Negotiating Labor/Management Agreements for Competitive Advantage

Prepare for your upcoming labor/management contract negotiation




Gain real-world experience before engaging in labor/management negotiations where the stakes are high and mistakes can be costly. The impact of contract negotiations on the bottom line is lasting, and though they only occur every few years, no company or union can afford to send its negotiation team to the table poorly prepared. Highly effective negotiators add value by crafting agreements that facilitate a positive and productive workplace.

This program features a comprehensive and unique framework that identifies the multiple linkages between collective bargaining strategies and broader human resources management, operational, and business strategies.

You will be prepared to think strategically about how your negotiation strategy aligns with your business and organizational plans.

Combining interest-based and classical approaches to negotiations, you will learn about the essential processes and tactical decisions that underlie the key stages of negotiating agreements.

Participants will engage in a simulated exercise built on a case exclusively designed for this program. The exercise will encourage you to resolve complex issues and apply your learned negotiating skills as a member of a team while negotiating a landmark agreement that yields competitive advantage.



  • The Four Stages of Negotiations
    • Planning, Opening, Bargaining, and Closing
  • Analysis, Framing, and Formulation of a Strategic Negotiations Process
    • Compiling and Assessing Business Information
    • Evaluating and Understanding the Dispute Domain
    • Aligning Negotiations with Business Strategy
    • Getting Agreement on Negotiation Strategy and Processes
    • Negotiating in Good Faith Under the Law
  • Negotiation Steps and Processes
    • Structuring Team Make-up and Roles
    • Empowering the Chief Spokesperson
    • Delivering Opening Statements
    • Exchanging Proposals/Demands and Presenting Ideas
    • Evaluating and Costing Proposals
    • Applying the Negotiation Proposal/Counter-Proposal Process
    • Utilizing Interest-Based Problem Solving Methods
    • Reaching Tentative Agreements on Non-Economic Issues
    • Managing Team Caucuses to Stay on Plan
    • Packaging Key Economic Items
    • Narrowing Differences through Effective Side-Bar Meetings
    • Reaching Closure and Making Final Offers
    • Closing, Commitment, and Obtaining Ratification
  • The Negotiator as Reflective Leader
    • Understanding Your Role as Leader and Coach
    • Stage Crafting to Sell Your Proposals
    • Accelerating Bottom-Line Results



Lessons in Labor Relations

Monthly short courses for management and labor relations professionals 

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Certified Labor Relations Leader

Become part of the next generation of labor relations leaders

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Select a date to register

  • All of our classes include strategies to minimize Zoom fatigue and ensure an enjoyable, informative learning experience.

MSU employee discount available. Please contact Kristi White at for more information.


Julie L. Brockman

Julie L. Brockman, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University. As an outreach instructor, Julie has conducted workshops at local, national and international levels for union organizations and their joint partners. As a consultant and facilitator, she assists unionized organizations, both within the private and public sectors, in developing and implementing joint union/management initiatives. Prior to her work with the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Julie was employed by the Nestle' Chocolate and Confections facility in Fulton, NY ('86-'95) and the TRW, Inc. Aircrafts Components Group in Euclid, Ohio ('84-'86).

Greg Freehling

Greg Freehling, MLIR has been leading and managing the relationships and accountability required to create successful labor outcomes for over 30 years. He was the Director of Labor Relations for Arconic at his retirement. In this role, he was accountable for the global labor relations for the corporation. His career spans plant and corporate responsibilities across Alcoa and its spin-off Arconic, as a labor relations manager, human resources manager, and corporate labor relations consulting and administration duties. He is a subject matter expert with an extensive background in contract administration, grievance and arbitration advocacy and contract negotiations. He has provided training, advice, and counsel across Alcoa and Arconic locations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He's developed and conducted labor relations training programs for labor relations and line supervisors and leaders, and managed stakeholder communications before and during negotiations. In addition, he has been teaching courses for the School of Human Resources and Industrial Relations Professional Development program for the past eight years.

One or more instructors listed above will be teaching


  • Registration closes 2 business days before the start of the program.



  • Cancellation fees may be waived if the participant registers and attends the same program within 12 months. Fees may only be waived once.
  • Participants may send a substitute from the same organization for the same program and date by notifying Kristi White via email at least 5 calendar days in advance of program start date.
  • Cancellation more than 30 calendar days before program start date: full refund.
  • Cancellation 14 – 29 calendar days prior to program start date: 50% cancellation fee, remainder of program fee refunded.
  • Cancellation 13 or fewer calendar days prior to program start date: no refund.

MSU reserves the right to cancel programs when enrollment criteria are not met or for conditions beyond its control. Any additional costs incurred by the enrollee of canceled programs are the responsibility of the enrollee.



  • MSU's Federal ID Number is 38-6005984
  • Business casual attire.
  • Please, no audio or video recording.



This program has been approved for 20 continuing education credit hours towards Professional Development Program recertification.

Learn more about Recertification



  • All course materials.
  • Space is limited, so we advise registering as soon as possible to secure your participation.



  • You can bring this program on-site for your team or virtually through Zoom. It will lay the groundwork for success, provide a common framework and language as well as incorporate your organizational challenges. Contact Program Coordinator, Kristi White at to discuss how you can multiply the benefits of MSU programs and save money by bringing this and other programs to you.

Questions? We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this or any of our training programs. Please contact Program Coordinator, Kristi White at