HR Policy Association

Elements of Bargaining

The Elements of Collective Bargaining

A 3-Day Course | Lecture & Intense Negotiation Simulations

Here are the basics: know the law, plan, strategize, prepare, and then negotiate. This series covers all the bases of collective bargaining set in a challenging environment in one high-intensity session.

We begin with an overview of the law of collective bargaining, alerting participants to potential legal snares and pitfalls that may entrap them during the course of negotiations. Then we outline all the steps necessary to prepare for bargaining, from developing a successful strategy and briefing senior management, to choosing the negotiating team and ensuring all resources are ready and available. Next, we instruct participants on the art of negotiations. Not only do they learn the protocols and conventions of collective bargaining, but also the subtleties of moving negotiations to a successful close. 

Finally, there is a very realistic collective bargaining simulation based on a mythical case study involving contemporary issues, with all participants on management teams.

A unique aspect of this simulation is that the participants all serve on management teams, negotiating with the Association’s skilled, experienced “Union” negotiators to provide a realistic learning experience.

Below is a breakdown of the four sections of the course.

Bulleted list of who should attend and what you will learn with the US Labor Professional Certification



Participants who have taken this course have described it as the HR Policy Association’s Boot Camp for Bargainers because of the degree to which it emulates actual bargaining conditions.

This 3.5-day course covers the essential elements of collective bargaining negotiations:

  • Overview of the Law of Collective Bargaining
  • Developing a Negotiating Strategy — Planning & Preparing for Collective Bargaining
  • Collective Bargaining Negotiations — Techniques and Contract Costing
  • A realistic collective bargaining simulation with all participants serving on management teams

More details on each section are provided below.


Section 1: Overview of the Law of Collective Bargaining

This first section of the Elements of Collective Bargaining course is designed primarily to identify potential problem areas during the collective bargaining process that may arise under the National Labor Relations Act. This area of the law is extremely complex, and simply knowing when to seek assistance from corporate labor counsel may keep negotiators from inadvertently taking an action with adverse consequences.

Section 2:  Developing the Negotiations Strategy—Planning & Preparing for Collective Bargaining:

This section of the course is the necessary first step in preparing the company negotiator or negotiating team for upcoming bargaining. It covers each and every step for assembling the resources and skill sets in advance of the commencement of bargaining, focusing on the various approaches to choosing and implementing a successful negotiating strategy.  Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran, there is no underestimating the breadth of preparation necessary to achieve the company’s objectives, avoid a strike or other serious economic disruptions, and reach a ratified agreement that holds up for the duration of the contract. Our instructors share their insights and experiences on negotiating strategies and tactics, communicating with management, and choosing the right people to ensure a successful outcome in collective bargaining.  Simply stated, preparation is the key to successful negotiations. By the time the Developing a Negotiating Strategy section has been completed, the participant will have received a thorough grounding in all aspects of preparing to bargain successfully.

Section 3:  Collective Bargaining Negotiations— Techniques and Introduction to Costing

Once the team has fully prepared itself for bargaining, it is now ready to sit down at the table and begin serious negotiations. Here we’ll discuss what happens when you open the negotiations room door and face a real union team with human reactions. The course covers all aspects of the process and art of negotiations—working through proposals and counter-proposals, learning to handle and anticipate the pressures during negotiations, and determining the best way to achieve a final agreement within management’s predefined parameters. This course places great emphasis on bringing the negotiations to a close in a way that minimizes harm to the company and its employees and achieves senior management’s objectives.

Section 4:  Simulated Bargaining of an Agreement Based on Case Study

After the completion of classroom instruction, the participants separate into bargaining teams and begin preparing for simulated negotiations under the guidance of veteran negotiators. Bargaining begins that evening, and continues the following day. During the day, the pressure is on to complete negotiations by the late-night contract expiration deadline. The following morning, the company teams present the negotiated contract to senior management for review. The session concludes with a review of what went right and what went wrong during the negotiations and a discussion of lessons learned.


HR Policy Association’s training courses are recognized by industry partners as qualified continuing education credits.  The training staff will work with participants to provide curricula description and attendance verification so that participants may obtain proper recognition for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits or other continuing education requirements in professional certification programs.

Please call the HR Policy Association at (202) 789-8670 for further details.