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A Labor Day Lesson

ADR Prof Blog by Andrea Schneider, Michael Moffitt, Sarah Cole,Art Hinshaw, Jill Gross and Cynthia Alkon.

The New York Times carried a story today about a labor union that is often afraid to ask for more or confront management. In New York, members of the Federation of Catholic Teachers are reportedly working without a contract and as a group tend to not want to confront management, the Archdiocese. When teaching negotiation, I often talk about negotiating in a way that is consistent with your underlying values. However, what to do when your values stress obedience and not questioning authority and management is not responsive to an interest based approach?

It seems that in earlier times, the members of this same union decided that a little confrontation was not contrary to their basic values. In 2008, after going for months without a contract, they launched a series of targeted one-day strikes. The result: they got a new 3 year contract with a 15% raise spread over four years.

This, according to the NY Times, is the Labor Day lesson: “There are times when people in power will not listen until confronted by people with power.”

For the full story, click here


Cynthia Alkon

Cynthia Alkon joined the faculty at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 2010. She was an assistant professor of law at the Appalachian School of Law from 2006-2010. Prior to joining academia, Professor Alkon was a criminal defense lawyer and worked in rule of law development in Eastern Europe and Central… MORE >

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