Interest-Based Bargaining: A Possibility for PSU?

Back in May the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the PSU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the University went into effect. The formal negotiations for the next agreement are months away. However, it is not too soon for us to think about how to have healthier dialogs and agreements on the important issues.
This past year SEIU and PSU Human Resources used interest-based problem solving (IBPS) to help set up the Joint Communications and Consultation Committee. Given their success, I suggested to the AAUP leadership that we jointly explore interest-based bargaining (IBB) for our next contract.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service(FMCS) describes IBB as “a process that enables traditional negotiators to become joint problem-solvers. It assumes that mutual gain is possible, that solutions which satisfy mutual interests are more durable, that the parties should help each other achieve a positive result.”
IBB takes work and training on the part of all parties. Fortunately, The State of Oregon offers IBB training and prior to that training, “a trainer meets with representatives of both labor and management to help the parties assess their needs, desires, and chances for success. If following this assessment the parties want to try interest-based bargaining then a training agenda is developed to address the parties’ needs.”
I encourage AAUP and the University together to explore IBB. In the meantime, I remain optimistic that the work of the following task forces will make progress to address some still to-be-resolved items.
Status Update on CBA Task Forces
Meetings have already taken place and will continue to do so for joint labor/management task forces called for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement

Article 18, Section 9 task force will examine current employment terms and notice requirements for non-tenure track faculty. 
Article 27 task force will evaluate and consider revisions to the imposition of progressive sanctions. 

We hope to soon have the names from the Faculty Senate Steering Committee to convene the task force on Academic Quality and the task force on Family Friendly Policies. The Academic Quality task force will examine academic quality at Portland State. Topics to be suggested shall include: the elements of high quality teaching and high quality student support.  The Family Friendly task force will focus on the review of relevant University policies and practices, and identify possible changes to provide greater support and career options for employees balancing family and career.

I look forward to your thoughts on interest-based bargaining–is it right for us at this time?

One thought on “Interest-Based Bargaining: A Possibility for PSU?

  1. Interest Based Bargaining sounds like a great idea to explore. Our current bargaining practices are too divisive, which is a shame because I truly believe faculty and administration share the same values- the success of our students and faculty.

    For anyone interested in reading more, I’d recommend the below article which explains the process in some detail and highlights how IBB meshes with our shared governance environment:
    “Negotiating within a Shared Governance Format”, S.C. Wagner & C.H.Borgstrom, Niagra University


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