CAUT's newest educational course "Bargaining Team Training" was introduced in Vancouver at Simon Fraser University April 9 11, 2001. Twenty participants from faculty association bargaining teams at the University of British Columbia, University of Northern B.C., Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria took part in the training, as did the president and executive director of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of B.C.
"University administrations are pouring enormous financial resources into their negotiating efforts," said CAUT's chief bargaining officer Neil Tudiver. "We in turn have to gear up our own level of preparedness."
Delivered over an evening and two days, the course analyzed the current climate of collective bargaining at universities, and delved into specific topics such as strategy, communications, organizational structures, conflict resolution, table skills, and preparing positions based on member surveys and grievance experience. Day two of the event featured the teams going head-to-head in a full-scale bargaining simulation. "Things got a bit testy at our table," laughed one participant. "Even though it was role-playing, it was hard not to get a bit carried away."
Seasoned and novice negotiators took advantage of the opportunity to learn from presentations, engage in active and sometimes heated discussion, and practice their skills at the bargaining table.
The course was planned to coincide with the bargaining schedule of the participating associations, each of which will be in negotiations within the next few months. As one participant put it "We're at the table next week, so the timing was perfect. This was an excellent warm-up and now we're ready to rumble!"