We are getting a late start to bargaining this year, which normally begins in January, partially due to the timing of winter break and partially due to training for a new style of bargaining that we hope to embrace. It is called Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) and is based on the premise that negotiations should focus on each party’s underlying interests, not specific proposal language.

To give a hypothetical example, instead of asking for a 10% increase in salary, we would say we are worried about the rising cost of rent in Corvallis, and the fact that we have not had a raise in 2 years, AND we are not offering competitive salaries compared to similar institutions. In many ways, this approach is not all that different than how CGE has approached bargaining in the past. We always justify the reasoning behind proposals we make- why they are both good for graduate employees and OSU as a whole. What we hope this will change is to get OSU to justify their response, instead of just saying “no.”

Our first meeting with OSU’s bargaining team was a IBB training put on by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. This was a free service offered by the federal government, and may also include having a facilitator during our first few bargaining sessions. It went well, and we asked OSU to consider continuing this style of bargaining and adapt our ground rules to reflect IBB principles.

IBB will be a new experience for CGE in bargaining, and we are hoping it will improve our relationship with OSU and the discourse of bargaining. It will also add risk to the bargaining process for CGE. It is difficult for us to know how committed OSU is to the process, and for us to commit we have to develop a certain level of trust with OSU’s team.

This is where YOU come in. We have made it clear to OSU that all regular bargaining sessions have to be open to our members. We need CGE’s members to keep us honest in this process to your needs, and you have a right to know what we are doing on your behalf. If you feel the structure of IBB is causing us to lose sight of our mission, and not advocate for the best possible contract, let us know. Remember, the membership has the final say in approval of any negotiated contract. Help us make sure we bring you something you approve of.

One Thought on “Interest Based Bargaining”

  • I totally support this approach! I am studying conflict resolution at OSU, and interest-based negotiation provides a way to “expand the pie” and promote win-win (rather than win-lose) solutions. It allows for more creativity, and hopefully, it will encourage the OSU team to seek mutually-beneficial solutions! Best wishes!

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