Interest-Based Bargaining in Education
[Excerpt] Despite almost 20 years of experience with a variety of alternative techniques in collective bargaining in education, there is no summary of the research on negotiation practices or survey of practice variations in use. The parties in negotiations have little to guide them in their investigation of the utility of what are commonly referred to as Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) strategies. In order to give negotiators tools with which they can make choices appropriate to their needs based on current knowledge and practice, this report offers an informed discussion of the utility of various bargaining models. It provides: ◗ A summary of the research on the use of IBB techniques in educational collective bargaining; ◗ An overview of the current practice of IBB in education; ◗ Examples of IBB in practice in education. A survey of the literature on IBB practice and outcomes, including empirical, theoretical, and qualitative research, as well as case descriptions during the period of 1985-2002 on the use of IBB in educational, public sector, or industrial settings identified approximately 100 journal articles, dissertations, and cases in practitioner publications. The majority of the empirical research reviewed was too limited in scope and methodology to provide evidence that could be cited in this report. The analysis of the literature provided a set of internal and external factors affecting the use and utility of IBB, which were used to frame questions for facilitators and bargainers on current practice in IBB. A second goal of this report was to describe the current state of IBB practice, including its method and rate of diffusion, variations in practice, and factors motivating and supporting the use of IBB in educational settings. Given the absence of empirical data, practitioners providing IBB training and facilitation were identified as primary sources of information on current practice. Trainers/facilitators possess diverse and broad perspectives because of their interactions with multiple sites, their participation in professional associations or networks, and their (often) institutional affiliations with unions, employers, school boards, and state or federal employment relations agencies, and the variable IBB practices they employ. Seven practitioners who provide training and facilitation were interviewed: three staff members of NEA state affiliates, two FMCS commissioners, one practitioner in private practice, and one staff member of a state school board association. Among them, they have had direct experience facilitating more than 200 negotiations using IBB over viii NEA Collective Bargaining & Member Advocacy the past 10 years, in states with a variety of collective bargaining laws, as well as states without collective bargaining laws. These interviews provided detailed information on the IBB models in current use, which was used to create a matrix of variations in practices. The practitioner interviews also provided experience-based perceptions of the factors identified in the research as motivating IBB use and those supporting or suppressing bargaining team successes with IBB. While it cannot be claimed to represent a complete description of current practice, this summary provides a snapshot of the existing range of experience. In pursuit of sources of data on current IBB awareness and use in educational bargaining, 34 NEA state associations were contacted for information on IBB practice in their state. These contacts helped to identify sources of IBB training and facilitation and to give a rough depiction of the state of training activities and providers nationally. Based on the review of the research and interviews with facilitators, criteria were identified for choosing case studies to represent a cross-section of IBB experience. The three sites selected represent variation in state collective bargaining laws, the type of IBB model in use, geography, size of district, length of experience with IBB, the role and methods of the facilitator, and types and numbers of bargaining units and constituents participating in IBB. For each case, the primary negotiator for the union and the district were interviewed, and pertinent documents describing the process or outcomes of IBB were requested. Finally, based on practitioner reports, case studies, and the literature, a set of questions were developed for bargainers to discuss when considering the use of IBB and assessing the likelihood of its effectiveness in specific circumstances.
interest-based bargaining; negotiation; education; collective bargaining