Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

Emotion and the Art of Negotiation

Source: Alison Wood Brooks, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 93 no. 12, December 2015

How to use your feelings to your advantage. ….

….Over the past decade, however, researchers have begun examining how specific emotions—anger, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, envy, excitement, and regret—can affect the behavior of negotiators. They’ve studied the differences between what happens when people simply feel these emotions and what happens when they also express them to the other party through words or actions. In negotiations that are less transactional and involve parties in long-term relationships, understanding the role of emotions is even more important than it is in transactional deal making.

This new branch of research is proving extremely useful. We all have the ability to regulate how we experience emotions, and specific strategies can help us improve tremendously in that regard. We also have some control over the extent to which we express our feelings—and again, there are specific ways to cloak (or emphasize) an expression of emotion when doing so may be advantageous. For instance, research shows that feeling or looking anxious results in suboptimal negotiation outcomes. So individuals who are prone to anxiety when brokering a deal can take certain steps both to limit their nervousness and to make it less obvious to their negotiation opponent. The same is true for other emotions.

In the pages that follow, I discuss—and share coping strategies for—many of the emotions people typically feel over the course of a negotiation. Anxiety is most likely to crop up before the process begins or during its early stages. We’re prone to experience anger or excitement in the heat of the discussions. And we’re most likely to feel disappointment, sadness, or regret in the aftermath…..

Widening the Scope of Worker Organizing: Legal Reforms to Facilitate Multi-Employer Organizing, Bargaining, and Striking

Source: Roosevelt Institute, October 7, 2015

From the summary:
For legal, social, and economic reasons, it is difficult for worker organizations to organize, bargain, and strike across entire contractual supply-chains, networks, industries, occupations, or regions.

This paper proposes four large-scale reforms to diminish these difficulties and actively facilitate organizing and striking across multiple employers:

First, an entity should be deemed an “indirect” employer of multiple “direct” employers’ workforces if it has “sufficient bargaining power” to determine the standards of all the employees in question, even if the entity is not currently exercising such power. By organizing and bargaining with that single entity, a worker organization would effectively organize and bargain with what is currently deemed a multi- employer association.

Second, the law should authorize worker organizations to unilaterally choose multi-employer units. And, if a government agency is called upon to select among differing units chosen by different worker organizations, the agency should define units based on the criterion of “maximum potential worker empowerment.”

Third, legal reform should authorize bargaining units that are defined not only by employer boundaries but also by such categories as geographic region, production-and-distribution network, occupation, or industry.

Fourth, bargaining rights or the substantive terms of collective agreements should extend across multiple employers even if only a minority of unit workers have affirmatively shown their support for the organization.

Each of these reforms would require large-scale legislative transformation and zealous enforcement that are only imaginable in the event of deep progressive renewal in our politics. The four reforms could be enacted separately but would, if concurrently implemented, be mutually reinforcing.

Tackling Workplace Segregation Through Collective Bargaining: The Case of UNITE-HERE and the Hotel Industry

Source: Dorian Warren and Virginia Parks, Roosevelt Institute, October 7, 2015

From the summary:
More than 50 years since passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, the little progress we have made as a country in ending job segregation by race and gender has stalled. As women and people of color make up a growing majority of America’s workforce, we must find new and innovative solutions to ending workplace segregation and promoting equal opportunity for all. This case study of UNITE-HERE’s work in the hotel industry demonstrates one effective solution in light of the inadequacy of the Civil Rights Act: collective bargaining.

We identify direct ways in which UNITE-HERE, through the collective bargaining process, influenced the racial and ethnic division of labor beyond network recruitment among individual members. We show how outside of apprenticeship programs, unions may directly influence racial, ethnic, and gender representation by legislating hiring practices through specific contract language, such as mandating diversity commitments from employers, implementing stronger nondiscrimination practices, and requiring direct outreach to underrepresented applicants.

Opportunistic Proposals by Union Shareholders

Source: John G. Matsusaka, Oguzhan Ozbas, Irene Yi, University of Southern California, CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS15-25, October 8, 2015

From the abstract:
Effective corporate governance requires mechanisms that allow shareholders to influence corporate decisions. This paper investigates the use of shareholder proposals, an increasingly prominent governance mechanism, by labor unions. Activist union pension funds are subject to cross-pressures: they wish to increase fund returns to help beneficiaries but also to aid current union workers. We show theoretically that shareholder proposals can be used as bargaining chips in contract negotiations. Empirically, we use variation in the expiration of collective bargaining agreements to identify exogenous changes in the value of making proposals. We find that during contract negotiation years, unions increase the number of proposals they make by about one-quarter (and by about two-thirds during contentious negotiations), and change the subject of proposals to focus on matters personally costly to managers. We do not find similar changes in proposal behavior by nonunion shareholders. Opportunistic union proposals are also associated with better wage agreements for the union. The evidence suggests that some union proposals are intended to influence collective bargaining outcomes rather than maximize shareholder value, and that increasing proposal rights will not necessarily help shareholders at large if some shareholders use those rights to advance their private interests.

