RELEASE: New Report on Collective Bargaining Best Practices with Jane McAlevey

May 6, 2021
Contact: Van Nguyen, vann@berkeley, (415) 506-8054

New Report on Collective Bargaining Best Practices with Jane McAlevey

BERKELEY, CALIF. – High transparency and high participation are key elements to winning contract negotiations in today’s challenging union climate, according to a new report released today by the UC Berkeley Labor Center. This release comes on the heels of President Joe Biden launching the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers.

Turning the Tables: Participation and Power in Negotiations highlights successful models of collective bargaining rooted in energizing and engaging the entire union membership. This comprehensive report offers practical information, tools, and resources for unions and workers to engage in effective contract negotiations, build workplace democracy, and win good contracts.

“Our report findings show what it takes to win at the negotiations table,” said Jane McAlevey, lead report author and senior policy fellow at the UC Berkeley Labor Center. “How unions negotiate is always a strategic choice. One way that unions can empower workers in contract negotiations is to ensure that methods, mechanisms, policies are in place to promote high transparency and high participation.”

The negotiation process in the United States typically involves a small committee of mid- to lower-level management and their lawyers negotiating with a small committee of workers who are selected to represent the majority. The report illustrates an alternative approach to bargaining that directly engages the entire unionized workforce, featuring case studies of workers in industries where unions have been expanding in recent years, including Boston hotel workers, educators in New Jersey, nurses in rural Massachusetts and Philadelphia, and reporters from the Los Angeles Times and Law360. The negotiations discussed were conducted between 2016 and 2019 and involved five unions in which workers achieved breakthroughs in their final contracts. Turning the Tables also provides a step-by-step guide on how unions and workers can practice this approach.

“With the most pro-worker and pro-union White House in the past century, we have a real opportunity to effectively challenge income inequality,” said McAlevey. “As President Biden acts to promote worker organizing and strengthen the collective bargaining process, the findings from this report are perfectly timed.”

View the report: