User’s Guide

An easy-to-follow guide to help subscribers use the Negotiations Advisor Online.

The Structure of Negotiations

Board’s Collective Bargaining Obligation

An overview of all aspects of boards’ collective negotiations obligation for all board members, including the provisions of the law and their impact on boards’ conduct of negotiations and the administration of their negotiated agreements.

The Scope of Negotiations

An overview of the scope of negotiations in New Jerseys public schools; includes a detailed list of mandatory and illegal topics of negotiations.

Federal Requirements Affecting New Jersey School Negotiations

A review of federal rules which impact on local negotiations: FLSA; COBRA; FMLA; including a comparison of the state Family Leave Act with the provision of the federal statute.

The PERC Law and the Bargaining Process

How the provisions of the Law control your conduct of negotiations including: the need to establish the teams limited authority; the onset of negotiations; the composition of the bargaining team; and the meaning of good faith bargaining.

Employee Relations In the Context of A Labor Agreement

How to develop and implement an effective employee relations program, within a bargaining environment, to improve employee satisfaction and to complement your labor relationship.

Balancing Management Rights with the PERC Law

When and how management can act in the confines of the PERC Law and the locally negotiated agreement.

The 2000 and Beyond Contract: Midcontract Negotiations and Waivers of The Bargaining Obligation

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBAs School Leader reviews circumstances that create a midcontract negotiations obligation and those that establish a waiver of boards responsibility to negotiate.

The Use of Professional Negotiators

A discussion of professional representation in negotiations including: the pros and cons of using an outsider; questions to ask when interviewing negotiators; and the continued responsibility of the board during negotiations.

Professional Representation: Beware of False Expectations

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBAs School Leader looks at the relationship of a board of education with its professional negotiator.

Statewide/Regional Bargaining: It May Sound Good, But…

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBAs School Leader discusses the problems and difficulties inherent in regional bargaining.

Bargaining Skills

Preparing for Bargaining: A Plan

Thorough preparation is the first step to successful bargaining; this article identifies the components of effective preparation and suggests a time-frame to assure your readiness to conduct successful negotiations.

Preparing for Bargaining: A Plan

What to expect from the process: the unions most predictable bargaining behavior and how to maintain your perspective.

The Role of Administrators In Negotiations

A discussion of the administration as an invaluable resource to the boards bargaining efforts; how, and why, boards should involve their administrative staff during all stages of the negotiations process.

The Pitfalls of Comparability Research

How to establish and use valid comparisons among districts employees salaries, fringe benefits, and working conditions.

Bargaining Parameters

A discussion of the importance of board parameters to the boards bargaining efforts and a systematic approach to formulating and reassessing bargaining parameters.

Basic At-the-Table Donts: Avoiding Bargaining Errors

How to recognize and avoid common at-the-table behavior which interferes with a boards ability to negotiate effectively; helpful hints on how to avoid: talking too much, moving too fast, becoming intimidated, losing track of issues, and more.

Trade-offs and Packaging

A step-by-step description of two important bargaining techniques which can assist the board to achieve its needs through negotiations: what the techniques involve, when to use them and when to avoid them.

Understanding the Union

A review of the factors which influence your unions posture at the bargaining table: the unions legal status as the bargaining units representative; its goals in representing the membership; the organizational and personal pressures on the leadership; and the ongoing relationship between employees, unions, and boards of education.

A Board Policy On Negotiations

A mechanism to assure that the boards negotiating efforts is based on a solid internal understanding of the role and authority of the bargaining team, the board, and the administration.

The Full Board’s Responsiblity In Negotiations

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBAs School Leader examines the role of the full board in negotiations.

Moving Toward Agreement on Board Goals

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBA’s School Leader magazine describes the process involved in achieving negotiations goals.

Bargaining Units

Bargaining Units: Consolidation, Severance and Additions

A discussion of the various mechanisms available to change the composition of a bargaining unit and the PERC rules which govern unit modification.

Determination of the Appropriate Supervisory Unit

An exploration of the special considerations which determine an appropriate bargaining unit of supervisory employees.

Bargaining With Principals and Supervisors

The dynamics and problems involved in bargaining with members of the districts management team.

Negotiating With Comprehensive Units

The unique considerations which must be given in negotiating a contract which covers several classifications of employees.

Special Bargaining Issues of Support Staff Employees

The issues unique to non-certificated employees bargaining including: overtime, vacation, seniority, and job security; what boards should consider before responding to such proposals.

Selected Contract Clauses

Analyzing Selected Contract Clauses and Proposals

A systematic approach to analyze contract clauses and bargaining proposals involving assessments of: legality; the clarity and precision of the language; the components necessary to the purpose of the clause; and the ability of the provision to protect the boards interest.

This approach is applied to specific analysis of selected contract clauses in the following series of articles:

Selected Topics Affecting Negotiations

The Labor Relations Implications of the NCLB

A discussion of the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on districts’ labor relationships.

