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Master's Professional Reports Abstract



Integrative bargaining in higher education: the University of Montana experiment
Carmichail, Virginia
REPORT 2000 C2121 Public Affairs Library

Only a few unionized college or university faculties have experimented with integrative instead of traditional collective bargaining, even though it promises higher mutual gains and reinforces and extends the concept and practice of academic shared governance. The experience of the University Teachers Union in 1994 at the University of Montana is instructive for other faculties, campus administrations, and state governing bodies that see potential benefits from more broadly-based and collaborative planning, decision-making, and problem-solving in higher education. The Montana negotiators in that first experiment with collaborative negotiations now agree on the importance of including all stakeholders; ensuring they have the authority to negotiate a binding agreement; following and fully exploiting the formal procedures of integrative bargaining; acquiring thorough and ongoing training; developing shared meanings of working terms; developing and sharing necessary information; communicating effectively with constituencies and soliciting their feedback and participation; and drafting a clear agreement with clear assignment of implementation, evaluation, and reporting responsibility. In Montana, although the negotiators fell short of realizing the maximum gains of integrative bargaining, and although neither the commissioner nor the governor currently support collaborative negotiations, there have been both material gains in terms of improved faculty salaries and educational productivity and quality at the University of Montana, as well as less tangible gains in terms of articulated and acknowledged interests and improved faculty-administration communications.