Negotiation is a crucial process necessary in streamlining out daily activities in life. It is a skill needed by individual groups, business communities and unions in seeking the quest to reach a specified goal through agreements, concessions, and demands. The negotiation process is motivated by worries and aggrieves concerning a specific situation which requires change. Therefore, the urge to negotiate comes when the aggrieved parties such as the unions, come together and agree on what they want, and what is available. The process follows specific procedures and commitment which requires every party to actively and progressively deal with the other party. Additionally, negotiation functions best through a joint payoff, or when it serves as a method of discovering mutual interests, therefore this article examines concepts, skills, and techniques that I can use to bring the public works, fire, police and the general workers union Spanish city, back to the negotiating table.
According to Runde, Flanagan & Center for Creative Leadership (2010), negotiation refers to the process where parties’ unions and groups work in harmony, and arrives at a mutually agreed resolution of one or more issues such as the elimination of pension benefits, minimizing vacation hours for employees, and pay cuts to the employees. Negotiation process takes the form of bargaining on the take and offer agreement, and makes the parties involved appreciate the commitment and results to achieve in terms of negotiations hence it tends to have greater durability and strengths knitted fabrics. Nonetheless, orders that leave employees or unions without a choice is not negotiation, but a competitive sport aimed to crush or punish opposing members.
When negotiating family concerns, peace settlements or engaging in the collective bargaining agreement, the negotiating parties should use positional bargaining in making concessions to reach a compromise. The best-negotiating strategy must be fairly judged using specified criteria such as the ability to produce a wise agreement, its efficiency in building a relationship with other parties, and the ability to meet legitimate interests of all the groups in resolving conflicting interests and taking into account the interest of all parties. Taking positions as an employer and union member serves some useful purpose in negotiation because it tells the other party what is needed, and also provides a benchmark for uncertainties (Runde et al., 2010).
When employees and the employer find themselves in a dilemma about the issue regarding pension benefits, pay cuts and reducing vacation hours, they can use either hard negotiation strategy or a soft negotiation strategy. As a director of human resource, I can negotiate collective bargaining using soft negotiation, which is the best way of making concessions agreement, and avoid personal conflict with the union members, and also the City manager of Spanish Moss. Soft negotiation is an effective strategy which can help me reach an amicable solution. By contrast, I can use hard negotiation as a measure of the last resort, to make the union members agree with my proposal. However, hard negotiation is an ineffective strategy because the union members will view the situation as a contest of will where the party in a more extreme position holds out longer fares better (Runde et al., 2010).
Union members and the employer may view negotiation as either cooperative or confrontational. Confrontational negotiation refers to a zero-sum game where a limited number of bargaining agreements are to be won and is characterized by a misunderstanding of what negotiation is all about. When the confrontational negotiator wins, the losing party may not like the outcome of the deal, for example, the four union members of City of Spanish Moss such as the fire, police, general employee’s public works unions will decline to discuss similar challenges and concerns in the future. However, If I use cooperative approach negotiation, then I can address a wide range of interest and bring the four union members back to the negotiating table. Collaborative approach negotiations use a broad range of interests to agree about pay cuts and eliminate pension benefits. The cooperative approach negotiation is premised on the understanding that bargaining is a way of creating values for negotiating parties, rather than a zero-sum game, and emphasizes on the importance of all stakeholders in winning something, thus building a long term mutually beneficial relationship (Runde et al., 2010).
As a director of human resource, I can negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the four union members on behalf of the city through an interest base negotiation because it is effective in an institution with workplace diversity. The interest-based negotiation approach enables me to agree with workers who are cultural, economically and ethnically different and helps us get beyond the actual difference which creates an obstacle to our agreement. When reaching to an agreement, I must focus on the interests of the four union employees rather than our disagreements about the pay cut and the elimination of pension benefits. Focusing on the employee’s interests forms a building block upon which our agreement is based, therefore enabling me to convince the union members about the issue (Runde et al., 2010).
In institutions and place of work, the employers and the employee, disagree about various issues such as the implementation of a new system, or a specific strategy to pursue, and may also engage in turf wars about whom gets to lead the website redesign project. The conflict can bring a lot of negative emotions, resentment, anger and frustrations; therefore, there is the need to lay the groundwork for a stable relationship, to enable the union members to agree towards engaging in a constructive talk (Runde et al., 2010).
The reduction of vacation hours, pay cuts plans and removal of all pension for new employees, are strategies which the city of Spanish Moss manager, aims to use, to help the city meet its financial obligation, and avoid mass layoffs of union workers. However, the protest of union staff and the failure to reach to an agreement about the demands by the county boss illustrates that the conflict may derail projects and also damage client’s relationship, or even result to the loss of company business (Runde et al., 2010).
