Organizational Activities Getting Ready <ul><li>Collective </li></ul><ul><li>Bargaining </li></ul>
Bargaining Committee <ul><li>Responsibilities of Committee </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identify contract weakness </li></ul>...
Committee Selection (Union) <ul><li>Selection method determined by union bylaws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Election or appointm...
Individual Characteristics <ul><li>Good Leadership Characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excellent communication skills </...
Committee Composition <ul><li>Committee Size </li></ul><ul><li>Committee Chairperson </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Spokesperson ...
Interunion and Community Activities <ul><li>Negotiation outcomes may impact bargaining elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>Regular...
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Bargaining Committee Selection and Characteristics


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This lecture presents bargaining committee characteristics and responsibilities. It is lecture 2 in a series of 14 lectures of the 3 unit course LS-2 Collective Bargaining offered at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.

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  • This lesson plans discussion will highlight the early stages of preparing for collective bargaining. In addition to the discussion about planning organizational activities, a number of other topics and information is included in this lesson plan. This will be an opportunity for students to earn extra credit by doing a simple research of a collective bargaining agreement. Be sure to download the appropriate contract for this practice assignment. In the last lesson plan specific sections of the national labor relations act was provided for your review and consideration. This week I have highlighted provisions of the educational employment relations act. Specifically, sections 3543 through 3543.8 are to be reviewed. The EERA is the law that governs collective bargaining for public school employees in California. Next week the Meyers-Milias Brown Act (MMBA) will be highlighted. This law governs city, County, and similar public employees .Please complete your reading of the negotiation preparation overview document, pages 8–20. This week&apos;s lecture as previously stated will review the bargaining committee selection process, the duties and responsibilities of the committee, and community activities. Also contained in this lesson plan is a discussion in the forum about the repeal of collective bargaining in the state of Wisconsin. This is a extra credit forum but students are encouraged to actively participate. Considerations for this lesson include a satirical short video about what unions have done for the workers, and another similar video that lampoons a management caucus. Remember considerations are simply a means of giving the students an opportunity to consider the information that is presented. The collective bargaining case study will continue a discussion about the UPS and Teamsters negotiations in 1997. Now we&apos;ll move on to our main discussion about organizational activities in the early stages of collective bargaining preparation.
  • In the last lesson plan we talked briefly about some of the characteristics of a bargaining committee. In this lesson were going to talk a little more specifically about the responsibilities of the bargaining committee. Now, what are those responsibilities. The bargaining committee is the representative body in the collective bargaining process. These are the individuals that have been placed with a significant charge and responsibility to represent the interests of the bargaining unit. The bargaining unit of course are the individuals that make up the collective of the persons represented by the union. Just like in our democracy we elect representatives to represent our interests in government. The bargaining committee may be appointed or elected, depending on what the bylaws of the union state. Nevertheless, these individuals are the representatives who will be our spokespersons at the bargaining table or the conference table, both have the same meaning. The committee may be preparing to negotiate the 1 st contract since winning a union election or the bargaining committee may be renegotiating a contract that was previously negotiated and will now expire. Some of the key responsibilities of the bargaining committee is to research the existing contract for weaknesses. This was discussed in the last lesson. Since the union is a Democratic body or collective, if you will. The committee will examine the needs of the members of the bargaining unit. This is done through meetings with the membership, and the officers of the union. Routinely the needs of the membership are determined through written surveys and one on one meetings. Once the surveys and meetings have taken place then the committee will have the responsibility of digesting the information. Ideally, the committee will look for items or responses that are similar. For instance if there is a specific work related or generally related working condition problem that seems to show as a theme in the survey responses that may likely become a matter that will be converted to a specific proposal in the contract negotiations. As stated in the previous lesson, concerning vital interest, wages and benefits are assuredly a topic that will be negotiated. Questions about wages and benefits will be answered in the surveys as well. The findings of the survey’s will be collected, evaluated and analyzed. The bargaining committee will then convert these findings into specific proposals intended to provide solutions as well as fulfilling the interests of the bargaining unit itself. The committee will establish priorities. These priorities can be determined through appropriate surveys. If surveys are done correctly and have a way of numerically gauging the proposals then the bargaining committee can quantify these ratings and provide them rankings. Students will have an opportunity to practice this in an upcoming assignment. Prioritization