Organization is a key aspect of any negotiation. The side side that is better organized will be more prepared for and more effective during discussion. You will utilize the Dropbox folder your side created to keep all your drafts, proposals and research organized throughout the process. You will be graded on the organization of your team’s Dropbox folder, and it will be very difficult to collect and organize all the documents needed the week your contract is due.
In order to stay organized, there are three different files that you should create and maintain through the negotiating process:
1. Status Sheet
2. Weekly Meeting Notes
3. K Language Reviewed
A status sheet helps to keep track of what K provisions you have bargained and what provisions still need to be negotiated. The status sheet notes what other contracts you reviewed to find the language and terms you used to draft a certain provision. It is recommended that you review at least five (5) other similar contracts before you draft a language proposal for each provision.
Follow these three steps when updating your status sheet:
Bold the CBA that you primarily used for the K provision you finally drafted.
Note who was primarily responsible for drafting the K language.
State the date you tentatively approved (TA’d) the contract language.
Tentatively approve (TA) means that both sides have agreed to the language at the table but that they must have either their membership (union) or board (employer) officially ratify and sign the CBA (contract) before the language is binding.
During every meeting that you have with the other side, you must keep detailed notes of the conversation. The notes should state the following:
Date, Time, Who was Present, Who was Absent
Topics or Provisions Discussed
Statements of Importance
Any TA’s made
Remember that your notes will help you if you ever have a disagreement about what your K language means or how to interpret your final contract. Notes will also be of great assistance if later there is an arbitration about the K language.
You do not have to show the other side your notes.
Both sides must take notes of each meeting. Each team should designate a person to take notes. This is a very important step in the negotiations process. Not only does taking notes help you remember what was discussed each night, but your notes also become your document of proof in the case of a disagreement with the other side as to what was agreed upon. If your notes are disorganized, incomplete or don’t include all important information, you will not be prepared.
Tips for Note Taking in Negotiations:
Note who was taking the notes
Note the time that the meeting starts and stops
Record who was present for the meeting from each side
Note if and when a break or caucus was taken
State each provision that was discussed
Record all proposals given and the key points of each proposal
Record each side’s response to the proposals
Do not try to take verbatim notes of the conversation. Record only key points.
CONTRACT (K) LANGUAGE REVIEWED
For your own records, you should save a copy of all contract (K) language that you reviewed when drafting each provision. This will allow you to review the contracts if there is ever question of what was meant or implied. To simplify your records, copy and paste ALL the contract (K) language you reviewed for each provision before drafting your K provision and put it into one document
For example, if you are looking at strike/lockout language: copy and paste into one document the five K sections you reviewed about strikes and lockouts. Make sure to state the CBA where you found the K section.