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Tip Tuesday: Proper Note-taking During Collective Bargaining

February 25, 2020

Note-taking must be a priority during collective bargaining. It is vital to not only help you remember what was discussed at each session but, more importantly, to provide a written record if a disagreement comes up later during negotiations, or after a tentative agreement is reached, or even well after the contract is ratified.

Here are some tips on good note-taking:

  • At least one member of your team should take notes during bargaining; if possible, this should not be the lead negotiator as it can be challenging to lead a discussion while also taking good, accurate notes
  • Note the date, time and location of the bargaining session
  • Record who was present at the meeting from both parties
  • Note the time of each caucus or break and the time bargaining resumes after each such caucus or break
  • Record the date and time on each proposal that is passed at the table, along with which party passed the proposal
  • Make notes on the proposals themselves of key points or specific items further discussed at the table
  • If an easel or flip chart is used during the session consider taking a photo of each page for the record
  • Do not try to take verbatim notes of every word spoken; record the key points discussed, questions asked and answered, clarifications given, etc., along with who said what
  • It is always a good idea to review your notes at the end of each session for accuracy
  • Back up your notes!