of proposals is extremely important in the collective bargaining process. Having priorities based on the needs of the membership will provide the bargaining committee with focus. The committee will also develop arguments, or persuasion points to support the proposal. It is essential that each proposal be supported with a logical argument. I emphasize logical. Logical information may be presented in the form of data, facts, or other relevant information that would lead the other party to understand the proposal. Proposals that bring forth significant change rarely, if ever, are agreed to by a party if the information that is presented is not factual and logical. Attempts to persuade the other party to agree to a proposal is rarely successful when the proposal is supported strictly on emotion and passion. Either party may be passionate about their proposals but the passion must be backed up with a logical and persuasive argument. The bargaining committee in its preparation to prepare its arguments to support proposals must also be prepared to anticipate what objections are likely to occur when the proposals are presented at the bargaining table. Bargaining is a lot like the game of chess in that you must anticipate the other parties likely move or moves. The same is true in collective bargaining. You must anticipate the other parties likely response and counter arguments. In anticipation of these counter remarks the committee then must be prepared to respond with additional persuasive arguments and or counterproposals. Finally, the bargaining committee responsibility includes collecting financial information or data about finances. If a party is proposing a wage increase in the form of a percentage the bargaining committee has a responsibility to determine the actual cost to the extent possible all of the proposal. If the bargaining committee is proposing an additional holiday, how much in lost labor will that translate into financial. If for instance, there is a proposal to to improve a night shift differential, How much does that cost. For all intents and purposes from the point of management every proposal to some degree, presented by the union, has a financial cost. In order to be prepared to discuss matters that have cost then the price tag should be determined before you get to the bargaining table.
  • Each party, union and management, will be represented at the bargaining table by a committee. I am not aware in my own experience where there has not been at least 2 people present as management representatives and 3 to 5 present as union committee representatives. Management will typically be represented at the bargaining table by a senior official of the company or corporation along with other department heads and will often have a spokesperson who is an attorney. The unions committee may be determined in accordance with the union bylaws. depending on the specifics of the union bylaws, the committee may be elected or appointed. In the next lesson plan I will do some research and attempt to post an example of a union by law that discusses the bargaining committee selection. Ideally, the general composition should include representatives who know the needs of the membership. It should include representatives who understand the workplace problems. It should include representatives who possess bargaining skills and experience. Now let me discuss each one these points a little further. while the selection of the bargaining committee is dependent on the election or appointment it is still important that the composition of the bargaining committee be strongly representative of the unit it represents. As a negotiator I always found it an incredible asset to have people sitting next to me who had the interests of the membership in mind. Now what I mean by that is occasionally I would find that individuals serving on a bargaining committee had their own interests in mind more than those that they were either elected or appointed to represent. While it may be human nature to attach oneself to a particular issue at the bargaining table on a personal level it is essential that the representative detach themselves from that personal bias and think more objectively on behalf of the bargaining unit as a whole. Knowing the needs of the membership is critical at the bargaining table. Why? It is because the bargaining process is a dynamic process with a constant presentation of facts and information. If a bargaining representative has that knowledge because they know the membership they understand the workplace problems than they serve as a valuable resource to the bargaining committee spokesperson as well as the bargaining committee at the table. It is a routine procedure at the bargaining table to present hypothetical situations. If the representatives at the bargaining table know the needs of the membership and understand the workplace problems than they are better equipped to answer those hypotheticals or to provide hypotheticals. So having a composition of the bargaining team that has a knowledge of the membership and understands the workplace problems will translate into a much more effective and likely better outcome of collective bargaining. Inexperience and a lack of knowledge at the bargaining table is a liability that will translate into difficulty when negotiating. each member of the bargaining committee may have differing levels of skills and experience as a relates to collective bargaining. It is important that a bargaining committee be balanced in its skills and experience. A person new to the bargaining process may not possess the bargaining skills and experience because they have non. But what that inexperienced individual brings to the table is a fresh perspective. It’s best that a bargaining committee not be wholly made up of inexperienced bargainers but it is important to bring the inexperienced in the process so they can gain that experience. The last thing that I ever wanted at a bargaining table was a complete team of rookies. I wanted balance that included the inexperienced the somewhat experienced and the very experienced. That would be and is my ideal of a collective bargaining team.
