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Labor–Management Relations: Understanding and Practicing Effective Negotiations

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Periodic collective bargaining between employers and unions, combined with contract administration and workplace dispute resolution, has provided many core insights for the broad field of negotiations. Over the past twenty-five years, this arena has advanced knowledge regarding the interdependence of integrative and distributive bargaining, the concurrent shaping of attitudes, the management of internal relations (within a party), and the roles of elected and appointed agents. Public sector negotiations have provided new insights into the dynamics of multilateral bargaining as well as a broad array of mediation and arbitration models. While the number of labor agreements negotiated each year has declined over the past half century, at least 23,000 private sector agreements are still executed each year and fundamental changes in industrial relations systems make continued attention to labor–management negotiations of increasing importance. In particular, this arena now features highly structured approaches applying interest-based bargaining principles and presents profound challenges as power relations shift in multiple ways.

Keywords: collective bargaining; concession bargaining; constituencies; cooperation; distributive bargaining; integrative bargaining; interest-based bargaining; labor–management relations; negotiations; power; unions

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2009


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