MAKING COOPERATIVE NEGOTIATIONS WORK

by

Timothy D. W. Williams


1. INTRODUCTION

         Since the early 1980s there has been an explosion of interest in cooperative labor relations. In part this interest was sparked by the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1982 the department created the Division of Cooperative Labor-Management Programs, whose mission is to "encourage and assist employers and unions to undertake joint efforts to improve productivity and enhance the quality of work life" (U.S. Department of Labor, 1985). The subsequent growth in cooperative programs has reached into both the public and private sectors.

         There are prominent examples of cooperative ventures at the federal, state and local levels (Wells, 1987; Stepp and Bonner, 1987; Labor Relations Today, 1986)[1]. The steel industry (Trepanier and Francis, 1987), auto industry (Johnson, 1988) and the construction industry (Martin, 1987) lead the list in the effort to promote a cooperative environment in private sector industries.

        Helping to fuel interest and providing energy toward developing cooperative approaches to labor relations have been a number of popular new books on the subject of negotiations (Jandt and Gillette, 1985; McCarthy, 1984; Warschaw, 1980). Almost without exception, these books pledge allegiance to a creative, collaborative, problem-solving approach to conflict resolution[2]. At the head of this group is a longtime best seller, Getting to Yes (Fisher and Ury, 1981). While Getting to Yes focuses on generic negotiations, the concept and tactics presented have frequently been applied to labor negotiations. Many of these applications attempt to use the book as a recipe for negotiating the labor contract. These efforts have met with mixed results: good and bad.

        The purpose of this paper is to examine why a cooperative approach to labor negotiations works in some cases and fails in others. The substance of this article is drawn from both a traditional academic investigation of the subject matter and from direct experience. The author has more than 30 years of experience in academia-conducting research and teaching graduate level courses in public sector collective bargaining, negotiations, and conflict management. Experientially, the material for the article is drawn from the author's work as an arbitrator, fact-finder, and mediator of interest and grievance disputes. The conclusions of the article are not the result of any specific scientific research project, but rather are presented as the author's point of view.

        The thesis of this paper is that the process of collaborative, problem-solving, getting-to-yes negotiations is often misunderstood and misused. When that happens, the process fails. The paper focuses on four key factors in making cooperative labor relations work: 1) measuring the success of cooperative labor negotiations/relations, 2) accepting the process for what it is and not forcing it to be what it is not, 3) avoiding the traps and dilemmas of the process, and 4) applying the process correctly.


II. MEASURING THE SUCCESS OF COOPERATION

       Oregon public sector collective bargaining demonstrates that traditional styles of negotiating have worked. Hundreds of agreements are negotiated each year among teachers, police officers, firefighters and other state, county, city and special district employees. Most of these agreements are reached through a competitive negotiation process. Yet, only a few negotiations go to strike or its corollary, interest arbitration, each year. While there is no record kept of the number of contracts successfully negotiated without resorting to mediation, the Oregon Employment Relations Board maintains records of disposition of cases which are sent to mediation (Table 1 below). Obviously not all negotiations resulted in mediation. One can only speculate as to what percentage of total contract negotiations were resolved without resorting to mediation.


TABLE 1

DISPOSITION OF NEGOTIATION CASES SUBMITTED FOR

MEDIATION

January, 1974 to December, 1988

                                                                                                    Number         Percentage

Total contract negotiation mediation                                        3,047

cases (an average of 203 negotiations per year)

 

Settled in mediation, prior to                                                      2,325                    76%

factfinding or interest arbitration hearing

 

Settled on factfinder's recommendations                                   98                         3%

 

Settled post-factfinding mediation                                              466                     15%

 Interest arbitration awards issued for                                        151                       5%

protective service/non-strikeable units

 Strikes                                                                                           17                        1%

 Strikes and Interest Arbitration                                                    178                     6%


          Table 1 data clearly demonstrates that traditional, competitive collective bargaining has been, by a large measure, successful in the state of Oregon .  In fact, the year prior to the 1973 enactment of the Oregon Public Employment Collective Bargaining Act (PFCBA) saw four and perhaps five strikes in the state (Gallagher, 1983; Widenor, 1989).  That number has not been equaled since collective bargaining became a right for public employees.  Specifically, the data in Table I indicates that there have been 1.8 strikes and 10 interest arbitrations per year on average since January of 1974.

