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Collective Bargaining: Tactics, Techniques and Table Manners

Learn the basics of labor law and how that guides your labor relations planning, strategy and communication. Understand the data needed to prepare for the collective bargaining process and how to analyze that data. Focus on negotiating an agreement including contract considerations, tactics, techniques and more. Anticipate your defense if required and plan a course of action that achieves your goals and objectives.

This seminar on basic collective bargaining is for:

  • Individuals who recently have assumed labor relations responsibilities
  • Individuals coming into a union environment from a nonunion role
  • Those with principally academic backgrounds who want to supplement their exposure with the practical experiences of seasoned negotiators
  • Individuals and teams wanting to refresh and sharpen their skills before going into negotiations

This class is preapproved by the Society for Human Resource Management for 21 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) towards the SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP.

This course can be applied to the Labor Relations Certificate.


Jonathan  Swain, JD

Jonathan Swain, JD

Jonathan is a member of the board of directors and senior attorney of the law firm of Lindner & Marsack, S.C. in Milwaukee. He focuses his practice on the representation of management in labor and employment law matters, representing clients ... read more

Thomas Mackenzie, JD

Thomas Mackenzie, JD

Thomas W. Mackenzie is a member of the board of directors and a senior shareholder of Lindner & Marsack, S.C., Milwaukee. He has extensive experience in both labor and employment law. For unionized clients, he has served as chief spokesman ... read more

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Apply tested techniques to handle various situations
  • Structure an outcome
  • Recognize when to take a strike

Course Outline/Topics

Day One: 8:30am-4pm
What You Need to Know About the Law

  • The duty to bargain in good faith
  • Mandatory, permissive and illegal issues
  • Notifications
  • Strikes, lockouts and picketing
  • Slow downs and other tactics
  • Multi-employer, multi-union bargaining
  • Injunctive remedies in labor disputes
  • Enforcement of contracts
  • Petitions for elections
  • Union shop and the check-off
  • Economic strikes, replacement of strikers
  • Mediation and conciliation

Day Two: 8:30-11:30am
Get Ready to Bargain

  • U.S. Concept of labor relations – Legislative restrictions
    – Collective bargaining trends
    – Labor policy
    – The collective bargaining process
    – Types of collective bargaining
    – Sites for collective bargaining
  • Preparing for negotiations
    – Surveys, statistics, graphs, etc.
    – Selecting the bargaining team
    – Union bargaining team
    – Develop the company’s bargaining position
    – Marketing considerations
    – Financial considerations
    – Operating considerations
    – Aspects of public and community relations
    – General and economic conditions
  • Developing proposals
    – Contract review by negotiator
    – Contract review by operating personnel
    – The need for proposals
    – Cost data
    – Structuring a proposal
    – Negotiating a first agreement
    – Communications
    – Strike preparations

Day Two: 12:30-3:30pm
Negotiating An Agreement: The Contractual Ingredients

  • Contract considerations – Content of agreement
    – Structure of agreement
    – Long term vs short term contracts
    – Items to be avoided
    – Wage re-openers
    – Mutual consent clauses
    – Past practices
    – Side agreements
    – Memos of understanding
    – Work rules
  • Cost Matters
    – Analyze and pricing union demands
    – Wages vs fringes
    – Hidden cost factors
  • Mediation
  • Union pressure tactics
  • When to take a strike
    – Settling a strike

Day Three: 8:30am-3pm
Negotiating an Agreement: Tactics, Techniques and Table Manners

  • Strategy and tactics
  • Important negotiating concepts
  • Important negotiator traits
  • Table manners
  • Techniques:
    – First meeting
    – Getting movement
    – Impasse
    – How to say no
    – Value of caucuses
  • Early settlement contract extensions, retroactivity, etc.
  • Signaling
  • Educating the union bargaining committee
  • How to structure an offer
  • Letters to the employees
  • Ratification problems
  • Communications
  • Negotiating style
    – Summary
    – Red flags


"Tom and Jon did an outstanding job, and I plan on attending a couple more of these classes. Great job!"  —  Melissa MacTaggart, Human Resources Manager, Masonite, 2019

"Very good course and the instructors were wonderful!"  —  Scott K. Alo, Chief of Police, Bangor Police Department, 2019

"I really enjoyed the course. Tom and Jon brought years of knowledge and practice to the course and presented in a fun and easy-to-grasp way."  —  Tim Walsh, BWSR, LLC, 2020

Date: 2 Tue-Thu, Feb 2-11, 2021

Delivery Method: Live Online

Time: 8:30-11:30am CT

Platform: Zoom

Thomas Mackenzie JD
Jonathan Swain JD


$1,115 by Jan 19, 2021
$1,165 after Jan 19, 2021

CEUs: 2.1, PDCs: 21

Enrollment Limit: 25

Program Number: 5045-13327

Note: Course meets online Feb 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 from 8:30-11:30am.

Registration Deadline: Jan 26, 2021

Register Now