Lessons from labor negotiations

According to early ballot reports, 67% of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) workers voted to approve a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) which represents the West Coast ports. The extension would last until July 1, 2022 in an attempt to avoid any negotiating delays like the ones that lead to severe disruptions in 2014 and 2015. The contracts include pay raises, healthcare benefits and pension increases, providing a strong position as the ILWU moves forward to negotiate with the East Coast ports as their contract expires on September 30, 2018.

The lengthy negotiation process highlights the work and preparation that goes into a thorough and complete democratic process of voting and working with large scale labor contracts. While the average negotiation pales in scope, there are valuable lessons to glean from their processes. Both management and workers negotiate based on performance and forecasting. The intense preparation and research that goes into the negotiations would benefit all workers looking to move into a promotion or secure a better position.

Knowing your strengths, providing documented information of performance and achievement, and being patient enough to wait for the iron to get hot before rushing into a negotiation are the benchmarks of a prepared candidate. We all have a vision of how our negotiation or interview will unfold. That vision should include arriving prepared to demonstrate our value by highlighting our successes, explaining our missteps (with details on what actions we took to correct them and how our actions benefited the situation), and providing measurable reasons why we deserve the position for which we’re applying.

It’s difficult to rationalize our value without preparation and information. Just having a desire and drive isn’t always enough to catapult us out of our current jobs. Not only are employers more likely to bend further in a negotiation when facts are presented, but the act of preparing and presenting our case well in advance is often seen as a favorable, if unspoken, quality.

BCS Placement takes time to work with companies and ascertain their individual needs for positions to be filled. We take the time and devote our knowledge to choosing candidates that will be a smooth fit into both the work and the company culture. By preparing our candidates in advance and understanding how their skills will translate, we ensure further stability into their job search. If you read our previous blog on the Six Tips to Get That Promotion, you’ll see how preparation fits into each individual step. Excellent work and excellent workers don’t happen overnight. Each success is a culmination of months of preparation and we at BCS Placement are here to help our clients prepare for the success of their company and of their staff.

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