For those of you new to negotiations, I’m sure many of you were upset and insulted with some of the latest company proposals. Don’t fret, it’s called “negotiating tactics”. For those of us who have been through these before, it’s nothing new. It happens every time we’re in CBA negotiations. Remember, we fall under the Railway Labor Act. In short, nothing can get into or out of the CBA without both sides mutually agreeing. In the end, it’s up to you. When the time comes, it will ultimately be up to you to read through all the tentative agreements and decide for yourself if it’s worth voting for or against the new CBA. Fact Findings Many of you are probably familiar with fact finding meetings. One important thing to remember is that you are there to find out the facts, not opinions. You cannot win or lose a F/F. You are simply there to find the facts. Many of you have probably been asked, “Well, don’t you think this or that may have happened?” That’s where you stop it right there and remind everyone in the room that you’re there to find the facts, not opinions or conclusions that are impossible to answer since they never happened. You can only attest to issues that did happen. Also, take notes. Since district reps are not in the room, they will need as much info as possible. Not getting them all the info they will need makes their jobs that much harder and could ultimately be the loss of your case if details are left out. Take a pen and paper and become your own stenographer. Since no one will ever agree to have a F/F audio taped, good notes are the next best thing. I always went into a F/F armed with a pen and a lot of paper. I would document everyone that was in the room, who was asking questions and what the answers were. It doesn’t have to be verbatim. The important questions and answers I would definitely try to make verbatim. Produce your own documentation that you can attach to a possible grievance if discipline is issued because of the F/F. That helps out all reps immensely. Every possible piece of documentation associated with the case will help all reps decide the best course of action to take. In the end, your case is as strong as the facts and documentation. Preparing It’s always a very good idea to prepare ahead of the fact finding meeting, if possible. Talk with yourreps and give them the facts. Not BS, facts! If you really want to know how to prepare, just ask the New York Giants. How about those Giants!!! Special shout out to all my Giants fans out there. Somebody slip this issue under Eli Manning’s door. MVP!