Impasse Procedures Part 2 Iowa Professional Fire Fighters University of Iowa Labor Center
Educate the Arbitrator • The arbitrator probably knows nothing about your city, your union, your contract or your bargaining history. • The arbitrator probably knows a little about general economic conditions, but nothing about the specifics of your employer or your bargaining unit. • The arbitrator probably knows something about what is going on this year in other cities (maybe more than you). • Give the arbitrator some background information, especially if there is something special or unique about your city.
Impasse Hearings • What are we trying to do? • Trying to persuade the neutral that our final offer is more reasonable. • Combination educational lecture, sales pitch, and trial.
Comparability is Important • Comparison of wages, hours and conditions of employment of the involved public employees with those of other public employees doing comparable work, giving consideration to factors peculiar to the area and classifications involved. • If comparability hurts us, then focus on the “peculiar” factors.
Build Your Own Credibility • Present the information in a way that sounds neutral. • Give your sources and/or describe your methods.
Sources • The Internet, duh! • City Assessor/Finance Director • Bond Prospectus • Bargaining Notes • PERB Website (especially for comparables)
Spin the Data • Present the information in whatever form is most dramatic or persuasive. • Don’t make it up.
Arbitration Strategy • Keep it simple. Arbitrators have short attention span and get paid by the day. • Proposals should be simple enough to explain in a few words. • Total number of arbitrated issues should be small, 2-5. • Disadvantages to a single issue.
Arbitration Strategy • Present your best arguments/evidence. • If you have 15 reasons why you should win an issue, give the arbitrator your two or three best reasons and forget the rest. • Present your evidence in a way that is easy to understand and as dramatic as possible. (Pictures, graphs, etc.) • Package it in a way that’s easy to use and transport. (Remember the arbitrator will have to haul it home.)
The Message Box I’d like to go out with you Have you seen that new movie? Do you have big plans for the weekend? Are you going to hear AC/DC on Saturday? I’m thinking of checking out that new BBQ restaurant. Do you know if it’s any good? Do you need a ride? Do you know anything about computers? Do you like mud wrestling?
The Message Box Our wages are lower than anybody else. We need a big pay raise. No one wants to work here anymore. Other City employees seem to be doing better than us. Our last few raises were pitifully small. The City has plenty of money. Prices are really going up, much faster than our pay. We’re working harder than ever.