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Panel: Principles and Practices for Effective Negotiations

Panel: Principles and Practices for Effective Negotiations

Panel Description

The enduring complexity of negotiations and its ever-changing landscape will be discussed in this two-hour roundtable presentation featuring four distinguished negotiators representing labor and management within higher education.  The program’s focus is on four stages of negotiations: preparation, development of a strategy and plan before bargaining, table strategies and logistics, and the post negotiation process of ratification.  Impasse, mediation and job actions, as additional potentially critical elements of the negotiation process, will also be discussed. Central to the discussion will be consideration of best practices from labor and management perspectives.  Subtopics will include anticipated trends in negotiations, the definition of “successful bargaining,” effective team composition and size in various contexts, negotiating structures, open bargaining elements of social unionism, and the impact of the virtual arena. 

Panelists Bios

Kathy Sheffield has been representing faculty in the California State University for over fifteen years and is currently serving as Director of Representation and Bargaining for the California Faculty Association (CFA).  In this role, she oversees the union’s representation program and leads CFA’s bargaining efforts.  Before working for CFA, Kathy worked for several years in legal aid representing poor and low-income clients in Los Angeles County. Kathy’s educational background includes a Juris Doctorate degree from Northeastern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College.

Barry Miller, Senior Policy Advisor on Labour Relations, Office of the Provost, York University. Barry’s experience in higher education is based on principles and practices that are effective for negotiations with full-time faculty, contract faculty and Teaching Assistants. He also has significant experience with labour disruptions and planning for negotiations that have a high likelihood of ending up in a strike.

Judi Burgess is the University’s Director of Labor Relations.  Judi launched her career as an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board’s Philadelphia and Boston Regional Offices.  Prior to joining Boston University, she worked at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (the T) as the Assistant General Manager for Employee and Labor Relations where she had oversight of Labor and Employee Relations, Human Resources, and Occupational Health Services.  Judi was formerly a member of the Board of Advisors for the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions.  Her passion as the University’s LR Director is found in ensuring balanced labor harmony for faculty and staff through the negotiation of fair and transparent collective bargaining agreements on behalf of the University, as well as ensuring compliance with respect to the NLRA, and other labor and employment laws pertaining to the Higher Ed workplace.   Judi is a graduate of Howard University, and holds a Juris Doctorate from Villanova University School of Law, as well as certifications in management, and trial advocacy through the NLRB’s Trial Advocacy Institute.  Judi is a sports enthusiast, has played rugby competitively, and served as the past president of the Philadelphia Women’s Rugby Club.  She has been active in the fight for marriage equality, and her family was featured by GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders) in the legal fight against DOMA. (http://legacy.glad.org/doma/stories/a-very-ordinary-family).  Judi lives outside of Boston with her wife and their three children. 

Deborah Williams, J.D., currently serves as Professor and Chair of the Environmental Science and Sustainable Agriculture Department at Johnson County Community College, where she teaches a variety of undergraduate courses within the Science Division as well as Introductory Philosophy, Ethics, Business Ethics, Bioethics, and Environmental Policy and Law for the Arts, Humanities and Social Science Division.  She has also taught law courses as an adjunct at both the Washburn School of Law and the Kansas University School of Law, including Bioethics and Law, Health Law and Policy and Public Health Law.  Williams holds a J.D. from the KU School of Law with certificates in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Tribal Law, Master’s degrees in Philosophy, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Indigenous Studies, among others.  She has received numerous teaching and service awards including a NISOD Excellence in teaching award, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Faculty Achievement Award, JCCC College Scholar’s Award, JCCC Distinguished Service Award, The League for Innovations Excellence Award and a KACEE Award for Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education.  Williams is a 2011 graduate of the NEA Leadership Academy, a past President of the JCCC Faculty Association and currently serves as the Kansas NEA Higher Education Representative. She also serves on the board for the National Council for Higher Education. She is a regular faculty lead negotiator and an annual presenter at the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education on effective collective bargaining strategies.

Elena Cacavas, Principal Owner at Cacavas ADR, LLC. Elena is a specialist in arbitration, mediation, fact-finding and workplace investigations into claims of harassment, discrimination and other employee/officer misconduct. Elena serves on numerous national, state and local panels. Her prior legal experience includes 25 years as an appointed Administrative Law Judge with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), enforcing and interpreting the Taylor Law and assisting a wide variety of public employers and labor organizations in maintaining lawful, efficient and productive relationships. Before her appointment as an ALJ, she worked for nine years as a member of the Labor Department of Hodgson Russ LLP, specializing in public and private sector labor and employment law, including administrative proceedings, state and federal court litigation, discrimination and harassment claims, arbitration, mediation, fact-finding, negotiations and collective bargaining, workplace investigations, employee hiring and discipline, wrongful termination cases, subcontracting, contract drafting and interpretation, and manager training. Elena has spoken widely on labor and employment topics, and authored numerous papers and articles in her field. Prior to attaining her law degree in 1985, she worked as a journalist and investigative reporter.