Region 6 Collective Bargaining Representative Georges Tounou is using reflective engagement at the negotiating table.
Reflective engagement is an innovative approach that builds on decades of research on human engagement. Studies show that active listening, asking questions and reflecting back the response is the most effective way to connect with people. By using this technique, we are having more successful, open and high-quality conversations with members and potential members.
Tounou attended the Organizing Department’s reflective engagement training for certified trainers in Chicago last year and spoke about using this technique during the negotiating process.
“Reflective engagement has been useful during the negotiation process,” said Tounou. “I use this technique with our own bargaining committees and with employers. When a bargaining committee gives you all the proposals they want to incorporate in a contract, I’ve found reflective engagement to be helpful in making members of the bargaining committee reflect on their proposals, prioritize on bargaining goals, and categorize the proposals based on their importance. By using the reflective engagement technique of opening, seeking, giving, and closing, I am making it clear that I am here to assist the members of the bargaining committee on reflecting on what’s really important to them and getting a strong contract.”
“Using reflective engagement when negotiating with employers has also been beneficial,” Tounou added. “It has made me a better listener and changed the way I approach my conversation with employers. Now, when an employer makes a statement about our members or presents their proposals, I ask them background questions and even ‘pain’ questions, and if needed, request information related to the matter. This process has helped us negotiate better contracts that reflect the value of our members.”
UFCW locals from across the country have sent staff to reflective engagement trainings and are continuing to find success as they apply it to their organizing and outreach campaigns. If your local is interested in learning more about this innovative approach, contact Jenny Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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