What is Offensive Bargaining? - National Federation of Nurses

2013 NFN Labor Academy
Amy Hauschild
Lorraine Seidel
At the conclusion of this presentation, participants
will be able to:
S 1. Describe five common pitfalls we may face in
the negotiating process
S 2. Describe seven offensive strategies for
responding to employers who refuse to bargain in
good faith
“Nurses should never have to join a union”
Remember your most recent
negotiations when….
S The negotiating process was ideal?
Nurses were respected !!
Nurses were equal players !!
Nurses’ concerns were met with welcoming interest !
Management was eager to agree to Nurses proposals!
Contracts were settled stress free!!!
It’s not the 80’s anymore
S The 80’s brought union shops
S The 80’s provided annual increases in excess of 14%
S Union busters were not yet a budget line for employers
S Patient care actually mattered to some
S Times have changed
Affordable Care Act
Anti-worker sentiment
1% Greed accelerates
Rough Times Call for
Unity & Strength
S When the ideal doesn’t work
S Workers are on the defense
S There is a need to move to the OFFENSE if we are going
to win strong contracts!
What is Offensive Bargaining?
S Bargaining with the full force and effect of every
assertive and courageous act and strategy we have at our
disposal collectively
S Refusing an attitude of concession
Some Common Pitfalls
Five Common Pitfalls
That Can Occur in the Negotiating Process
Pitfall # 1
Our Negotiating Committee May Not
Be Fully Prepared
S What happens?
Provide Negotiating Committee Boot Camp
S NC Boot Camp is an educational process of training and
development of bargaining skills, strategic thinking, short and long
term goals.
S Boot Camp Achievements:
S Knowing the Goal
S Leading the Role
S Reading the Signals
S Moving the Strategy
S Seeing the Deal
S Seizing the Moment
Pitfall # 2
We May Not Have Completed our Research
S What happens?
Do Foundational Bargaining Research
S Research should always include:
S Examination of Hospital Funding & Finances
S Examination of Hospital Governance & Structure
S Investigation of BOD and other principles (law firm, consultants)
S Analysis of Bargaining history and mid-term issues
S Consultation with members as to priorities
S Analysis of other contracts within the System and identification of all
precedents and potential of one’s proposals to either augment or
damage precedent
S Collaboration with other unions within the System
S Costing out the Proposals
Pitfall # 3
We Don’t Have an Offensive Game Plan
S What happens?
Develop a Plan that is Grounded in Strength
S The absence of an offensive bargaining plan will leave the
negotiators powerless
Approaching the campaign from a position of strength and
offensive strategy will encourage/empower Members, unsettle
Management and level the playing field
Pitfall # 4
We Haven’t Fully Engaged Our Supporters
S What happens?
Enlist the Members & Engage the Community
S The Negotiators are not the power base
S The Members will drive the success or failure of a comprehensive
contract campaign
S Un-enlisted Members are untapped capacity
S Community drives the revenue
S Community builds the pressure
A Campaign with member and community support is
ALWAYS a campaign !
Pitfall # 5
We are Fearful of Being Fearless
S What happens?
Face Fear Head On
The fear of being fearless is toxic and paralyzing
S The failure of the negotiation can be in direct proportion to the degree
of fear that is visible to Management
S The success of the bargaining campaign will be in direct proportion
to the degree of courage that is visible to Management. Courage is
not the absence of fear but the ability to act in its presence.
S Fearless is a form of resilience, that prevails in adversity. Fearless is
acting as though one is unaware of danger, if only for the moment.
Offensive Bargaining Strategies
Seven More Offensive Bargaining Strategies
For Responding To Employers
Who Refuse to Bargain in Good Faith
O.B. Principle # 1
Know Your Employer
S Never lose sight of employer intent
S The more you know, the more you know, making research
work for your members
S The Employer is your equal at the bargaining table, not your
O.B. Principle #2
Expose surface bargaining
S Surface bargaining is disingenuous and can be exposed
through the offensive strategy of information requests.
OB Principle # 3
Request information relentlessly
S Bargain over every detail
S The more outrageous the employer’s proposals, the more
opportunity to expose their impracticality
S Every time the union makes information requests, the employer is
put at risk
OB Principle # 4
Avoid Impasse: Stay in the Weeds
S Avoid impasse by bargaining over insubstantial issues .
S Indicate a willingness to consider all proposals provided
that all the details are worked out. Then dig in.
OB Principle # 5
Control the process
S Take charge of the bargaining
S Set the tone on your terms in big ways and small
S Escalate with confidence
S Set your own time table
S Never surrender
OB Principle # 6
Involve your members
S Ask their opinions
S Keep them informed
S Give them one manageable responsibility
S Give them another manageable responsibility
S Build on their participation
OB Principle # 7
Make Everything Work in Your Favor
(22 ideas to get you started)
S Bargaining location
S Ground Rules
S Time your proposals
S Do not reject employer proposals, use them
S Determine what is important
S Piecemeal bargain the employer’s list
S Make the most insignificant employer proposals the center of
your attention
S Reach agreement where you can
S Take verbatim bargaining notes and review before each session
S Make self-serving statements
S Avoid heated arguments
S Let the employer talk, and talk, and talk
S Bargain the details now, not wish you had.
S Consult experts, bring them to the table
S Bargain interim issues, including disciplines, incidents, decisions
Caucus strategically
Compel the employer to change its representatives at the table
Search for inconsistencies, illegalities, contradictions in employer’s
Mine for unfair labor practices
Drop information in your Table Talks that you want employer to know
Never let them see you sweat!
Have fun! You are building unity and strength in the workplace!
S Rosenfield, D. (1995). Offensive Bargaining: Negotiating
Aggressively in Contract Campaigns. National Labor College.
Silver Spring, MD. George Meany Center for Labor Studies.
S Seidel, L. (2008). No Cowards Here: Bargaining With Courage.
Lecture. Leadership Conference. Newburgh, NY.

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