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ILRLR 2050: Labor Relations (Spring 2024): Get Ready to Bargain!

Film: Final Offer

The film Final Offer is regularly shown in collective bargaining classes at the ILR School:

"Because the filmmakers were given unparalleled freedom to record the historic 1984 contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors Corporation, Final Offer provides a vividly accurate portrait of a high-level labour negotiation. This film is an invaluable document for anyone interested in the complexities of United States-Canada relations. It's an extraordinary film about revolutionary events."  

Watch the film at the National Film Board of Canada website.

Get Ready to Bargain! 10 Steps

  1. Select your negotiators and their roles.  Assign preparation tasks for team members.  Set up strategy meetings.  Decide on time and place of negotiation.
  2. Know the law and file the appropriate notices.
  3. Get familiar with previous negotiations at your company or within the union or industry.
  4. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current contract (or similar contracts, if no information on the current contract is given).  What, if any, parts have resulted in grievances?
  5. Find out what the people want.  Union leaders can poll their members.  Management negotiators should be familiar with any supervisory issues or requirements from the executive team. 
  6. Review other collective bargaining agreements to discover any industry patterns or new, novel contract components.
  7. Find accurate economic data on wages, benefits, and other compensation.  Get information on the relevant labor markets and industries. 
  8. Find out all you can about the other side.  What is the standing of the union with its members and as perceived by society?  Is the company viable?  Does it have the ability to pay for the union's demands? 
  9. Come to the bargaining session armed with good data and a positive attitude!  
  10. Know the costs of the contract, including the costs of unsuccessful negotiations.