         If traditional collective bargaining has been so successful; why then, the current high interest in Oregon and elsewhere in cooperative labor negotiations?  There are three important reasons.

First:    Traditional, competitive negotiations can be a costly process.  Hired negotiators, legal fees, factfinders, and release time for negotiators all add to the cost of negotiations. While cooperative negotiations also cost there is a strong belief among some in the labor relations community that overall the cooperative approach will produce a settlement where both the process and product are less costly.

Second:  There is a nationwide concern about employee productivity.  Whether fueled by the need to compete in international markets or driven by the desire to improve the quality of education or other public services, the bottom line is that we all need to produce at a higher level. Cooperative labor relations are seen as a more effective vehicle towards this end.

Third:   Unions by and large support the process because cooperative labor relations legitimize the role of the labor union in the organization.  Under the competitive model unions often negotiate not only the substantive issues but also for respect.  The cooperative approach brings with it a positive view of the function of both parties (management and labor).

The measure, then, of the success of cooperative approaches to labor relations and labor negotiations is the extent to which the parties are getting better settlements at less cost, whether those settlements are making it easier for the organization to be more productive and whether the relationship between the Union and management has strengthened. If cooperative labor relations are not producing these results, then serious questions need to be raised about why the parties are enacting the process.


III. ACCEPTING THE PROCESS FOR WHAT IT IS

While the cooperative approach to negotiations has much to offer, unfortunately, it has often been oversold. As with any other product, the purchaser often becomes dissatisfied and disillusioned when the item fails to live up to the pre-purchase hype. The simple truth is that the cooperative approach to negotiations will not be effective in every situation.  Yet this truth is often obscured or rejected by the proponents of the process.  The tendency to overlook weaknesses in the cooperative approach at times leads to unusual and contradictory positions.  Most often the problem is a matter of how the proponents focus on the interests of the parties involved in a dispute-labor or otherwise.  In the cooperative approach the disputants are expected to work for joint interests and any efforts to advance self-interest at the expense of the other is viewed as non‑cooperative and competitive.  Being competitive is viewed at best as unproductive and at worst as unethical.  Thus what is created is a classic good guy-bad guy view of the negotiation universe.

        One excellent example of this is found in the book, Influencing with Integrity (Laborde, 1984). This book presents a set of psychological negotiation and persuasion skills for managers. At the outset the author establishes that achieving the other disputant's "outcome [desired goal] while you achieve your own is what I call influencing with integrity.  Achieving your own outcome at the expense of or even without regard for the other party constitutes manipulation" (Laborde, 1984, p. xvii). The author of Influencing with Integrity is taking the questionable position that protecting one's self-interest without getting caught up in the interest of the other is unethical and unnecessary. Yet later in the book the author approves the use of a particular nonverbal technique to persuade a superior to allocate budgetary resources in a manner not originally supported by that superior. The author concludes by emphasizing that the technique was useful because it helped 'with attaining one's outcome. And Trudy [the negotiator in question] got her outcome" (Laborde, 1984, p. 34). No mention is made of the superior's desired outcome or the extent to which Trudy gave any regard to her superior’s desired outcome. Thus the original theme of the book is lost.

Another good example is found in the book, Win-Win Negotiating (Jandt, 1985). The author, a strong advocate for cooperative negotiation strategies, acknowledges at least some situations where this approach may not be appropriate in the following statement:

In the best of all possible negotiating worlds, you would never have to fight dirty. Everyone would practice win-win negotiating, in which each adversary does her or his best to help the other guy get a good deal.

Alas, we do not live In the best of all possible negotiating worlds, and some of the most outspoken champions of win-win negotiating would nail you to the wall if that would help them get an iota of advantage over you. Thus while I strongly recommend entering a negotiation intent on being agreeable and cooperative and helpful, I also caution you not to assume that the other guy will be as nice as you. Expect, or, at the very least, do not rule out,  that the other guy will try to take advantage of you, and be prepared to defend against ploys that will give him or her an unfair advantage.

