Role of Negotiator
The negotiator will meet with the president of the local and members of the executive board or the negotiation committee (if one is already formed) to discuss the following pertinent negotiation procedures:
Establishment of a Negotiating Committee: depending on the size of the local, the committee should represent elementary, middle, secondary levels as well as central office and site based admin
Surveying membership: members should be surveyed in regards to what they expect from these negotiations, i.e. Salary, health benefits, language, etc.
Bump and Run: initial meeting set up to confirm times & dates for meetings (at least 4 dates should be reserved); ground rules should be accepted/signed; agreement on the exchange of proposals (usually the next meeting) and a deadline set for the acceptance of new proposals (usually written into the ground rules)
Meeting Responsibilities: in most CFSA negotiations, the CFSA negotiator is the representative for negotiations. The spokesperson normally does all the talking. There may be times in which the spokesperson will ask someone from the committee to speak on a specific topic. Across the table, the attorney for the board or board chair will assume the same position as the spokesperson.
- Responsibilities for scripting/note taking should be delegated.
- Another helpful assignment would be for someone to watch the other members of the board’s committee in regards to body language: do they notice frowns, smiles change in composure when certain topics are mentioned?
Caucus: Do not be afraid to caucus if something comes up and clarity is called for. Passing notes to the spokesperson is an acceptable means of communicating. Caucusing should not be frequent or lengthy in time.
Initial Meeting: the initial meeting should comprise of an opening statement from both sides and the exchange of proposals. Each side should give their proposals, answering any doubts that may arise regarding proposals and then caucus to review the proposals received.
Second and Subsequent Meetings: depending on how the negotiating process is running, these encounters can be cordial or contentious. Depending on the number of proposals, you want to sign off on as many as you can. You are not going to get everything you request and neither is the board. Your proposals should be prioritized.
You will normally have two-three proposals that your membership would not oppose you to bring to mediation and/or arbitration.
Confidentiality: it is important that the committee does not discuss the events taking place at these meetings with members not part of the negotiations committee.
It is important to remember that you represent your entire membership and you need to negotiate accordingly.