No matter what procedures exist for maintaining an official record of the negotiations with the employer, the union must have its own mechanisms for the recording of all substantive discussions occurring in bargaining sessions. All committee members, except for the chief spokesperson, should take notes during bargaining sessions. One member should be given the primary responsibility for maintaining the union official record. No matter how effective the official recorder is, there will be confusion in the process of negotiations. If other members have taken notes, those members will be able to help assure that the official record for the union is complete and accurate. While one member may be tasked with maintaining the official record, the other members should use their notes to review with the record keeper to ensure there is an agreement upon the official record. One of the values of a caucus is to gain the benefit from multiple records. The committee should establish a time and process to periodically review the notes in their internal ground rules to assure that no significant errors or omissions have crept into the record.


Not everything that takes place in discussions between the unions and the employer's committees is necessarily rational. The union should have solid arguments prepared to explain and justify its position on every issue introduced in negotiations. Techniques of argumentation and logic are useful in negotiations for three distinct purposes. One is the ability to explain the proposals to the management committee. The second is to justify the need for the proposed language. The third is to persuade the employer's representatives of the merits of the union's position.

Explanation, justification, and persuasion are different concepts. The explanation of any proposal should be a rational and objective discussion of the problems giving rise to the union's proposals. Any proposal put on the table by the union was placed there for a reason. The union committee should be prepared to define the problem that gave rise to the proposal and the solution for that problem put forward by the union. The justification of that proposal goes one step further. Issues should be deeply felt, issues that move the membership even if it does not affect them, or broadly felt, impacting large swaths of the membership. Not all issues deserve to be put across the bargaining table. If you cannot explain the value of the issue, what problem it is solving or why it is important to the membership, you are not going to be able to convince others of its importance. Avoid the ‘I want what I want because I want it’ approach selecting issues for the bargaining table. Even if the company understands the issue and the solution addressed by the union's proposal, it is important for the union to justify the need for its proposed change in the status quo. Finally, the union must be prepared to persuade the company that the solution put forward by the union is a superior solution to the identified problem than any other proposed change put forward. In the end, the goal of the presentation of the issues is to create advocates for your proposals on the committee across the table. They are not going to sit there and agree with you at the table, but if your argument is compelling, they may advocate for it in their caucus.