Jandt, 1985, pp. 263-264

It is clear from the above that negotiators are divided into two camps.  In one camp are the good guys who will work with the other party to help him or her get a good deal. In the other camp are the bad guys who will "nail you to the wall" and work constantly to achieve an unfair advantage over the other party.

Is this good/evil negotiation dichotomy accurate? Is there, then, no middle ground? A style of negotiating which advances self interest without promoting the interest of the other? A style built on legitimate strength and power (including in the labor relations arena the right to strike and lockout)? In the authors view, any reasonable evaluation of labor negotiations has to yield a positive response to these questions. Thousands of contracts are negotiated each year (and have been for a number of years) in the public and private sectors without engaging in getting to yes, collaborative, creative problem solving. Yet, most of these same contracts are negotiated without resorting to evil manipulation and unethical disregard for the interests of the other party.

What is troubling about the current faddish[3] interest in collaborative negotiations is its failure to recognize that these concepts are not new. In their classic A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations, (1965), Walton and McKersie, spell out an approach to negotiation called integrative bargaining.  The authors describe this process as "essentially a problem-solving model" which involves identifying the problem, searching for alternative solutions and making a preference order of solutions.

What distinguishes this approach from that of the current advocates[4] of cooperative negotiations, however, is that the authors also recognize the legitimacy of the distributive negotiation style.  This approach to negotiation is essentially competitive. It is based on the assumption that some disputes involve pure win-lose conflict in that the gains of one party are invariably at the expense of the other (Walton and McKersie, 1965, p. 13). Most importantly, the authors do not set one model of negotiation off against the other and cast integrative (soft bargaining) as the good model and distributive (hard bargaining)[5] as the bad. Rather, the authors view successful resolution of labor conflict and conflict in general as dependent on more than one bargaining strategy. They emphasize that:

... the agenda in labor negotiations usually contains a mixture of conflictful and collaborative items. The need to defend one's self-interest and at the same time engage in joint problem solving vastly complicates the selection of bargaining strategies and tactics.

Walton and McKersie, 1965, p. 3

Current advocates of a single, collaborative model of negotiating lack this perspective and therefore are forced into the difficult task of trying to explain away the competitive aspects of labor negotiations. What results is an unreasonable set of expectations for collaborative strategies. Negotiators who adopt this naive approach are bound, at times, to feel betrayed by the process. The collaborative model is not robust enough to deal effectively with all the intricacies of labor negotiation and, to the extent that it arouses false expectations, may in the long run create new problems of mistrust and frustration.

Nothing so far written, however, should be interpreted to demean the value of collaborative efforts to resolve labor disputes.  Efforts by the Bureau of Labor Management Relations and Cooperative Programs[6] and others have clearly shown that this approach can and should be used more often at the bargaining table, and in responding to labor-management conflict. In fact, the evidence would also suggest that the approach is not used as much as it should be.  However, for a negotiator to fail to recognize a legitimate role for distributive bargaining ignores the realities of labor negotiations. It also helps explain why some practitioners demean the cooperative process and why there is often a gap between the perception of those who build negotiation models and those who enact them.

A second major acceptance problem is the unfortunate attempt, at times, by management to use the process as a method of circumventing the union. As has been previously noted, unions often give strong support to the process because it legitimizes their role in the organization. But, it is possible to use a pseudo version of the process to avoid dealing with the union on mandatory subjects of bargaining (wage, hours and working conditions). For example, cooperative programs in both public and private sectors have focused on a number of different areas including employee participation programs often called quality circles (Horner, 1985; Warren, Jr., 1987; Katz et. al 1983; Kochran et. at, 1984), gain-sharing programs (Schuster, 1983) and joint labor-management committees (Siegel and Weinberg, 1982). Each of these programs, at least in part, bypass the regular union-management interface. Represented employees speak directly with management about terms of employment that have been traditionally negotiated. While a union will usually contest this type of end run, it can and will support these cooperative programs if it has a part in determining how the system should work and the right to help monitor the outcome. Without these rights, the union can be in a precarious position as it attempts to protect the interests of the bargaining unit as a whole. Thus any attempt to leave the union out of the cooperative approach will result not surprisingly in resistance by the union.


