Labor Relations Negotiation

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Labor relations is one of the most mature subfields of negotiation and dispute resolution. There are rarely clear cut and mutually agreed upon notions of what a fair salary and benefits package would be, so employers and workers, either individually or collectively, often find themselves negotiating. Furthermore, labor relations is not limited to compensation. Other human resource issues, like safety concerns or tension between two employees, regularly surface in the workplace and need to be resolved. Effective negotiation and dispute resolution techniques can help parties engaged in labor and workplace-related disputes achieve desirable outcomes for all involved.

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of role-play exercises to help parties engaged in negotiations and labor-related dispute resolution hone their skills. The Brachton Collective Bargaining Exercise presents a more traditional labor negotiation in which groups representing a school committee and teachers union must reach consensus on various issues internally, then negotiate with each other. In the Costless Warehouse exercise, an individual recently fired based on accusations of embezzlement and his advocate face off against the firm, claiming that the real reason for the firing was racial prejudice. A wide range of industries and situations are covered in the suite of exercises available – from the negotiation of an endorsement deal between a young basketball player and a shoe company in Theotis Wiley to possible sexual harassment and wrongful dismissal in the Axis Affair.

Books available through the TNRC offer effective methodologies to those engaged in labor relations. The Human Side of Enterprise outlines seminal management theories and how they have had significant influence in practice. Workplace Dispute Resolution introduces effective ‘dispute management systems’.

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Role Simulations

Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Ad Sales, Inc.

Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue contract negotiation between management and union members of a publishing firm
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Axis Affair

Anita Ramasastry and Erin Monaghan
Two-party negotiation between attorneys for a male executive and a recently terminated female employee regarding allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Binder KadeerConsultation in the Company

Lawrence Susskind, Deborah Kolb, Paddy Moore, Margaret Borne and Peter Shapiro
Three- or four-party consultation by one or two human resources representatives to manage an affirmative action complaint by an employee against his supervisor
Role Simulation
Catherine Preston and Lawrence Susskind
Five-issue negotiation between three factory representatives and three Federal Environmental Agency representatives over the factory's new operational agreement, in the context of harsh public criticism of both parties
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Brachton Collective Bargaining Exercise

Two-team, multi-issue employment contract negotiation between three teachers' union representatives and three school committee representatives; includes internal team meetings before external negotiations
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Case of the Puerile Printer

Albie Davis and Ericka Gray
Six-party mediation with employees, employer, and legal counsel over the contested result of a sexual harassment grievance procedure
Role Simulation
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Chiptech

Deborah Kolb
Two-party negotiation between a company's chief financial officer and the head of the human resources department regarding the budget for the department's reorganization
Role Simulation
Health / Medicine / Pharmaceutical Negotiation Role-Play:

Clarke v. California Insurance Co., et al.

Harvard Negotiation Project and Hastings College of Law
Two-party distributive negotiation between counsel for an insurance company and the insured regarding a disability benefits settlement
Role Simulation
Lawrence Susskind, Charles Hecksher, and Elaine Landry
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining contract negotiation between three union representatives and three management representatives for a telephone company; includes an internal team meeting before external negotiations
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Contract Negotiations in the Building Trades

Lawrence Susskind
Nine-party, multi-issue contract negotiation among three coalitions involved in the building trades; includes internal coalition meetings before the external negotiations
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Costless Warehouse

Joe Voyticky
Four- or five-person negotiation to settle an employee's claim of discriminatory firing and employer's claim of illegal conduct; negotiators represent each party, with optional fifth role who knows confidential details of each party's case
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff I

Lawrence Susskind
Five-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff II

Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, consumer/community, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Role Simulation
Health / Medicine / Pharmaceutical Negotiation Role-Play:

Drug Testing in the Workplace

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Roger Winthrop
Three-person employment mediation between a truck driver and his company's personnel director, mediated by an Employee Assistance Program representative, regarding a positive drug test; a four-person version also includes a union representative
Role Simulation
Regulation Negotiation Role-Play:

Gadgets, Inc.

