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Published: Thursday, 4/15/2004

Honesty, trust necessary in talks, labor mediator tells Toledo crowd

Whether union or management, labor contract negotiators must reveal to each other their employment interests - such as job security or economic well-being - and come up with mutually beneficial solutions to disputes, says a federal mediator who has been involved in more than 1,000 negotiations.

All workplaces face competition, either from other businesses or, as in the public sector's case, from agencies. And finding mutually beneficial solutions helps deal with those threatening outside forces, said Louis Manchise, director of mediation services for the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service office in Cincinnati, which covers the Toledo area.

"You have to take care of business," Mr. Manchise told a crowd of about 150 union and man

agement ne-

gotiators yes-

terday in downtown Toledo.

"You have to survive."

Mr. Manchise spoke yesterday during the 18th Annual Conference on Labor-Management Cooperation at the main branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

As part of his presentation, he also broke the crowd up into groups to practice negotiation techniques.

Disputes can be handled by determining who is right or who is more powerful, neither of which typically solves problems, Mr. Manchise said.

Or they usually can be resolved by reconciling underlying interests, which requires honesty and trust and is necessary for the future, he said.

Both sides need to approach any problem committed to the idea that a solution should enhance all interests, he said.

One side of the negotiating table, meanwhile, can't flood the other side with problems or insist on a lot of changes without involving the other side, Mr. Manchise said.

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