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Chapter 4 - PREPARATION FOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING Learning...

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PREPARATION FOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING Learning Objectives *Period between recognition of an exclusive representative and negotiation of a first contract *Importance of proper preparation to success at the bargaining table *Various elements involved in the review, phase of preparation for collective bargaining *Collection of information essential to the formulation of proposals and counterproposals *Assigning priorities to bargaining proposals *Critical elements of team and spokesperson selection and preparation *Importance of role playing and strategy sessions to proper preparation for collective bargaining *Use and importance of prebargaining sessions *Ground rules and their importance in the collective bargaining process and its outcomes INTRODUCTION One of the approaches used in gathering material for this chapter was to review academic literature on collective bargaining and numerous course syllabi on this subject. We discovered a dearth of information on labor-management behavior during the interim between recognition of a union and commencement of negotiations for a first contract.' Thus, to avoid relegating this important area of labor relations education to on-the-job training, our goal in this chapter is to provide insight into this interim period. 'A noteworthy exception is William N. Cooke, Union Organizing and Public Pohcy.- Failure to Secure First Contracts (Kalamazoo, Michigan: The Upjohn Institute, 1985). The remainder of the chapter is devoted to identifying and describing phases that we believe are integral to proper preparation for collective bargaining. Experienced practitioners acknowledge that preparation is the most critical aspect of negotiations. Moreover, it has a significant impact on the outcome whether or not a settlement is achieved at the bargaining table. In view of the complexity and diversity of issues covered by a contract and the impact of external law, preparation is a time-consuming task. It is also an activity that must be performed with considerable skill and care to achieve the desired results at the bargaining table and to ensure that contract terms translate into a workable day-to-day relationship between the parties. To facilitate our understanding of preparation for negotiations, the discussion has been divided into six phases: 1. First contract phase 2. Review phase 3. Activity phase 4. Selection phase 5. Training phase 6. Prebargaining phase
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In reality, these phases may or may not evolve sequentially or may occur in combination depending on various factors. Some of these factors are maturity of the labor-management relationship, composition and characteristics of bargaining teams, and internal and external pressures and possibilities affecting one or both parties. The phases described here are generally applicable to the negotiation of any collective bargaining agreement. It should be noted, however, that significant differences exist among the private, public, and federal sectors with regard to such matters as the
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