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Panacea or Snake Oil? Interest-Based Bargaining in the U.S. Airline and Rail Industries

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This study of interest-based bargaining (IBB) examined past usage, current preferences, and future intentions to use this approach in U.S. airline and railroad labor negotiations. Based on a survey of eighty-four union and management chief negotiators, we found that the personal attributes of the chief negotiator (orientation toward relationships, personal conflict handling style, and competency in IBB approaches) were strong predictors of the past use of IBB. However, personal affinities and styles became irrelevant as experience with IBB accumulated. The negotiator's preferences for IBB in general were strongly correlated to his or her awareness of other carriers' and unions' experiences with IBB, as well as to his or her own direct experience. The negotiator's intention to use IBB in the future was also related to the quality of the contract personally obtained through IBB practices. The study also revealed the unpopularity of IBB among labor negotiators relative to their management counterparts.

Keywords: airline industry; collective bargaining; interest-based bargaining; labor relations; negotiation; railway industry

Document Type: Research Report


Publication date: April 1, 2010

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