Union Negotiation Consulting: Planning Labor Agreements

The Process of Union Negotiation Consulting

A labor union negotiation consulting engagement involves quantifying member needs, proposing contract language, and developing communication strategies. Often, process improvement recommendations are made to help control costs and increase productivity for both sides.

A successful negotiation engagement will ensure a company can remain competitive in their industry and operate efficiently, while providing workers with gainful employment.

SurveyKing has five general steps:

1) Review Current Contracts

This will give our team an understanding of what was negotiated in the past in addition to the general nature of the business. We will also review prior surveys or research that was conducted with past contracts.

2) Review Business Processes

This phase is critical to understanding how the business is run. Oftentimes organizations are using out of date technology or have inefficient processes leading to sunk costs. Any areas of the business that can be streamlined or improved will be part of the member survey.

3) Develop a Member Survey

This survey will quantify exactly what your union member truly value. For process improvement recommendations this survey will also quantify how to best implement changes. If any member needs would require an increased due fee, then tailored research questions will be used.

4) Assist in Negotiation Talks

Our team will meet with both company and union leaders. We will help interpret survey results, business impacts, in addition to process improvements that can be implemented. Our staff consists of CPA’s, software developers, and negotiators, giving our team the unique ability to articulate the details to all parties involved.

5) Craft a Communication Strategy

A communication strategy is vital to ensuring the new contract can ratified. This strategy can include custom email notifications, text message notification, custom flyer development, and custom mailer materials.

As part of the text message notifications, it’s important to consider the RCS vs SMS debate to determine the most effective messaging platform for your communication needs.

The Labor Union Survey

The survey is the most important part of union negotiation. Identifying members’ needs will give union leaders the data to guide the process. A member survey will also increase trust between the union and its members. The SurveyKing platform can share results with a link while keeping identities protected, enabling members to get live insights on the negation process.

To eliminate duplicate or fraudulent votes, passcodes can be used while maintaining anonymity.

This survey goes beyond what other firms offer with questions based on statistical models:


This is the most valuable research tool in labor union survey. MaxDiff will identify what attributes are LEAST and MOST important to your members using a statistical model.


A multilayered approach to defining needs. Conjoint is often used in union surveys to build optimal benefits packages. The output from the statistical model will give you a ranking of the items that are valued.

Gabor Granger

If a union feels upgraded machinery will improve their efficiency, management may stipulate those employees pay higher dues. Gabor Granger can give you a price and demand curve on what members are willing to pay for concessions.

Process Improvements

Our team will get an understanding how your business operates to identify process improvements. This could include recommending new software, new machinery, or even recommending new staff roles. Our team has experience in everything from manufacturing to transportation.

Any potential process improvements will be discuss with the union leaders, union members, company management, and will be part of the member survey.

On past consultations, our team has saved countless man hours by introducing new processes and system. These types of improvements mean more pay can be distributed to workers and can create new roles.

Discussions with Management

When discussing needs and process improvements with management, we will create financial models to help article points. to make discussions interactive, Excel models are commo0nlyu used to be able to toggle between scenarios.

Past projects have included basic financial projections of proposed staffing increases and IRR models for new capital expenditures.

Communication Strategy

Getting the new contract ratified is one of the biggest hurdles during the negation process. Some union members may not understand the verbiage and some members might hear rumors with reading the proposed contract themselves.

Our team can send automated text messages or emails and create QR code flyers to ensure the maximum number of union members will participate in ratification meeting.

Using SurveyKing, union members can vote electronically at the ratification meeting. This form to vote on the contract can include passcode fields such as last 4 of the SSN and employee number to ensure accuracy.

Forming a New Union?

In 2015 The NLRB approved electronic signatures to show union support. This means that an organization can quickly gauge employee interest in a union with QR codes or email, the time until a certified NLRB election.

SurveyKing offers electronic union authorization cards that include an employee’s name, email ,phone number, date of birth, and employee number. In accordance with the electronic memorandum, SurveyKing also automatically sends a conformation receipt to the member once the form is completed.

For additional guidance on Union Formation, see the NLRB resources page.

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