Winpisinger Center Class Preps Okeelanta Corp. Employees for Negotiations

Members of the Okeelanta Corp. Negotiating Committee met at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD to strategize for their upcoming contract negotiations with the company.

The Negotiating Committee for over 550 IAM Local Lodge 2152 members at South Bay, FL-based sugar manufacturer Okeelanta Corp. met at the William W. Winpisinger Center recently to develop a multi-faceted strategic plan for their upcoming talks with the company. The current contract expires October 31, 2013.

The Center’s week-long Negotiation Preparation for Bargaining Committees class fit the bill for the committee, providing training in drafting contract language, presenting proposals, analyzing the company’s strengths and weaknesses and identifying a broad array of potential tactics.  

“We don’t want to strike, we want a reasonable settlement – one that protects our benefits and recognizes our contribution to Okeelanta’s success,” said Negotiating Committee Member Eddie Garcia. “But if the company tries to take away any of our hard-earned benefits, we want to be ready, and we are.”

The week culminated in a simulated negotiation session.

“Although the committee at Okeelanta is quite experienced, they found the simulation quite helpful. It doesn’t seem like a simulation – it’s tough,” said District Lodge 166 Business Representative Robert Miller. “The committee had an opportunity to try out some of the membership’s proposals in a realistic bargaining environment.”

Winpisinger Center Instructor Rhonda Rogers played the role of management negotiator during the simulations.

“Rhonda does a great job of acting the role of a tough company negotiator,” said Miller. “The newly-elected members of the committee now have a feel for what it’s like at the table. The committee developed a plan and specific tactics for these negotiations during our week at the Harbor, and we’re ready to aggressively pursue the issues that matter most to the membership.”

“Being prepared for negotiations is the hallmark of an effective committee,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “The Winpisinger Center Negotiations Prep week provides committees with the knowledge, experience and tools to effectively negotiate strong IAM Collective Bargaining Agreements. I wish Local Lodge 2152 success in their upcoming negotiations.”