A Board Members Guide to The Mentoring Requirement

A discussion of boards obligations under the states limited funding of its mentoring requirement, including practical advice on how to approach negotiations over the terms and conditions of employment related to the mentoring program.

The Continuing Education Requirements

A discussion of the provisions of the States requirements for teachers’ and administrators’ continuing professional development and their implications to local boards of education.

Discipline of School Employees Under the PERC Law

A review of the provisions of the PERC Law and subsequent caselaw developments that affect the appeal of disciplinary determinations in New Jersey school districts.

Preparing to Arbitrate Disciplinary Grievances

Practical advice to assist boards and their administrators prepare to deal with binding arbitration of disciplinary grievances.

The Meaning of Just Cause

The standards for determining just cause and selected examples of arbitrators application of the criteria.

The Meaning and Relevance of Past Practice

The factors which turn a practice into a binding, unwritten obligation and when that past practice becomes relevant in the labor relationship.

Collective Bargaining and Educational Excellence

How bargaining can impact on districts educational programs and what boards can do to avoid negative implications.

The School Calendar and Statutory Holidays

What is and is not negotiable in setting the school year.

Controlling Insurance Costs: A Look At The Options

A review of available options and bargaining approaches that may assist boards to move towards controlling the costs of providing negotiated health insurance plans, including a discussion and a summary of the provisions of the State Health Benefits Program.

Board Communications During Negotiations

A discussion of the factors that should be considered before boards communicate with their communities during ongoing negotiations.

In Search of An Alternative to Negotiations

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBAs School Leader provides a useful overview of win-win negotiations.

The Win-Win Model: Learning From Experience

A summary of the preparation that has been observed to be essential to protect boards interests in win-win bargaining.

Impasse Procedures and Beyond

An Overview of Impasse Procedures

An overview of mediation and fact-finding and super conciliation, the PERC Laws procedures to resolve negotiations impasse in school districts.


An in-depth look at mediation: what to expect from the process and the mediator and how to continue to protect the boards position during mediation.

Conquering The Fear of Mediation

A board member’s guide to avoiding and curing the tendency to fear mediation.

Factfinding and Beyond

An exploration of the factfinding and super conciliation procedures, including suggestions to help boards prepare for effective participation in this impasse procedure.

Responding to Concerted Activities and Limited Job Actions

An analysis and discussion of appropriate and effective board responses to unions concerted activities.

Opening Schools During a Strike

Balancing the districts bargaining needs with its obligation to provide a continued educational program must be based on concerns for student safety.

Salary Guides

Understanding Salary Guides

A series of articles that presents boards with a systematic, easy-to-understand approach to evaluate and improve their districts salary guides.

PART I: The Importance of Salary Guides to the Board provides an overview of the relationship between salary guides and board goals as well as practical advice on how to negotiate a guide that is better suited to meet the districts needs.

PART II: Analyzing the Expiring Salary Guide presents a systematic, easy-to-follow approach to help boards analyze the structure and cost of their existing guides.

PART III: Analyzing Proposed Salary Guides builds on the first two sections to provide a basic and essential skill necessary for boards informed participation in the development of new salary guides.

Some Dos and Dont’s for Negotiating Salary Guides

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBA’s School Leader provides practical advice to negotiate salary guides.

Breaking Balloons

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBA’s School Leader describes valuable approaches to resolving a common problem of salary guides.

To Pay or Not to Pay: That Is The Question

A reprint of a Labor Lookout column featured in NJSBAs School Leader discusses boards obligation to pay increments and their ability to negotiate changes in their past practices.

Teacher Salaries: Alternative Approaches

An exploration of the traditional salary guide and its alternatives which includes practical advice on how to achieve meaningful changes in your districts compensation plan.

An Analysis of Sample Agreements

NJEA Sample Agreement

This section presents the NJSBA’s article-by-article analysis of a recent sample agreement prepared and distributed by the New Jersey Education Association.


Resources for Bargaining

A description of sources of information for school board negotiators.

Case Law Affecting Negotiations

A listing of major court and PERC decisions affecting your negotiations obligation.

A Guide to Negotiability

A listing of the negotiability status of specific topics with appropriate case references.

Labor Relations Issue Summart: Impact of The School Ethics Act on Negotiations

A summary of the Ethics Commissions opinions and decisions affecting board officials participation in negotiations.

Labor Relations Issue Summary: Subcontracting

A summary of case law developments and other considerations affecting boards subcontracting decisions.

Labor Relations Issue Summary: Early Retirement Incentives

A summary of interpretations of the law concerning local incentives for early retirement.

Glossary of Labor Relations Terms

Definitions of labor relations terms.

Topical Index of Articles

A guide to the topics covered in The Negotiations Advisor articles.