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Ask Sparky

November 7, 2013

SparkyDear Sparky: I never thought I'd be writing a letter to a dog before but I've got something on my mind and I’m hoping you can advise. We just got a new con­tract where I work and, no of­fense, but it's a dog. Not only did it take forever to reach a deal but we have to start all over next year. I’m starting to wonder what the whole point of this exercise is. Got any thoughts? Signed, Frustrated in Franklin

Dear Frustrated: Hows about you give me Mr. (or Mrs.) Bossperson's address and I growl at them until you get a better deal?  Seriously: you put your paw on a big issue. Bargaining takes work—and not just by a few people who are on the official bargaining com­mittee. In fact the key to getting a decent contract takes organizing. When you and your co-workers put your demands forward, management needs to know that you're barking—I mean speaking—on behalf of everyone. There's a reason why strong locals get the best contracts.  They go into bargaining with a well-organized plan, including a strategy of what to do if trouble arises at the table. You might start by setting up a contract action team or CAT—bosses hate cats. And if that fails, give me a jingle. I’m grrrrrrrrrrrrreat at the table, especially when there's a little something to munch on. Sparky