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Dealing with the Union - with Confidence!


Focus on the most essential issues and practices facing professionals who work directly with unions and union contracts. Arm yourself with easy-to-apply tools for confidently handling unions at the bargaining table, in grievance meetings and in arbitration. Never again be at a disadvantage.

This class has been approved for 23.75 general credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification.

This class has been pre-approved by the Society for Human Resource Management for 28 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) towards the SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP.

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the legal, tactical and strategic elements of the collective bargaining process
  • Examine successful techniques for dealing with union situations 
  • Analyze important contract clauses

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Course Outline/Topics

Program Agenda

Day One: 8:30am-Noon
Collective Bargaining: What You Need to Know About the Law

  • An introduction to the statutory duty to bargain
  • Mandatory, permissive and illegal subjects of bargaining
  • Elements of good or bad faith
  • Impasse and why it is important
  • The duty to furnish information
  • Strikes and lockouts
    - Illegal strikes
    - Replacement workers
    - Violence
  • Enforcement of contracts

Day One: 1-4pm
Collective Bargaining: How Do You Begin?

  • Selecting the bargaining team and defining the roles to be performed
  • Assessing the union's team
  • Developing language proposals
    - Identifying the real problem
    - How to convert a manager's need into a contract demand
  • Developing an economic negotiating position
    - Costing a contract
    - Market, industry and community considerations
  • How to structure the initial proposal
    - The use of straw men
  • Employee communications

Day Two: 8:30am-Noon
Collective Bargaining: The Content of a Contract

  • Important contract clauses - Management rights
    - Union security
    - No strike clause
    - Seniority provisions
    - Grievance/arbitration
  • Dissecting contractual language
    - Terms of art in contracts
    - Pro-company vs. pro-union language
    - How arbitrators find intent

Day Two: 1-4pm

  • The first meeting goals and objectives
  • How to say no
  • Value of caucuses
  • The art of signaling
  • When and how to show movement
  • Keeping your powder dry
  • Understanding timing
  • The psychology of bargaining
    - The importance of process
    - The importance of risk evaluation
    - The importance of need identification
    - The importance of crisis
    - The importance of resolution
  • Summary and mock negotiation exercise

Day Three: 8:30-11:30am
Contract Administration

  • Post-negotiation matters - Drafting the new agreement
    - Preserving your bargaining history
    - Communicating the new agreement to employees
    - Assessing how well the organization accomplished its goals
    - Supervisory training on the new agreement
    - Preventing supervisors from giving back what you fought to obtain
    - Monitoring new or changed provisions
    - Record keeping - the first step toward preparing for the next negotiations
  • The union steward
    - The proper role
    - Controlling the runaway steward
    - Weingarten Rights - What they are and what they are not

Day Three: 12:30-3:30pm
Effective Contract Administration and Enforcement

  • The anatomy of a collective bargaining agreement - What is it and how does it work?
  • Practical suggestions for getting the most out of the agreement
  • Designing an employer friendly grievance procedure
  • Keeping employee complaints from becoming grievances

Day Four: 8:30-11:30am
Contract Administration

  • Contract interpretation grievances - How your contract can and should be applied.
  • Discipline and discharge grievances
    - Due process, progressive discipline, to settle, to fight, to win
  • Breaches of the no strike clause
  • The duty of fair representation-Its impact on employer grievance resolution

Day Four: 12:15-3pm

  • The legal setting - Can the dispute be arbitrated? Is the decision really final and binding?
  • Arbitration strategy and tactics
  • Pre-hearing preparation - Winning your case before the hearing starts
  • The arbitration hearing - Witness presentation, burdens of proof, rules of evidence
  • Post-hearing persuasion, the closing argument, post-hearing briefs
  • How arbitrators really decide who wins

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This program can be applied toward the:

Mon.-Thu., Sept. 14-17
Location: UWM School of Continuing Education (Click link for directions)
    Gary A. Marsack, President, Lindner & Marsack, SC, Milwaukee, WI
    Jason C. Kim, Partner, Neal, Gerber, & Eisenberg
$1545: Register by Mon., Aug. 31
$1595: Register on or after Tue., Sept. 1 Discount Available
CEUs: 2.5
Program No. 5045-7957
Register Now
For more information, contact:
Mary Piwaron, Associate Outreach Specialist,, 227-3216


Spring 2015 Labor Relations Brochure

Or download the pdf

HRCI Approved
HR Certification Institute Approved Provider
This class has been approved for 23.75 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification.

Comments on this Program
"This seminar will help anyone in LR or HR to deal competently with the union. This was most definitely worth the time and money."
Brandy Jones
HR Generalist