|ONLINE VERSION||APRIL 1999|
David G. Alexander
Further in preparation for the year 2000 round of bargaining, some 30 BMWE vice presidents and general chairmen attended an Advanced Collective Bargaining Seminar held at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland, February 28 through March 5, 1999.
Joel Myron, Director of Strategic Coordination and Research began the week's intensive study by presenting an overview of bargaining and the bargaining environment in the railroad industry with focus on the BMWE's goals.
Myron was followed by David G. Alexander, Senior Staff Associate at George Meany, who lectured on bargaining skills, tactics and techniques. Later he was joined by Steve Powers, BMWE Director of Arbitration, and together they worked with the participants on identifying and prioritizing bargaining issues. Following this was a discussion led by Powers and Myron on the employer's strategy.
Later in the week, Andy Banks, a new Senior Staff Associate at George Meany, lectured on bargaining campaigns. Banks, who has extensive experience in the field, most recently with the Teamsters, spoke on a number of topics including communication structures, campaign goals and themes as well as strategy and tactics. Several times the participants broke out into smaller groups and worked on projects which Banks facilitated.
Guest speakers were Tom Roth, an economist who heads the Labor Bureau, who spoke on economic measurements and explained a number of charts and graphs which he prepared relative to the financial condition of the industry; Greg Lawler, of the Lawler Group, who discussed "The Political Equation"; and Patricia Westwater, media consultant, who talked about developing internal and external messages and getting those messages out to the public.
William Bon, BMWE General Counsel, provided an overview of the legal restraints and opportunities in bargaining under the Railway Labor Act. At the end of the week Elise Bryant, Senior Staff Associate at George Meany, provided information on managing burnout and delegating work followed by a wrap up and evaluation by Alexander.
The consensus of the seminar participants was that the seminar was a valuable experience and they expressed their appreciation for all of the instructors as well as Rick Inclima, BMWE Director of Education and Safety, who was responsible for putting the seminar together.