiation: Applying It at the Right Time Is Key

Source: Greg Williams, PM Magazine, December 2016
(subscription required)

….Gaining leverage in a negotiation is one aspect that leads to winning a negotiation. The questions some negotiators ask are: How do I gain leverage in a negotiation? What’s the value of it? How do I use it once I have it? Here are ways to gain and use leverage in a negotiation….

Using Your Contract Survey to Maximum Effect

Source: Jason Ide, Labor Notes, December 1, 2016

For a union bargaining team, a contract survey can be one of your most useful tools. But like any tool, it works best for certain jobs, and there are things that it just can’t do.

Contrary to what you might think, contract surveys are not the place to start finding out the core issues motivating your membership.

If you don’t know what the membership wants, you won’t know to ask a question about it. For example, if your union represents hospital workers and you don’t know that there have been attacks on guards at night, you won’t know to ask a question about safety and staffing. …..

Buffalo Hospital Workers Get Their Money and Staffing Back

Source: Patrick Weisansal and Ann Converso, Labor Notes, November 29, 2016

After giving something up in a previous contract, is it possible to win it back? It took a massive effort, but hospital workers in Buffalo proved it can be done.

Catholic Health is one of the two local hospital chains that dominate western New York. Communications Workers (CWA) Locals 1133 and 1168 represent 6,900 of its employees in six bargaining units.

Four years ago, Catholic Health cried poverty at the bargaining table. Threatened with layoffs, our unions reluctantly agreed to eliminate daily overtime (after eight or 12 hours, depending on the job—of particular importance to part-timers), cost-of-living increases, bonus pay for nurses who came in on short notice, and seniority-based wage scales. ….

Collective Bargaining Database

Source: Labor Project for Working Families, 2016

The Labor Project has updated their collective bargaining database with over 1,100 pieces of work and family language. Here’s the link for the new database and examples of model language for Paid Sick Days.

Contents include:
Assistance Services and Training Related Issues
Child Care
Definition of Family
Dependent Care
Elder Care
Fair Schedules and Flexible Work Options
Family Sick and Other Leave

When Your Boss Is Just Going through the Motions

Source: David Cohen, Labor Notes, September 8, 2016

Has your union ever faced an employer that treated bargaining as a sham?

Such employers have no interest in reaching a compromise; they’re intent on forcing concessions or breaking the union. Often they never move off their concessionary proposals. Finally they declare impasse and implement their “last, best, and final offer.”

Winning against an employer like this requires a multi-pronged strategy. Members will need to gather public support and wage a fight that affects the employer’s production or services.

But in this article, we’ll cover another element of a winning strategy: offensive bargaining……

How to Take the Initiative in Health Care Bargaining

Source: Peter Knowlton, Labor Notes, July 12, 2016

….We know that the universal health care everyone deserves won’t be won in a single shop—but we’re laying the groundwork to set our sights higher in future fights that can bring workers together across a whole chain or geographic area.

We believe health care is a human right. We make that real with basic principles for what we propose:
– The employer can’t make unilateral changes to the plan design, providers, or amounts that workers pay.
– Any employee administration of health insurance must be done during work hours.
– Members have their choice of medical providers.
– There should be no forms to fill out. Plan documents should be easy to follow.
– Cost increases must not be shifted from the employer to workers.
– Eligibility for health insurance cannot depend on immigration status or employment status (such as job title, work hours, or wage rate).

We may not get all these principles, but they’re solid goals to shoot for. Attaining them eases workers’ financial and emotional stress. Members don’t have to worry so much about their own and their families’ health needs. Aren’t those pretty basic things to ask?

In the last few years, we’ve begun to add another principle:
– Employee paycheck deductions should be based on percentage of income, not percentage of premium…..

…..Steps to Mount a Health Care Fight
– Educate and involve members.
– Make comprehensive information requests. Find out exactly what the employer is paying to the health insurance company. If they’re trying to change your insurance, you will need lots of information.
– Ally with groups supporting single payer.
– Publicly blow the whistle on bosses trying to gut coverage.
– Target insurers and the legislature. Have the negotiating committee go visit the insurance company. Demand to meet with the CEO about how the proposed gigantic premium increases will affect your members. Go to the legislature and the governor, too—and let the media know about it. You could get some great publicity.
– Challenge employers to sign on to single payer…..

Collective bargaining language on domestic violence, discrimination, disabilities, and LGBTTI rights

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), 2015

Domestic violence and the workplace: A bargaining guide
September 29, 2015

Discrimination: A checklist and sample collective agreement language
October 19, 2015

Duty to accommodate: A checklist for collective agreement language
October 19, 2015

Bargaining LGBTTI rights: A checklist for collective agreement language
October 19, 2015