Leanne Serbulo, VP of Collective Bargaining
Bargaining has officially begun! Thanks to all of you who came out for our joint bargaining kick-off action with PSUFA, the union that represents our part-time colleagues. Together, our voices filled the Park Blocks and echoed through the Market Center Building. President Wiewel heard our message, and your energy, strength and commitment to excellence, accessibility and affordability in higher education will help carry us through this round of contract negotiations.
The day after the rally, both teams began our two-day Interest–Based Bargaining Training. It was conducted by Janet Gillman, the state conciliator who also served as our mediator when we settled our contract last year. On Thursday, we were joined by Eric Noll and Rayleen McMillan (student representatives from ASPSU) and Provost Sona Andrews. Friday’s attendance was limited to members of the two bargaining teams.
The Interest-Based Bargaining process consists of seven steps:
1. Framing the Problem: The party that identified an issue will frame it as an open-ended problem and share stories or data.
2. Exchanging Data: If more data is needed to understand the problem or determine solutions, both teams will collect the information they need and bring it to the next session.
3. Identifying Interests: The two teams state their underlying interests, describing why the issue is important to their constituencies and outlining what needs to be addressed in the solutions generated.
4. Inventing Options: The parties brainstorm options to address the problem, then evaluate options based on the parties’ interests.
5. Evaluating Options: The two teams (hopefully) come to consensus on the best option.
6. Selecting a Solution: We work together to develop a mutually beneficial solution.
Traditional bargaining includes many of these same steps, but they tend to happen away from the table. In IBB, the two parties work through the process together.
The Interest-Based Bargaining process is long and laborious, but it can be a useful method for addressing some of the deep-rooted issues at PSU if both teams come to the table with a willingness to be transparent; have the authority and ability to share information; and are committed and open to new ideas. During the training, both teams expressed a desire to come to an agreement before our contract expires.
The two teams began practicing IBB last Friday to create ground rules for this round of negotiations. When we meet again tomorrow (May 15), we hope to finish establishing ground rules; hear the administration’s issues for this round of negotiations; and set a schedule for summer bargaining. We will share what we learn and accomplish with you.