Negotiating teams for the Brookdale Community College Administrative Association (BCCAA) and Professional Staff Association (BCCPSA) met jointly with the negotiating team for the college Feb. 7 to begin a different kind of bargaining process. The process, called Interest Based Bargaining (IBB), is based on partnership and mutual respect.
Unlike traditional negotiations, where one side makes a demand and another accepts or rejects the demand, IBB negotiating sessions center on problems or subject areas (called issues) to be addressed and the needs or concerns behind these issues, which may often be mutual. Together, the bargaining team brainstorms options and evaluates them before coming up with a mutually agreed upon solution. The process involves active listening, brainstorming and consensus decision making.
During the first session, all three groups collaborated to set the ground rules that would govern negotiations regarding upcoming contracts for the two unions.
Representatives from all sides took part in IBB training during the summer and early winter to prepare for the process. During the training, facilitators used multimedia presentations, group discussion and simulations to explain the IBB philosophy and provide practice.
In a joint statement generated by the three groups, the bargaining team said, “There is tremendous potential for this method to change the way we communicate, and we are committed to this process. It is our hope that this process will strengthen the relationship between the associations and the college administration and result in a stronger Brookdale Community College.”
Members of the college negotiating team are Louise Horgan, Maureen Lawrence, Pat Sensi, Stephen DeDomenico, Nancy Kegelman, Dianna Phillips, Marie Lucier-Woodruff and counsel Matthew Giacobbe. The BCCAA negotiating team consists of Karyn Arnold, Michael DeStefano, Charanne Smith, Christopher Jeune, Jill Donovan, Linda Zambrano , Noreen Costa, Rhonda Underwood-Rimpel and NJEA representative Ron Topham. On the the BCCPSA negotiating team are Helen Vota, Peter Geiselman, Ann Marie Johnson, Frank DeVita, Kathleen Vasile, Patricia Frugard, Laura Kirkwood, Lynne Shaffery and NJEA representative Ron Topham.