  • Each bargaining representative should bring good leadership characteristics to the collective bargaining process. It is best that each individual have excellent communication skills. This is because individuals that make up the bargaining committee will be called upon to articulate their ideas, their points of view, and their arguments. A representative needs to be passionate but yet able to control their emotions so as to sustain effective communication skills. The committee representative must be resourceful. Meaning they have a job to do and they are expected to do it. Other members of the committee should not have to worry about the dependability and resourcefulness of their fellow committee members. If the if the committee representative has a task to perform which could include interviewing members investigating facts, preparing an argument, preparing a report, then that committee member must be resourceful. I interpret this to also mean that they are trustworthy as it relates to day doing their job. After all if you are elected or appointed to serve on a committee and you accept that responsibility then you are a resource for the bargaining unit and therefore should possess resourcefulness. the ability to delegate is a very important characteristic of a representative on the bargaining committee. There is a lot of work to be done in preparing for the collective bargaining process and engaging in collective bargaining. The chair of the committee, and routinely there is a chairperson of the bargaining committee will benefit themselves by having a willingness and exercising that willingness to delegate duties and responsibilities. The more duties and responsibilities that are delegated to the members of the team, and I should say each member of a team the more likely that team member will be engaged in the process. A bargaining team does not benefit by having a member of the committee who simply shows up for the days of collective bargaining meetings. An essential member of the bargaining committee will have completed assignments and most likely this was because those assignments were delegated to them. So it is important that particularly the chairperson be willing to delegate tasks. The committee individuals may also delegate tasks to the membership in which it represents. There there is always a lot of work that can be done for preparing for and participating in collective bargaining so willingness to delegate is a very important characteristic. In basketball they call the person who always wants to hold on to the ball hog and not a team player. Just like basketball or for that matter any team sport or team activity it takes a team and it’s important that the individuals on that team recognize that and are not trying to control the whole situation themselves. lastly an individual should possess the ability to make decisions and then exercise that ability by making decisions. I have also had the experience of sitting on a bargaining team or representing a bargaining unit where committee members didn’t want to make an independent decision they wanted others to make the decision. Put simply is if they don’t make the decision then they believe that they are not responsible for the decision that was made. I do not subscribe to that transference and believe that a nondecision is in fact a decision but often a nondecision will translate into a ineffective outcome. Therefore it is important that the individual make decisions not just possess the ability to make decisions but make decisions. They being at the bargaining table is not an easy job I recognize that. But the bargaining member of the team must make decisions critical critical point.
  • committee size will be determined by the bylaws of the union. The size of the committee can be very small to very large depending again on the bylaws of the union. For instance, I just read an article about a contract settlement for a bakers union up in the Pacific Northwest. This union represented a group of 750 bargaining unit members represented by 6 to 7 different locals. The committee was made up of one representative from each local. So here you had 6 or 7 individuals in the same amount of locals representing 750 people. While I did not know the specific bylaws that are applied in this instance I’m confident that the representation by these individuals was governed by their respective bylaws. If you’ve ever seen photographs or videos of the negotiations that occur between General Motors and the United auto workers you will see that there are tens of purse tens of people sitting at the table on each side and then there are resource individuals aligning the walls behind each side. They use a huge conference room for bargaining. Actually it looks more like a quarter of a convention hall. 2 other roles that may be shared or separated is a committee chairperson and the chief spokesperson. Sometimes the committee chairperson and the spokesperson act in the same role. A committee chairperson is typically the person who is responsible for administrating the affairs related to the collective bargaining process. This is the team leader. This is the person who delegates. Committee chairperson is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. The committee chairperson does carry a larger burden typically in the process. The chief spokesperson is the articulate or of the proposals and the facts at the bargaining table. Often the chief spokesperson is a professional representative or a legal counsel. This person usually has vast experience at serving as a spokesperson at the bargaining table. the secretary of a bargaining committee is the person placed in charge of maintaining a written record of the negotiations. In other words they are keeping a summary of the dialogue that occurs in the bargaining. The secretary is not serving in the capacity like a court reporter. This is not a process that requires transcriptions. But it is very important to have a written record of the discussion that occurs between the parties. For instance when a proposal is presented it is explained. The intent of the language and how it would be applied is articulated by the chief spokesperson, and other members of the committee. It’s important to have a record of these presentations. Now you ask why is that important? It is because when the contract is signed and the ink is dry on the signature lines then it is time to apply the terms of the contract. Unfortunately the terms of the contract are often misinterpreted, misapplied, or violated. When the parties have a dispute over the application of the contract language the best place to look for the intent of the language and how the language would be or could be applied, is in the minutes that were recorded by the secretary. More this reason just by itself gives justification to the importance of having a committee secretary. as I mentioned earlier legal counsel may also serve on the bargaining committee and often will serve in the role of the committee’s spokesperson. Having legal counsel at the bargaining table is more common among employers then it is unions. Unions rely more heavily on trained, skilled, and experienced professional representatives to serve as its spokesperson at the bargaining table.
