Interest-Based Bargaining vs. Traditional Bargaining: What’s the Difference?

March 01, 2022 / PSU-AAUP

As we launch these negotiations in April, we will enter the process using "interest-based bargaining" (IBB). This is a process defined under Oregon law which is intended to promote a problem-solving approach in which the two parties identify common interests and work towards mutually agreeable solutions at the bargaining table.

IBB is often presented as the opposite of traditional bargaining, which is a positional approach (each party taking positions and arguing/debating/fighting for its positions). The parties maintain a guarded, adversarial stance and information is only exchanged when required.

In real world practice, however, and especially in the public sector, these approaches are better described as opposite ends of a spectrum, rather than an either-or choice.

As has been done before, the AAUP-PSU will start off these negotiations in IBB mode, with the goal of maintaining a positive process that moves swiftly toward solutions that honor PSU for what it is: a public good. Solutions must maintain PSU as a great place to work, a place that can retain talented and caring professionals who work hard to serve students and our communities. If the IBB approach at some point stops working as a means toward that goal, we will shift towards a more traditional bargaining approach.

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