The collective bargaining process should be a collaborative approach to problem solving in the workplace. This means that both parties at the bargaining table must be willing to hear the problems of the other side to ensure that a mutual understanding of the problems are developed. Communication and understanding is essential to reaching real solutions to workplace issues.
Imagine that you go into a dealership to buy a new truck. When you get there, a salesperson comes out to negotiate the purchase with you.
You start by saying that you want to buy a new truck with satellite radio because of remote travel, a navigation system for all travel, and 4 wheel drive for fishing trips. The salesperson goes to ask the sales manager if there is a truck available that meets your needs. The salesperson comes back and tells you that you don’t need satellite radio because all vehicles have AM/FM radios. He goes on to say that you don’t need a navigation system because there are only two or three roads in and out of northern Manitoba/Saskatchewan. He tells you that those are unreasonable “demands”. He refuses to tell you if there is a 4 wheel drive truck available and asks that you come back in 2 months to discuss a sale.
You go back in 2 months and the salesperson tells you that they are satisfied with their truck inventory but still won’t tell you if there is a truck that meets your needs. He then asks you to come back a month later.
Again you go back, but this time the salesperson tells you that the perfect truck is available for you. It doesn’t have satellite radio or a navigation system but you had already agreed at the first meeting that those were unreasonable “demands”. Also, it’s a 2 wheel drive truck but they have sold 6 of them already this week and all their customers are satisfied so you should buy one as well.
Would you buy a vehicle from this dealership or would you find another dealership that was willing to listen to you? Negotiation, whether for personal items or for a collective bargaining agreement, requires communication.