  • I talked about the characteristics of the bargaining committee, the role and responsibility of the committee, and the composition of a bargaining committee. In preparing for collective bargaining it is best that a relationship has already been established with other unions and community organizations. If these relationships have not been established then it is important that the bargaining committee and the union establish relationships as soon as possible. Its important to keep contact with other unions because the outcome of collective bargaining with one employer is likely to impact the negotiations in the same industry with a different employer. By keeping other unions informed informed it may help in efforts to accomplish the desired outcomes because the other union may be able to support another union’s efforts. It is very difficult the support a negotiations where there is a lack of knowledge about the issues and status of bargaining. The need to interact with the community has grown exponentially over the last several years because of the constant attacks that the mainstream media makes against labor. There is a constant barrage of information that questions the intent, purpose, integrity and relevancy of labor unions. To offset the inroads that the media has made in questioning the importance and relevance of labor unions, relationships with community organizations, religious organizations, civic organizations, and fraternal groups has become even more essential. It is difficult, if not impossible, to solicit and gain the support of community organizations if the makeup of these organizations consist of individuals who have a false and misunderstood belief about unions and collective bargaining. By working more closely and developing relationships with individuals that are associated with religious, civic and fraternal groups a union is more likely to be better understood and supported. Other ways that the union may become more active in the community is by becoming more involved in local government boards, councils and committees. If you’ll notice in the newspaper their our regular public notices requesting volunteers to serve on various boards and committees. This serves as an opportunity for union members to become more involved in the political side of life and become acquainted with elected officials who may have impact on collective bargaining.
  • Bargaining Committee Selection and Characteristics

    1. 1. Organizational Activities Getting Ready <ul><li>Collective </li></ul><ul><li>Bargaining </li></ul>
    2. 2. Bargaining Committee <ul><li>Responsibilities of Committee </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identify contract weakness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Convert findings into specific proposals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Establish priorities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop arguments to support proposals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipate proposals objections and formulate responses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collect financial information </li></ul></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Committee Selection (Union) <ul><li>Selection method determined by union bylaws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Election or appointment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General Composition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know the needs of membership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand workplace problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possess bargaining skills and experience </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Individual Characteristics <ul><li>Good Leadership Characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excellent communication skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resourcefulness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willingness to delegate tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to make decisions </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Committee Composition <ul><li>Committee Size </li></ul><ul><li>Committee Chairperson </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Spokesperson </li></ul><ul><li>Secretary </li></ul><ul><li>Legal Counsel (optional) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Interunion and Community Activities <ul><li>Negotiation outcomes may impact bargaining elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>Regular contact with other unions is essential </li></ul><ul><li>Contact through Labor Councils and Coalitions </li></ul><ul><li>Attending other union meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Publish news in Labor Periodicals and Newspapers </li></ul><ul><li>Work with religious, civic and fraternal groups </li></ul><ul><li>Service on local government boards, councils, committees </li></ul><ul><li>. </li></ul>