Here are eleven important rules you should keep in mind whenever you deal with management:
1. On union business, you are management’s equal. Respectfully insist on being treated with respect at all times.
2. Discuss issues, facts, and procedures, not personalities or rumors.
3. Be positive, while still maintaining a businesslike demeanor.
4. Don’t ramble or get sidetracked. Firmly center the discussion on the problem at hand.
5. Don’t lose your temper; use it! Never allow yourself to become overexcited, hostile, or angry. Besides interfering with your ability to think clearly, you will be discrediting yourself as a negotiator and representative.
6. Be imaginative and creative. Don’t be bound by narrow interpretations of facts. Don’t lie or sacrifice credibility, but don’t give up.
7. Listen for the main point of management’s position. This is the area in which your possible solution may be found.
8. When you express disagreement with management, do so with dignity, thoughtfulness, and firmness.
9. Take careful notes on management’s position. Interrupt if necessary to make sure your notes are complete.
10. Remember that this is not an ego trip. We’re seeking a solution to a problem for the good of everyone concerned. Try to leave management a way to retreat with dignity.
11. Ask questions. For one thing, this breaks up any attempt to turn it into a management ” lecture.” And it sometimes brings out new information you can use or exposes weaknesses in management’s position.