IV. AVOID THE TRAPS AND DILEMMAS OF THE PROCESS

Much of the prior section of this paper was devoted to dispelling unreasonable expectations about the cooperative labor relations process and setting forth legitimate parameters for the use of collaborative negotiation strategies. This section will examine in greater detail some of the important tactical problems associated with using cooperative labor relations programs.

A. AVOIDING PITFALLS

Key among these tactical problems is the failure of the parties to recognize that the competitiveness of the negotiations may not rest entirely at the discretion of the negotiators. At the heart of the distributive model of bargaining is the recognition that some issues, such as wages and benefits, are inherently competitive. While some aspects of these issues may lend themselves to collaborative efforts, at the core are the differing viewpoints ‑ wages as cost to the employer and wages as income to the employee. Because they have different self interests, the parties are usually sharply divided. The failure to recognize this fundamental fact can lead to the misuse of the collaborative negotiation process.

1.  REALISTIC ASSUMPTIONS

Recent negotiations over a new contract for a major public employer in the northwest provide an excellent illustration of this potential pitfall. The union and the employer, in this case, had a history of long and unpleasant negotiations including a lengthy and bitter strike. Both the union and the employer were in agreement that a substantial move needed to be made towards a more cooperative relationship. Thus they agreed to begin their negotiations over a successor agreement by spending two days in a joint, cooperative labor relations training program. The parties left this session feeling optimistic about their abilities to work more closely together and agreed to substantially reduce the usual posturing and maneuvering on the issues. As a result, the union, unlike its past approach of demanding an annual 15-20% pay increase, placed a 5% wage increase proposal before the employer. The employer, which had in the recent past been demanding wage rollbacks, responded with a 2% increase. From an outside, objective viewpoint both offers demonstrated a much higher level of collaboration when compared to past negotiations. It was the consensus with the union, however, that it had been betrayed by the process and that it would have done better in these negotiations had it simply demanded a 15% wage increase and negotiated from there. The result was a nine-month negotiation which was finally settled at 3.2% after extensive mediation and after a pattern of settlements had emerged in the industry.

Why was the union in the above example so angry and why did it feel betrayed? It simply could not see that the employer's offer was genuine and that it reflected a view of the issue from a different perspective. Fisher and Ury, in Getting to Yes, recommend that for issues of this nature the parties should "insist on objective criteria" to help resolve differences (Fisher and Ury, 1981, p. 84). The problem, in the above case, is that the union and the employer had fundamental, good faith differences about what should constitute the appropriate objective criteria. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with labor negotiations.

The likelihood is that the next negotiations for these two parties will be business as usual. That is unfortunate. It is unfortunate because aside from the wage negotiations the parties had made substantial advances in finding more productive ways of resolving the issues at the bargaining table. Most importantly, a more realistic expectation about the inherent competitiveness of the wage negotiations could have helped ward off the feelings of betrayal, and it is those feelings which will undoubtedly be the largest stumbling block in future efforts towards collaborative negotiations.

2. DEAL WITH ISSUES

Another good example of this pitfall comes from an article about cooperative negotiations in a California school district. In this example the District and its teachers had adopted a number of strategies to encourage a cooperative approach to negotiations. One strategy was to defer unresolved issues from the current negotiations to study committees:

 ... each committee studies one unresolved issue from September to January; from this study it generates recommendations that are submitted to the teams charged with negotiating a contract for the following year.

Kolar, Croce, and Bardellini, 1981, p. 247

While the referenced article provided good evidence of some successes by the study committees, a reader cannot help but notice that the process may, particularly on distributive issues, simply defer crunch time until a later date. And, the postponement of conflict may do more harm than good in that it can raise false expectations as to outcomes and bitterness when outcomes are not realized.

