Negotiation Analysis of the Documentation “American Dream”
The film “American Dream” is a documentary which provides information about a failed negotiation between a company and its workers. The negotiation process between Hormel Company, a meat packing factory in Austin, Minnesota and the Local Union (P-9) failed as a result of failure to reach an agreement by the two parties. Arguably, the workers through their Local Union-P-9 failed to attain their goals in the negotiations table due to a series of mistakes on their part.
Firstly, the workers, through the Local Union failed in the negotiation table because of poor BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement). Their BTNA was poor since the Local Union did not accurately consider the best alternatives for the workers in case of a failed agreement at the negotiation table. Arguably, their BTNA adopted by P-9 was to motivate the workers to go on strike. They presented their grievances against the company but failed to consider the alternatives possessed by Hormel Company.
In this case, the company was best placed at the negotiation table because they had just recorded a $30 million net profit in the same financial year (Prince, 2002). As a result, P-9 negotiators did not consider the BTNA of Hormel Company since they had the ability to lock out the employees and hire others. Considerably, the strategy developed by Local Union consultants should have included a clause that would protect the employees from sacking by company.
Secondly, the local union failed at the negation table due to wrong Reservation Points. The failed negation occurred as a result of strong standpoints and reservation points of both Hormel Company and Local Union representing the workers. The reservation point for the Company was $8.25. However, the local union maintained that the workers could not take a pay cut.
This led to failure to reach a deadlock. This demonstrates a wrong approach to negotiation as the consultants representing the union and workers did not consider quoting a favorable reservation point that takes both workers and company demands into consideration. Additionally, the reservation point of local union was wrong since it portrayed a poor alternative resolution in case of failed negotiations. In this case, the union failed to bargain appropriately to protect the jobs of the workers during the time.
Lastly, the local union failed due to adoption of distributive negotiation approach. The workers sought representation from both local and parent unions. Notably, their representation consisted of Local Union (P-9) and UFCW international union (Parent Union). As a result, the workers represented two different voices at the negotiation table. There was a clear sign of division between the parent and local unions. This was evidenced by the fact that the Local Union was objecting the pay cut while the UFCW international union opposed the strategy used by the workers to defend their rights. This was a sign of division in opinion and strategy that gave leverage to the company’s representatives at the negotiation table. In this case, they had to lose the bid for improvement of their wages due to the use of distributive negotiation approach through the two unions having divergent views regarding the matter.
In conclusion, the workers at Hormel Company failed at the negotiation table due to the use of poor BTNA, wrong Reservation Points, and adoption of distributive negotiation approach. Consequently, this film is educative since it informs the viewers about the key considerations for successful negations during times of dilemma. It offers appropriate lessons that workers and workers unions can use during lobbying for their rights in their respective organization of work.
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