Power and Participation in Negotiations

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“At a time when union demand is higher than it’s been in almost a century, Rules to Win By is required reading. This book is armor for the generation of workers poised to gain power worldwide for the working class.”
- Sara Nelson, int’l president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO

May 30, June 6, 13, and 20, 2024

5-7 pm Pacific / 8-10 pm Eastern on Zoom

Applications for 2024 are now closed

About this Workshop

How unions negotiate is a strategic choice. Union members seldom directly participate in the process of collective negotiations over issues that are crucial, urgent, and relevant to their own lives. This workshop will discuss how negotiations can be different—very different—from what has become the norm.

We will draw from Rules to Win By: Power and Participation in Negotiation by Jane McAlevey and Abby Lawlor to stimulate a robust conversation about collective bargaining: how it is practiced, how it can be improved, and how the practice and process of negotiations relate to power, union governance, and democracy in the workplace and beyond. At a time when large corporations are waging war against workers rights under the NLRA, and when workers are fighting to win first contracts at Starbucks, Amazon, and elsewhere, Power and Participation in Negotiations will teach urgently-needed skills to expand union members’ collective negotiations practices to build unity, commitment, and power, and strengthen union democracy.

This four-session workshop will focus on the “why” and “how” of moving towards high-power, high-participation negotiations, and is designed for unions at all stages of contract negotiations, including workers organizing for first contracts and workers organizing for new successor agreements, whether for a second, or even a fortieth, contract. Through examining the book’s case studies, participants will learn how workers can use the collective bargaining process to achieve transformative contracts through deep organizing and member-driven strategy. The workshop will show how an organized membership and high-power, high-participation negotiations are key to an effective system of collective negotiating. By the end of the workshop, each group will produce a plan to open their collective negotiations practice using the skills they have learned.

Who, What, When, Where: The Essential Details

  • Who: You and a group of at least nine other colleagues you recruit and coordinate before and during the study session.
  • When: Four Thursday sessions on May 30, June 6, 13, and 20, 2024, from 5-7 pm Pacific / 8-10 pm Eastern on Zoom.
  • What: The workshop will move through chapters of Rules to Win By: Power and Participation in Union Negotiations, discussing core concepts and how each union can implement them. Participants will hear from union members featured in the book, have work time within their unions to make plans to move to high-power, high-participation negotiations, and have the opportunity to meet and learn from unionists from around the U.S.
  • Course Fee: $200 for a group of 10 people. The charge for each additional participant is $20.
  • Once registered, each group’s coordinator will receive the study guide and logistics for the first session upon acceptance via email. Each participant will receive a copy of the book included with the registration fee. The registration deadline is Friday, April 19, 2024.

Organizing Your Team

Successful organizational change typically results from a team endeavor, not a solo effort. For this reason, we are requiring you to create a team of at least 10 people in order to register for this workshop. Each team will need a coordinator to organize the meetings and readings for the group. Coordinators will attend a 30-minute orientation session prior to the workshop to quickly review the sessions and best practices for using Zoom, leading discussions, and facilitating the discussion questions. Any coordinator who is not experienced with Zoom can stay longer in the orientation session to practice some key Zoom tools. A pro-level Zoom account is required for the coordinator; it will enable them to host a meeting for longer than the 40-minute limit of a basic Zoom account. Anyone is eligible to serve as a coordinator if they are committed and well organized, and can access a pro-level Zoom account.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Avila, eavilaa@berkeley.edu.



Jane McAlevey

Senior Policy Fellow


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