A second cooperative strategy used by this California school district encouraged teachers and board members to discuss difficult issues away from the bargaining table. The president and chief negotiator for the teacher association (both teachers) attended executive sessions of the board and

... these teacher representatives addressed the board directly on the issues of salary and job sharing. Board members listen to such presentations and ask qualifying questions; both parties agree that this is not a time for negotiations.

Kolar, Croce, and Bardellini, 1981, P. 247

Unfortunately this article provides no insight into what happened to wage negotiations. Did the board give more money because of the discussions? Did the board show greater empathy, but give no more money? What happened when the teachers' negotiator returned to the bargaining table and made a wage demand? The value of these private discussions has to be measured back at the bargaining table, and of that we are left in the dark.

It must be emphasized that a process which allows the parties to talk more openly and helps facilitate a good faith, constructive attempt to resolve points of conflict will, in almost every case, pay dividends both in the relationship between the parties and in the quality of decision making. However, simply talking about an issue, such as wages, in a congenial manner does not alter its competitiveness. Traditional labor negotiations provided an avenue to deal with the competitive nature of an issue. For cooperative negotiations to work, it cannot defer tough issues, talk them to death or just be empathetic, they must be dealt with head on. And, sometimes dealing with an issue head on means saying "no".

3.  BE POLITICALLY REALISTIC

A second pitfall that the parties must effectively deal with involves the political realities that often accompany negotiations, particularly the distributive issues. City councilmen, county commissioners and school board members are all elected and thus are politically sensitive to the money and benefits issues. On the other side of the table, union negotiators are not immune from political considerations. The rank and file have been known to elect new leadership when the old has failed to negotiate acceptable increases in wages and benefits. Victor Gotbaum, the legendary leader of AFSCME District Council 37 ( New York City ), succinctly expressed this point when he wrote that a labor leader:

 ... above all knows that a poor contract can undermine his leadership authority. On the other hand, a good contract means that many of his errors of omission and commission will be forgiven by the rank and file for years to come ‑ or at least for the length of the contract.

The American Assembly, 1972, p. 77

         Objective budget criteria may be useful to help settle a dispute over wages and benefits, but those same criteria will probably be of almost no value in helping the labor leader's reelection efforts. The important point here is that the sound and fury of the competitive labor negotiations process may not exemplify the best method for resolving a disagreement on the issue but can be highly productive in dealing with outside issues. The appearance of a too-cozy relationship between labor and management may be politically unproductive to both. If the parties at the bargaining table do not deal with this reality in a constructive fashion, it is likely to substantially reduce the ability of the parties to apply collaborative strategies at the bargaining table

4. BE PREPARED FOR INHERENT TENSIONS

A fourth problem the parties must be able and ready to handle is the inherent tension between cooperative tactics and competitive moves. Lax and Sebenius artfully state the problem as follows:  

...There is a central, inescapable tension between cooperative moves to create value jointly and competitive moves to gain individual advantage. This tension affects virtually all tactical and strategic choice. Analysts must come to grips with it; negotiators must manage It. Neither denial nor discomfort will make it disappear.

Lax and Sebenius, 1986, p. 30

At the core of this tension is the difference in the ways information is shared between the parties. Competitive moves usually involve strategic efforts to reveal some facts and figures while carefully concealing others.  The extent to which information is shared depends on whether the negotiator believes that the information will advance his/her position. If it is viewed as creating a weakness, the attempt will be made to conceal it or to minimize it. One view of the ultimate role of communication in the competitive negotiation process is to facilitate the discovery of the true minimum acceptable position of the other party on the issue while concealing or distorting your own minimum position.

Communication and the sharing of information in a cooperative negotiation is an entirely different matter. It is not possible to find innovative, creative solutions to a problem if the disputants are concealing vital information. The cooperative negotiation process is dependent on a candid, open exchange of information and a willingness to give full consideration to alternative proposals. Concealment of what a party needs or values reduces the possibility of finding a solution that is satisfactory to both.

A good example of this tension between the competitive and cooperative negotiation processes is found in a recent decision by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) of the state of Washington . In that case the contract negotiations between a major city and its fire department were submitted to interest arbitration. Prior to the hearing the union requested that the city disclose the identity of fire departments it intended to use as comparators under RCW 41.56.460(c) (ii).  The City, for it's own tactical reasons, refused to provide the requested information.  In Decision 3085‑A‑PECB[7], PERC ruled that this act of the city was an unfair labor practice and that the employer was obligated to furnish information relevant to the negotiations process at the request of the other party.  However justified the efforts by the firefighters' union might be to acquire this information through the unfair labor practices procedure, it was not conducive to facilitating a cooperative discussion of non‑salary related issues.

a. Manage Negotiations Tensions

Effective management of the tension between cooperative and competitive negotiations, then, is absolutely essential if the disputants are going to be able to employ both styles during negotiations. It takes a high level of sophistication for the parties to be open and candid on some issues and more guarded on others. In the absence of this sophistication, the guardedness typically destroys the trust needed to insure openness on those issues where candor is needed.

b. Protect Cooperative Process

Additionally, the parties have to recognize that openness on one issue may create vulnerability on others. Efforts to unduly exploit this vulnerability will substantially decrease the willingness of a negotiator to work on an issue in a collaborative fashion. Thus both parties must be careful to protect the cooperative negotiation process by not taking unreasonable advantage of vital information that is shared during the value creating process. This is clearly an important issue during competitive activities when the desire to exploit may be high.


V. APPLYING THE PROCESS CORRECTLY

         While the previous parts of this paper outline problem areas related to cooperative labor relations and thus implicitly suggest courses of action, this section will concentrate on over-viewing specific generic strategies that must be enacted to insure a high probability that the process will work. The strategies presented here are general and it is left to other articles and the reader to set out the specific tactics by which these strategies can be implemented.

A. ACCEPTANCE OF PROCESS

The cooperative process requires the acceptance of the process and the active effort of both labor and management (or any two disputants). This is in contrast to competitive strategies which can be enacted and carried out by one party to a conflict. For example, the gambit called flinching is never discussed in the negotiations literature[8] as a two party process. It is not something you do with your opponent but rather something you do at them.

Cooperative strategies, on the other hand, cannot be enacted by a single party. Collaboration is not something you do at someone but is a strategy that you mutually enact. Efforts by one party to cooperate in the face of a competitive response will undoubtedly lead to an outcome favorable to the competitor; and one that maximizes the gains of one party at the expense of the other. Cooperative strategies are the recessive genes and competitive the dominant. Therefore, under the laws of genetics, it takes the pairing of the two recessives to allow the characteristics of that gene to emerge.

Consequently, the initial step of any effort towards a cooperative strategy must be the solidification of an implicit or explicit agreement to cooperate. This often involves the careful cultivation of constructive relationships. When the parties are new to negotiations this will obviously take some time. It also helps explain why it is almost impossible to fully implement cooperative strategies if the parties constantly change the players at the bargaining table. Obviously, the turnover amongst elected officials can also exacerbate this problem.

B. IMPLEMENTATION AT ALL LEVELS

The cooperative approach to labor negotiations and labor relations is a process that must be implemented at all levels of the organization. This can only happen if top level management and union leadership buy into the process and sell it through example and education to the lower levels. One good example is spelled out in detail in a report found in the Labor-Management Cooperation BRIEF (McIntosh, 1988, p. 3). In implementing a cooperative program, Dayton Power and Light began the program at the CEO level and cemented it by sending a letter to each employee and then:  

The letter was followed up by a company wide education program, known as "Two By Two's," in which a company executive, accompanied by a union representative, explained to small groups of employees what deregulation would mean and how DP&L planned to face the future.

McIntosh, 1988, p. 3  

Without support from the top and the effort to reach everyone, as in the above example, cooperative programs have difficulty surviving. Hard won and cooperative victories gained at the bargaining table can easily be sabotaged by top level managers. Likewise, contract language cooperatively negotiated often relies on good faith implementation. Shop steward bargaining unit members and first level supervisors are all in a position to undermine the agreement, thus bringing about a protectionist response from the union or management and/or both. Thus, the rank and file must be convinced that the cooperative approach is in their best interest. Likewise, supervisors need to realize that cooperation does not mean surrendering reasonable authority and that collaborative decisions can improve productivity, not diminish it.

