Overview of the Collective Bargaining Workshop


The purpose of this workshop is to improve student understanding of the American collective bargaining system. Decisions reached at the bargaining table will impact the employee, the company and the community. The outcome of the negotiations can affect pay, benefits, and working conditions for the employee, however the company may incur increase cost for benefits, new technology and improvements in the workplace. The community could marvel at the growth of the company and the new disposable income of its employees, or the community could endure the pain of a bad relationship between the two parties with the loss of jobs, pay and benefits. The Collective bargaining workshop brings a whole new perspective about the future to the student.

Instead of trying to explain how collective bargaining works by means of formal lectures, we will involve each of the participants in a series of simulated bargaining sessions; where each bargaining team, with the help of an advisor (provided by the LMC) will attempt to reach a settlement in the face of an impending contract deadline. Thus, each participant will have an opportunity to be involved in the “give and take” of a mock bargaining session.

The collective bargaining workshop is based on a hypothetical union contract. The ground rules will be explained by the advisors, and the students will also receive a glossary of contractual verbiage. Regardless of which “side” you are on, the important thing is to play your role effectively, as if you actually had an economic stake in the outcome of negotiations between the union, company, and the community.

Participation in the collective bargaining workshop will challenge the students understanding of labor relations and they will learn how decisions are influenced by emotional, technical and economic factors. Students will also learn the value of communication skills such as verbal and non-verbal techniques; problem solving, collaboration, innovativeness, and compromise are a few of the essential skills needed to become an effective negotiator.

The workshop takes about 4 hours; we can split the workshop in half or do one-hour increments to meet your needs. The LMC will supply the advisors and the materials for the exercise. The best-sized group is 4-6 on each team.

The Collective Bargaining Workshop helps the student with investigative, debate, and financial skills which will help them with real life situations, such as, car and house buying, understanding personnel policies, and communicating with others.

CBW HHS 2014