Cheri Peele and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, four-issue negotiation among a company's management and union representatives, environmental groups, and state and federal environmental agencies over fines and adoption of new technology in response to the company's illegal polluting
Role Simulation
Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Dale Bricker and Lawrence Poe
Two-team, six-issue negotiation between three teachers' union representatives and three school district representatives over a meeting agenda and a proposed wellness program, among other issues
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Harborco

Denise Madigan, Thomas Weeks, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation among representatives of a port developer, labor union, environmental coalition, other regional ports, governor's office, and department of coastal resources over a proposal to build a new deep-water port
Role Simulation
Robert Smith and Ericka Gray
Two-party, multi-issue negotiation between a human resources director and a prospective employee over terms of hire that highlight cultural differences
Role Simulation
Jennie Hatch & Kessely Hong
A three-party employment negotiation involving a mid-career student negotiating two job offers via email at the same time.
Role Simulation
Paddy Moore, with the assistance of Lawrence Susskind
Three-party negotiation among a company's human resources manager, senior manager, and a supervisor over whether to reverse plans to fire the supervisor's employee
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Kelly Corporation, The

Ron Karp and Bruce Patton
Three-party brief negotiation among a supervisor and two employees who are each asking for a raise
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Leaves Before the Fall

James K.L. Lawrence
Lawyers negotiate terms of an employer/employee dispute. The primary characteristic of the Leaves Before the Fall simulation is that the facts set out in each representative’s “confidential instructions” are the same – identical in every respect.
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Managing ChangeThe HR Challenge

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among human resource and line managers to create a plan for improving communication and outsourcing recruitment activities
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

MAPO – Administration Negotiation

Mark Gordon, Elizabeth Gray, Tim Rieser, and Lynn Gerber
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining negotiation between three police union representatives and three municipal representatives over police salaries, benefits, and working conditions
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Matter of Arthur Hangtough

JAMS/ Endispute
Two-party negotiation between representatives of a company and an employee over the terms of termination and severance pay amid charges of past sexual harassment by the employee
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

MC Metals

Dan Delisi, under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind and Paul Levy
Six-person integrative negotiation among representatives of manufacturing company, occupational safety agency, union, local fire department, and local technical expert to settle claims of safety violations that allegedly caused two employee deaths
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Office Imbroglio

Marjorie Corman-Aaron and JAMS/ Endispute
A two-party negotiation (or optional mediation) between a manager and employee regarding the employee's decline in job performance
Role Simulation
Education Negotiation Role-Play:

Phoenix, The

Sheila Heen and Michael Moffitt, based on a case by Doug Stone
Two-party negotiation between the director of a county tutoring program and a tutor regarding pay, work conditions, and job performance; ethnic differences are an issue
Role Simulation
Orion Kriegman and Stacie Nicole Smith, under the direction of Stacie Nicole Smith and David Fairman
Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Pullman Palace Car Company, its workers and others involved in a general strike, to address issues of workers' rights
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Salary Negotiation

Aleza Spalter
Two-party negotiation between a supervisor and employee over a possible salary raise in the context of mixed job performance
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Team Meeting

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld
Five-party, multi-issue, time-constrained negotiation among members of a factory work team, a union steward, and a supervisor over a range of individual agenda issues
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Termination Tempest

Marjorie Corman Aaron
Four-person, two-team settlement negotiation between a terminated employee and counsel, and the former employer and counsel, regarding possible settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit
Role Simulation
Gender Negotiation Role-Play:

Weathers and Evans

Douglas Stone
Two-party negotiation between a law firm partner and former associate regarding sexual harassment allegations
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Welding Connection

Marjorie Corman Aaron and Jim Lawrence
Four-person grievance mediation among counsel for a welding company, a union representative, and a discharged employee over the legitimacy of the discharge, which was based on a positive drug test
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Work Rules Strategy

Kathleen Valley
Two-team iterated scoreable prisoner's dilemma exercise set in a labor/management context

Video and Audio

Videos and Audio

Marjorie Corman Aaron and Dwight Golann

An unscripted, realistic demonstration of the mediation of an employment dispute
original
Videos and Audio

Gary J. Friedman, Jack Himmelstein, and Robert H. Mnookin

A mediation training video illustrating the non-caucus "Mediation through Understanding" model

Books

original
Book

Iris Bohnet

A "game-changer" that demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance.

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