Tonight, I'm flying out on a red-eye to Washington, DC to joint the majority of the National Board as we begin a new round of Master Agreement negotiations with the agency.
Last time we met for Master, the agency's position took a surprising turn; they agreed that when we returned to the table again that we would attempt to resolve as many of the disputes that we have over potential contract language through interest based bargaining (IBB).
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service defines interest based bargaining this way:
"Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) is a different way to negotiate. In the right situation, it is an alternative, replacing traditional positional bargaining with a process of joint problem-solving."*
Based on over 11 years of fairly hostile negotiations over the Master Agreement, our outlook as to whether or nor IBB will work is 'cautiously optimistic'.
For ease of contact, I'll be three hours ahead of PDT on the clock; you can check this time zone map if you need to.
Stay tuned, more updates to come...
* To read more about IBB go to the FMCS web page on the subject.