Collective bargaining is a technique used by public union representatives and public agency managers to negotiate conditions and terms of employment. The goal of collective bargaining is to optimize the employer-employee relationship by facilitating a win-win situation for the various parties involved. Collective bargaining improves the workforce strength and as a result, increases their bargaining capacity (Aidt and Tzannatos 9).
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Also, the productivity and morale of employees are likely to increase. It discourages unilateral actions against employees by the employer. By embracing effective collective bargaining, the trade union’s machinery movement can be strengthened. When workers get motivated through collective bargaining, they can present different issues to the management with the intention of bargaining for additional benefits.
Collective bargaining allows employers to settle issues on the bargaining table, as opposed to having to deal with the complaints of individual employees (Aidt and Tzannatos 11). It also enhances employees’ job security, thereby lowering the cost of labor turnover. A typical collective bargaining process entails eight steps:
- Preparing: both the internal and external factors that affect negotiations in the workplace are examined thoroughly (Martin 56).
- Arguing: negotiators often engage in effective arguments as a way of supporting their submissions. Such arguments tend to be persuasive and as such, they should be rational and should depend on the use of reliable information to back the claims made.
- Signaling: negotiating is dynamic and interactive and as such, the negotiators have to develop the skill of active listening. Negotiators use words or body language to send signals. Through signals, negotiators may start to perceive proposals that are likely to be faced with resistance, those that need to be changed, and those that are likely to be accepted.
- Proposing: once they have read the signals, negotiators then identify the proposals that need to be prioritized (Martin 59).
- Packaging: this involves linking winning proposals with those that have a low chance of winning. Negotiators then place a total package on the table so that they can agree and then settle the matter.
- Bargaining: negotiators try to convince their fellow negotiators that they will not be making any other proposals and that their proposed package contains the needed combination.
- Closing: expert negotiators can always tell the best time to make a closing. Closing too late or too early may result in the loss of that strategic moment when success is most likely to be achieved.
- Agreeing: once the draft agreement has been vetted this signifies the completion of formal negotiations.
Aidt, Toke, and Tzannatos, Zafikirs. Unions and Collective Bargaining. Economic Effects in a Global Environment. Washington, D. C.: The World Bank, 2008. Print.
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Martin, Edward. Labor-Management Relations, Collective Bargaining, and the Public Sector: Collaborative Solutions in Alameda, California. Public Administration & Management: An Interactive Journal, 8.2(2003): 54-68.
Mathis, Robert, and Jackson, John. Human Resource Management (Eleventh Edition). Ontario: Thompson business & Professional Publishing, 2005. Print.
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