Domestic violence and the workplace: A bargaining guide

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

From the summary:
Domestic violence reaches into the workplace, with serious consequences.

Domestic violence is any form of violence between intimate partners. The violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse, including financial control, stalking and harassment.

This document is for local union officers, bargaining committee members and other activists who want to prevent domestic violence at work and support members who face domestic violence.

It covers:
The definition of domestic violence and how it’s a workplace issue.
How the union can negotiate protections regarding domestic violence related to the workplace.
Examples of collective agreement language.
A checklist for workplace policy and collective agreement language.

Collective Bargaining 3.0

Source: Erica Smiley, Dissent, Vol. 62 no. 4, Fall 2015
(subscription required)

The first lesson network leaders learn in the Jobs With Justice training is never give your power away. While easier said in a workshop than in the North Carolina General Assembly, it does compel us to remember how change happens. While we need labor law reform, we should not wait for it to build a movement to expand the scale and scope of collective bargaining. Early industrial unions were bargaining long before the Wagner Act codified the practice, leveraging their ability to halt production when necessary. Only through exercising their power, and even breaking some rules, were they able to win the legal protections to back up workers’ ability to bargain equally with employers. ….

… In a recent article for the American Prospect, Lane Windham of Penn State University adds, “in depending on unions to do the negotiating for a social wage, the U.S. had inadvertently given employers in the U.S. a higher incentive than employers in other nations to fight union organizing.”

And fight they have! The corporate class attacked the very power that makes workers equal at the bargaining table—regardless of whether they are attacking a union or a worker center. The Taft-Hartley Act was the first well-known blow, prohibiting jurisdictional strikes, wildcat strikes, solidarity or political strikes, secondary boycotts, secondary and mass picketing, and more. States could pass right-to-work laws, gutting union membership first in the South, and later throughout the country. Riding this legacy, Scott Walker and the Koch Brothers would have us believe collective bargaining is in its final death throes.

In its current form, it may be…..

Collective Bargaining In 2015–2016 – Analysis and Lists

Source: AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research, September 2015

From the press release:
Working people are achieving significant victories through the most expansive period of collective bargaining in modern labor history, according to a new report by the AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research. …

The AFL-CIO report represents the most comprehensive look at the current state of collective bargaining in a period when an estimated 5 million American workers will bargain for new contracts.

According to the report, working people who bargained for new contracts in the first half of 2015 saw their wages increase by an average of 4.3%, an increase of $1,147 a year for an average wage earner in the United States. These increases are up from 2.9% in the first half of 2014, with substantial wage wins occurring in sectors from nursing and oil to airline pilots and teachers.

Other notable statistics from the report include:
– Among private sector workers: grocery stores, health care, rail transportation, telecom, and auto manufacturing combined account for 31% of workers covered by newly bargained contracts.
– The contracts in the top eight industries include workers from 22 AFL-CIO affiliated unions.
– A combined 2.4 million union members will bargain for new contracts in the top eight industries negotiating contracts.

After Tackett: Incomplete Contracts for Post-Employment Healthcare

Source: Maria O’Brien Hylton, Boston University School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 15-30, August 4, 2015

From the abstract:
This paper examines the recent U.S. Supreme Court retiree health care decision in Tackett v. M & G Polymers and focuses, in particular, on the ostensibly odd silence with respect to a critical contract term — whether the parties in fact agreed that these benefits were vested. Although the union in Tackett insisted these welfare benefits were clearly intended to vest and the employer now asserts they can be modified at any time, the collective bargaining agreement and supporting documents are ambiguous on this question. This paper examines how and why this “silence” persisted for so many decades and concludes that, at least for a while, conscious ambiguity was maintained because it was in the best interests of both parties. Only when the cost of providing the benefits became unbearable did the employer finally take advantage of the long standing silence and assert its right to modify the retiree health plan. Tackett sidelines the Sixth Circuit’s well known decision in Yard-Man as the Court insists upon the importance of applying traditional contract principles in these cases. This paper concludes that even without the favorable inference Yard-Man supplied, it is still possible (although not guaranteed) that the plaintiffs will meet their burden of proof on remand and hold onto their health benefits in retirement.

Become a Master Negotiator: Key strategies for emerging victorious

Source: Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, PM Magazine, Vol. 97 no. 7, August 2015
(subscription required)

To help individuals maximize their bargaining prowess at work and in life, here are seven strategies for emerging victorious in any negotiation:
1. Project confidence through preparedness. …
2. Understand that everything is negotiable. …
3. Create a strong foundation by building relationships first. …
4. Ask for what you want. …
5. Use the power of silence. …
6. Document everything. …
7. Understand exactly what you are signing. …