C. RE-EDUCATION NEEDED

The parties need to re-educate themselves towards the process of labor relations. One important area for re-education involves how the parties see the value of outcomes. Much of what currently goes on at the bargaining table has a short term focus. Unfortunately, the value of competitive strategies always looks more enticing when viewed from the short-term perspective. If you project those same competitive strategies over a ten to fifteen year period, however, the payoffs to any one or to both parties combined are usually substantially less, when compared with cooperative strategies. An approach that provides concurrent, positive payoff to both parties will almost inevitably outpace[9] a competitive strategy when summed over a substantial time period.

But, the re‑education process is not easy. The rank and file often have a hard time looking at a larger picture when their immediate needs be may pressing. Likewise, new competition, short term budgetary crises and other pressing managerial needs can subvert efforts to look at labor negotiations and labor relations from the long term payoff perspective. Reeducation must be accomplished, however, for cooperative labor relations to continue over time as a viable process. And, there never were any guarantees that making cooperative labor relations work would be an easy process.


VI. CONCLUSION

        Collaborative labor negotiations and cooperative labor relations can do much towards reducing the costs in union-management relations, increasing organizational productiveness and helping both parties achieve desired outcomes. However, the success of the cooperative effort is dependent on understanding the complexities of this process and developing appropriate strategies. To make the cooperative approach work, both during the negotiations for a labor agreement and during the administration of the agreement, the parties must understand and respect the limitations of the process, be able to avoid the pitfalls that often redirect efforts towards greater competition and must enact those affirmative strategies that are necessary to successfully implement the process. Cooperative labor relations require patience, trust and substantial resolve to succeed, but the payoff can justify the effort for those who truly want to make the process work.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 Axelrod, Robert, The Evolution of Cooperation, Basic Books, Inc., New York , 1984

Bacharach, Samuel B. and Edward J. Lawler, Bargaining, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco , 1983

Cohen, Herb, You Can Negotiate Anything, Lyle Stuart, Inc., Secaucus. NJ 1980

Druckman, Daniel, Negotiations, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, 1977

Fisher, Roger and William Ury, Getting to Yes, Houghton Mimin Co. , Boston , 1981

Flanders , Allan, Collective Bargaining, Penguin Books, Middlesex , England , 1969

Gallagher, James J., “Public Safety Interest Arbitration: The Oregon Experience,” California Public Employee Relations, June 1983.

Horner, William T., “ Tarrytown : A Union Perspective," Perspectives on Labor-Management Cooperation, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1985, 62 66

Jandt, Fred E., Win‑Win Negotiating, John Wiley & Sons, New York , 1985

Johnson, Elmer W., (Spring 1988) “Management and Labor: Breaking Away,” Speech presented at DePaul University in Chicago, at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and at the College of Business Administration of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kahn, Lynn S., Peacemaking, University Press of America , Lanham, MD, 1988

Karrass, Chester L., Give and Take, Thomas Y. Crowell, New York , 1974

Karrass, Chester L., The Negotiating Game, Thomas Y. Crowell, New York , 1970

Katz, Harry C., Thomas A. Kochran, and Kenneth R. Cobeille (October 1983) “Industrial Relations Performance, Economic Performance, and QWL Program: An Interplay Analysis, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 37 3-17

Keirsay, David and Marilyn Bates, Please Understand Me, Prometheus Nemesis Book Co., Del Mar, CA, 1984

Kochran, Thomas A., Harry C. Katz and Nancy R. Mower (1984) “Worker Participation and American Unions: Threat or Opportunity ,” Kalamazoo , MI : W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Kolar, Jeanne, Leo R. Croce, and Justin M. Bardellini (December 1981) "Integrative Bargaining In One California School District ,” Phi Delta Kappan, 246-247

Laborde, Genie Az., Influencing with Integrity, Syntony Publishing, Palo Alto , CA , 1984

