Stage 1: Preparing
The basis of collective bargaining is management engaging in dialog with the workers collectively, and as such, the first stage of collective bargaining is organizing a group to represent the workers. If a trade union exists, then such unions usually take up the role of representing the workers. Otherwise the group is elected.
The group representing workers prepares a list of proposals relating to the issues under dispute, usually related to compensation and working conditions. A pattern of benefits, conditions, rules, and regulations usually exists, and the worker’s proposal aims at highlighting the need for improvements and changes to such work conditions. Such a proposal becomes the basis for the negotiations that follow.
The process of the group of workers framing such a proposal by reconciling the viewpoints of each individual worker is very often tedious and difficult, and takes place through discussions. The meeting ends in consensus, the group leaders taking the majority opinion, or the group leaders adhering to the dominant viewpoint.
The best proposals are ones prepared considering various factors such as internal conditions of the company, the company’s financials, the external environment, and other factors, for the management would invariably counter-argue on such factors.