The underlying causes of the disagreement and the wrong party do not matter, but what matters is agreeing on a constructive talk about the issues without angering the unions. As the director of human resource, I can begin a productive discussion about the pay cuts, reduction of vacation hours and elimination of pension benefits by understanding the challenges facing the unions. It is crucial for me to realize their thoughts about the source of conflict and the root of disagreement, then engage a constructive talk with the union. The roots of the dispute will enable me to figure out what is happening, address the conflict, thus giving me the chance to engage the members in a constructive talk about the issue (Runde et al., 2010).
I can engage in a constructive talk with the union employees by sorting out the goals and the intention of the bargaining agreement. The goals include moving forward county’s stalled projects, and helping the city meets its financial obligation and risks. Sorting out the goals and the intentions of the city will help the union members understand that the benefits of the agreement are necessary to save the city and also in preventing the layoff of city employees. Sorting and discussing out the organization’s goals with the union members will also help the members focus on how to rebuild trust and move on with the harsh condition implemented by the county boss. Moreover, I can begin by framing the conversation by empathizing with the union members about their feelings, so that I can get off on the right foot for a talk about the pay cut issues, without angering the unions. Empathizing with the union members helps in forming a bond which enables us to focus on the agreement. However, there is the need to manage the emotions and feelings of the emotions of the union members, by listening to their viewpoints and perspectives, which are directed towards the goal of finding a solution to the underlying conflict (Runde et al., 2010).
Managing the needs of the employees and union members is a multi-agency responsibility. However, one may view the task of solving specific challenges in an organization, as a role that falls within a particular docket. Nonetheless, the overall and specifically the top leadership structure has a unique responsibility to ensure that the needs of the union employees are met, and also the organization operates effectively and efficiently (Runde et al., 2010).
The city manager is best positioned to serve as the company’s voice, in the presence of the union members. However, most organization’s decisions are made in the absence of union employees, yet their contributions, thoughts, and perspectives are essential in ensuring that the operations of the city run out as planned. As the director of human resource, I can solve the problem of incompetence through empathy. Empathy technique involves organizing communications with the city manager and union employees, and position the manager in my position to receive questions and priorities expressed by the union members, and also explain his intention of the agreement directly to the union employees. Placing the city manager in my original position as a director of the human resource manager, in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, is a technique that enables them to understand and assume my values, priorities, and position in negotiating collective bargaining agreements on behalf of the city (Runde et al., 2010).
As the director of human resource, I can also serve as the union’s voice to the city manager, and explain their reasons for rejecting the agreement. If the city manager understands a clear and precise reason for rejecting the deal, then the allegations about my lack of competence would have been solved. A thorough explanation and concept about the concerns of union members is a strategy which helps the city manager assure the union employees that their voices have been heard and has received appropriate weight in the process of improving the revenue of the city, helping the city meet its financial obligations and preventing a massive layoff of the city employees (Runde et al., 2010).
Most organizations contain the human resource policy framework that guides the staffs responsible in managing the welfare of the union members, make the right and appropriate step in negotiating with the union employees. As the director of human resource, I can present the organization’s human resource policy to the city manager, and assure them that I followed the appropriate channel, procedure, law, and ethical principle when negotiating a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of the city with the union members. I can also use the organization’s human resource policy, in explaining to the manager about my accountability in adhering to the expectations of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. A clear and precise explanation about the operations of the organization’s human resource policy can help the city manager realize that I followed the appropriate channel. Moreover, it will also make them correct any situation which violates or threatens the plans to come up with a workable negotiation for a collective bargaining agreement, for example laying me off (Runde et al., 2010).
Employers and employees must work together to ensure that the companies achieve their mission, and objectives, therefore it is essential for the manager of the Spanish city to promote ethical discernment. Ethical conflicts and dilemmas affect the decision about the negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement; therefore, the top leadership of the Spanish city must support careful and thoughtful deliberations when faced with numerous competing interests, goods or harms. The top administration of the city must also recognize the need to bring necessary resources into play, in discerning the best course of action to take for the best interest of the city, and also in consideration to the needs of the union members working for the city (Runde et al., 2010).
Solving and addressing conflict within an organization such as the Spanish city requires an integrative approach between the affected workers or employees and also the top, middle and the lower management of an organization. The integrative approach helps each member present at the negotiating table, prioritize the concerns and problems that each party face, and identify the relevant strategies which can be used to avoid or minimize the complaints and interests of each member. An integrative approach will contribute towards a satisfactory agreement thus resolving conflict with the unions and the city manager (Runde et al., 2010).
Conflicts are part and parcel for the progress of families, groups and even organization operation; therefore, it is essential for the top management to appreciate and recognize the presence of potential conflict, and implement measures which the organization can use to solve and negotiate collective bargaining agreements. The proposals should be premised on the organization’s human resource policy and principles, and also the states and federal laws. The conflict resolution strategies must be structured in such a way that every party is satisfied. The principle should also give each party time to think about the proposed agreement, and how it will affect the other party, therefore Spanish city can only increase its revenue without laying off some of its employees, through a workable strategy.
Runde, C. E., Flanagan, T. A., & Center for Creative Leadership. (2010). Developing your conflict competence: A hands-on guide for leaders, managers, facilitators, and teams. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.