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’.