Dealing With the Union – With Confidence

Never again be at a disadvantage. Focus on the most essential issues and practices facing professionals who work directly with unions and union contracts. Arm yourself with easy-to-apply tools for confidently handling unions at the bargaining table, in grievance meetings and in arbitration.

This course is preapproved by the Society for Human Resource Management for 25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) toward the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.

This course can be applied to the Labor Relations Certificate.

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the legal, tactical and strategic elements of the collective bargaining process
  • Examine successful techniques for dealing with union situations
  • Analyze important contract clauses

Course Outline/Topics

Program Agenda

Day One: 8:30am-12pm
Collective Bargaining: What You Need to Know About the Law

  • An introduction to the statutory duty to bargain
  • Mandatory, permissive and illegal subjects of bargaining
  • Elements of good or bad faith
  • Impasse and why it is important
  • The duty to furnish information
  • Strikes and lockouts
    – Illegal strikes
    – Replacement workers
    – Violence
  • Enforcement of contracts

Day One: 12:30-4pm
Collective Bargaining: How Do You Begin?

  • Select the bargaining team and define the roles to be performed
  • Assess the union’s team
  • Develop language proposals
    – Identify the real problem
    – Convert a manager’s need into a contract demand
  • Develop an economic negotiating position
    – Cost a contract
    – Market, industry and community considerations
  • Structure the initial proposal
    – The use of straw men
  • Employee communications

Day Two: 8:30am-12pm
Collective Bargaining: The Content of a Contract

  • Important contract clauses – Management rights
    – Union security
    – No strike clause
    – Seniority provisions
    – Grievance/arbitration
  • Dissect contractual language
    – Terms of art in contracts
    – Pro-company language vs. pro-union language
    – How arbitrators find intent

Day Two: 12:30-4pm

  • The first meeting goals and objectives
  • How to say no
  • Value of caucuses
  • The art of signaling
  • When and how to show movement
  • Keep your powder dry
  • Understand timing
  • The psychology of bargaining
    – The importance of process
    – The importance of risk evaluation
    – The importance of need identification
    – The importance of crisis
    – The importance of resolution
  • Summary and mock negotiation exercise

Day Three: 8:30-11:30am
Contract Administration

  • Post-negotiation matters – Drafting the new agreement
    – Preserve your bargaining history
    – Communicate the new agreement to employees
    – Assess how well the organization accomplished its goals
    – Supervisory training on the new agreement
    – Prevent supervisors from giving back what you fought to obtain
    – Monitor new or changed provisions
    – Record keeping – the first step toward preparing for the next negotiations
  • The union steward
    – The proper role
    – Controlling the runaway steward
    – Weingarten Rights – What they are and what they are not

Day Three: 12-4pm
Effective Contract Administration and Enforcement

  • The anatomy of a collective bargaining agreement – What is it and how does it work?
  • Practical suggestions for getting the most out of the agreement
  • Design an employer friendly grievance procedure
  • Keep employee complaints from becoming grievances

Day Four: 8:30-11:30am
Contract Administration

  • Contract interpretation grievances – How your contract can and should be applied
  • Discipline and discharge grievances
    – Due process, progressive discipline, to settle, to fight, to win
  • Breaches of the no-strike clause
  • The duty of fair representation – Its impact on employer grievance resolution

Day Four: 12-4pm

  • The legal setting – Can the dispute be arbitrated? Is the decision really final and binding?
  • Arbitration strategy and tactics
  • Pre-hearing preparation – Win your case before the hearing starts
  • The arbitration hearing – Witness presentation, burdens of proof, rules of evidence
  • Post-hearing persuasion, the closing argument, post-hearing briefs
  • How arbitrators really decide who wins


"Excellent presentation."  —  Rodney Adkinson, Sr. Manager Regional HR, 2019

"I enjoyed having multiple speakers that were knowledgeable in case law. They were able to bring more to the table than just case law. They were able to bring real-life situations to it as well. I enjoyed how much it was emphasized that case outcomes will sway with each board change. He [Jason Kim] was able to tell us what currently will uphold in court versus what decisions most likely will be determined unlawful with the next board change."  —  Stephanie Goethe, Human Resources Specialist, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, 2019

Dates and locations to be announced.


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