Lax, David A. and James K. Sebenius, The Manager as Negotiator, The Free Press, New York , 1986

Martin, James, (January/February 1987), “A Case Study: The Philadelphia Area Labor Management Committee," The Journal of State Government, 60 1, 54-58

McCarthy. Jane, Negotiating Settlements, American Arbitration Association,

        New York , 1988

McIntosh, Phyllis L., (January 1988) “Labor Compact Key to New Employee-Management Partnership at Dayton Power and Light," Labor-Management Cooperation Brief, No. 12, U.S. Department of Labor, p. 3

Moscow, Michael H.. J. Joseph Lowenberg and Edward C. Koziara, Collective Bargaining in Public Employment, Random House, New York , 1970

Nierenberg, Gerard I. , The Art of Negotiating, Simon and Schuster , New York , 1981

Schelling. Thomas C., The Strategy of Conflict, Oxford University Press,

        New York , 1960

Schuster, Michael H. (April 1983) 'The Impact of Union-Management Cooperation on Productivity and Employment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 36  415-430

Siegel, Irving H., and Edgar Weinberg (1984) Labor-Management Cooperation: The American Experience, Kalamazoo, MI, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Stepp, John R. and John L. Bonner, (January/February 1987) "States Tie Economic Development to Improved Labor Relations Climates,” The Journal of State Government, 60 1, 40-43

The American Assembly, Public Workers and Public Unions, Columbia University, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1972

Trepanier, Peter J. and Gary K. Francis, (January/February 1987), "Uniting to Revive a Declining Industry: Perspectives on the Armco Ashland Works Experience," The Journal of State Government, 60, 1. 40-43

Walton, Richard E. and Robert B. McKersie, A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations, McGraw-Hill , New York , 1965

Warren, Jr., Alfred S. (January/February 1987) “Creating a New Order of Things," The Journal of State Government, 60, 1, 20-23

Warschaw, Tessa A., Winning by Negotiation, McGraw-Hill , New York , 1980

Wells, John Calhoun, (January/February 1987) “The Kentucky Experience: State Government as a Partner in Labor-Management Relations,” The Journal of State Government, 60, 1, 44-53

Widenor. Marcus R., “Public-Sector Bargaining In Oregon : The Enactment of the PECBA," LERC Monograph Series, 8, 1989

 


[1] Complete citations of these and other work noted here are included in the bibliography provided at the end of this article.

[2] While many of these books give lip service to cooperative negotiations, the tactics presented are not always consistent with this approach.

[3]" Faddish" is used here to describe what the author perceives to be an unrealistic and euphoric interest in collaborative efforts at conflict resolution. The word is not intended to demean decades worth of effort on the part of skilled labor negotiators to find mutually satisfactory solutions to issues where such was feasible.

 [4] 0ne important exception to this is the excellent book, The Manager as Negotiator (Lax and Sebenius, 1986). In this book the authors pay their respects to Walton and McKersie and develop the twin negotiation strategies of value claiming and value creating.

 [5] The use of the terms hard and soft bargaining by Walton and McKersie should not be confused with the use of those terms in Getting to Yes. Fisher and Ury in Getting to Yes define the term respectively as involving a hard nosed, unyielding, belligerent style versus a wimpy, give-in public relations approach (Fisher and Ury. 198 1, p. 9).  Walton and McKersie disagree and see both as constructive, when used properly, with one being competitive and the other collaborative.

[6] The results of these efforts are published bimonthly in Labor Relations Today, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington , DC .

 [7] It should be noted that the City has appealed PERC’s decision to Superior court.

[8] Flinching is the tactic of waiting until the other party is feeling relieved and satisfied that the dispute has been resolved and that the conflict is over, and then springing one last requirement to achieve a successful agreement. One is then supposed to bluff that the whole agreement will be hold hostage to this final demand.

[9] This is obviously not true if one party always prevails at the expense of the other, but that is not often the case in labor relations. More importantly, it is rarely true if the values associate with various agreements are priced in their entirety including such commodities as overall productivity, quality of work life, etc.