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Bargaining News 3/11/16

First Bargaining Meeting

Your COBEA Bargaining Committee had their first meeting with the City of Bend Bargaining Team on March 9th.  We are happy to report that the meeting went very well and we were able to establish ground rules that were satisfactory to both sides. 


The first meeting is generally set aside for setting terms that will govern the negotiation process. Such terms include: facilitation; how, when and where articles will be submitted; who can observe the negotiations; gag orders; and the final ratification agreement.


Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB)

In our meeting with the City we recommended Interest-Based Bargaining instead of traditional bargaining. IBB allows both sides to come to the table to find a "working solution" regarding a specific topic. It is different than traditional bargaining, which can be aggressive and combative.  Both sides address a topic and try to resolve topics with solutions on a white board or neutral poster board.

The City agreed to implement Interest-Based Bargaining. We have a meeting scheduled with a State of Oregon facilitator to determine if they are a fit for both teams. The facilitator will be used as needed. 

Ground rules for IBB include:

  • Communicating proposed agendas prior to a meeting

  • Issues presented will represent the legitimate goal of the parties

  • Respect for each team - listening, not interrupting, keeping discussion on task, exercising patience, constructive comments, avoiding value judgements, etc.

  • No one member dominates the discussion

  • Caucus may be held - with a time limit

  • Being mindful of public and private statements regarding bargaining and working with the team

  • Using inclusive language such as We/Us vs. I and You.

  • If IBB is no longer progressive, then we can return to traditional bargaining.

We also proposed that our meetings be moved to various locations throughout the City where our members are located.  Therefore, our members have an opportunity to attend.  


Meetings likely will be held on evenings and weekends to accommodate the bargaining team since our contract only pays for 5 of our members to be paid for their time during bargaining meetings with the City. The City has 7 members on their team who are salaried. Our members are at a disadvantage and cannot be asked to take vacation pay for their time bargaining. The reason we have a large team is to make sure ALL work areas are represented.  These members are elected members. 


Brown Bag Meetings

We will be holding Brown Bag Meetings in ALL COB locations where we have COBEA members.  Please look for the announcements and come hear what is happening in bargaining.


Contact Us

If you have thoughts or concerns, PLEASE contact your Bargaining Team member or Julie Price (  If you don't communicate your concerns we can't go to bat for you.


Health Insurance

Have you had any problems or concerns about our health insurance?  We need real stories about how it has affected you and your pocket book.  Please contact your Bargaining Team member or Julie Price.


You Can Attend

Any of our members are welcome to attend our bargaining sessions.  It is open to our members!!!  Remember to be respectful and be an observer.  We will keep you posted regarding when and where the next meetings will be held.


What Article Are Up Next?

Our next meeting will focus on Articles 1-6.

We will also announce all the articles we will be opening.


Your Bargaining Committee

(L-R) Brice Blackwelder (Utility), Kim Voos (CDD), Julie DeVoe (Finance), Julie O'Connor (Utility Billing/Finance), Donna Hamilton (CDD), Sandra Roberts (IT/Wall St. Annex), Bob Bussabarger (IT), Tony Cota (Streets/Garage), Stephen Aldrich (IT), Tom Walling (WRF/Lab), Julie Price (Pres.), Ric Kuss (Utility- not pictured), Yaju Dharmarajah (Labor Rep - not pictured).


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