Prepare for bargaining

As you begin bargaining, all the following steps should be done and are not offered in order of importance: 

  1. Have the employment agreement analyzed. Having a different set of eyes look at the contract can be very useful.
  2. Have a board/district goal-setting meeting. This should be held after the analysis is completed. It can be conducted in executive session and will give the board the opportunity to establish bargaining parameters for the team.
  3. Select the board’s team. Decide which board members and administrators will be representing the district.
  4. Get input from administrators. They work with the contract on a daily basis and will have a good sense of what works and doesn’t work well in the current contract.
  5. Review any changes to the law; there may be some significant ones since you last negotiated a contract.
  6. Gauge the impact of collective bargaining all elements of the school improvement and consolidated district improvement plans.
  7. Hire a negotiator. This will depend upon the needs of the district, abilities of the board and administration, and the history of bargaining in your district.
  8. Pick a spokesperson. It’s important that the board’s perspective comes from a single source throughout the course of negotiations.
  9. Gather economic information. This is crucial to the success of bargaining. The board will need to know the total cost of salaries, insurance benefits, and other economic benefits presently available to employees. Also important will be a scattergram of FTE on Salary Schedule, comparative information for similar districts, the CPI, and what funds will be available from the Oregon Legislature.

OSBA will be glad to assist you with all of the steps or to answer your questions about them.

Tips on creating labor-management committees