Turning the Tables: Transparent, Big, and Open Bargaining Study Group

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Despite the ongoing degradation of workplace and civic democracy, most unions can still choose to transform the negotiations process from a closed one with little input into a key lever for rebuilding robust worker participation.

2023 dates TBD
Online via Zoom

This study group is FREE

View the report:

How unions negotiate is a strategic choice. Seldom do union members experience the actual process of collective negotiations over issues that are crucial, urgent, and relevant to their own lives. The purpose of this study group is to discuss how negotiations can be different—very different—from what has become the norm.

Our hope is to build off the momentum begun by the release of UC Berkeley’s recent report, Turning the Tables: Power and Participation in Negotiations, to foment 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.

This three-session study group will focus on the “why” and “how” of moving towards transparent, big, and/or open negotiations (open is defined here as open to all workers covered by the collective agreement). In this study series, you will use our report to understand, debate, and discuss the advantages and challenges of shifting the way you negotiate.

Who, What, When, Where: The Essential Details

Who: You and a group of at least nine other people you recruit and coordinate before and during the study session.
When: Three Tuesday sessions on February 8, 15, and 22 from 5-7pm Pacific / 8-10pm Eastern on Zoom.
What: The study group will move through the Turning the Tables report. You will hear from unions featured in the report, have work time within your union to make plans to move to transparent, big, and/or open negotiations, and have the opportunity to meet unionists from around the US and Canada.

Once registered, your coordinator will be emailed the study guide and logistics for the first session.

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 ten people in order to register for this study group. Your team will need one coordinator to organize the meetings and readings for your group. Coordinators will attend a 30-minute orientation session prior to the study group to quickly review the sessions and best practices for using Zoom, leading discussions, and facilitating the discussion questions. Any coordinator who doesn’t feel comfortable 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. A Pro-level Zoom account will enable you 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 have access to a pro-level Zoom account.


Jane McAlevey

Senior Policy Fellow


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