A Bargaining Novella

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
The lack of responsiveness by the College Administration at the bargaining table, this year and for many years now, is often so bad (not to mention often simply bizarre, full of logically disconnected statements in response to our questions or points), that unless one is there to witness it, one would have a hard time believing it.  So, just as it’s said that truth is stranger than fiction, fiction can oftentimes be more “truthful,” or capture reality more comprehensively, than non-fictional accounts.  As such, please consider the following fictional short story to get a better sense of your Bargaining Team’s experiences.  Any resemblance to non-fictional characters is purely intentional.

Note:  This story is rated PG, due to repeated references to a human bodily function and one use of a commonly used profane term.  Readers concerned about such language are advised not to subject themselves to it.

A Bargaining Novella

Shane:
We need a new town rule to protect folks from the bad water resulting from townspeople defecating in the reservoir.

Sheriff:
We recognize that people need water, that water is a good thing.  Water is the elixir of life, and it’s important that everyone have water.  Water is good.  We like water.

Shane:
Great, thank you for acknowledging that water is a good thing. However, we’re not here to philosophize about the goodness of water; we’re here because people are defecating in it and we need a public rule and sign that says people shouldn’t do so.

Sheriff:
We believe it’s management’s responsibility to set policies and procedures to protect the corporal well-being of the public; this is no place to negotiate what you call “rules.”  The town managers oversee the water and are committed to it.

Shane:
The entire purpose of this meeting is to negotiate rules; that’s what this meeting is for, according to our town’s laws.  And we simply need a rule that allows us to protect ourselves from harm.  Surely you agree that people shouldn’t be defecating in the reservoir.

Sheriff:
Of course we agree that people should respect private property and public property.  Property is the foundation of “the good society,” and management is completely dedicated to promoting the values consistent with the good society.  It’s part of our Mission, Vision, and Core Values, and we are fully committed to promoting these ends.  As well as our Strategic Directions, of course…

Shane:
But you’re still not saying whether you’ll agree to a rule simply prohibiting defecating in the water, and putting a sign up so people know not to do so?

Sheriff:
Signage is important; it’s vital that people understand the rules of society so that people adhere to them.  We are fully dedicated to signage, and to its importance, and to the importance of signage being important.  That’s important.

Shane:
Thank you for acknowledging the importance of signs, and other things, but we’re here because we want a sign saying “Please don’t defecate in the water.”  Will you agree to that?

Sheriff:
We’ll caucus and come back.

—30 minute caucus—

Sheriff:
We propose to have a subcommittee discuss, but not negotiate, how to promote values consistent with the town’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values, and that both sides appoint representatives to these committees.

Shane:
But that’s not even closely related to what we proposed, or a response to the problem!  We just need a sign saying “Don’t defecate in the water.”  There’s no need for a subcommittee; there’s no need even for discussions. We just need a simple rule so the community can protect itself.

Sheriff:
We’ll caucus and come back with a proposal.

—15 minute caucus—

Sheriff:
We believe in property, public and private; we believe in water, water is good; we believe in values; values are what holds society together: without values, imagine how we would live.  Think about it.  Can you imagine a society without values?  Core values?  I shudder at the thought…

Shane [Breaking in]:
Can we talk about protecting our water…?

Sheriff:
Yes.  Water is important, and good, like values.  Let’s protect it.

Shane:
With a rule prohibiting defecating in it, and a sign so people know that?

Sheriff:
No, we couldn’t begin to discuss that.  There will be no such rule, or sign.  We’re not obligated to agree to anything; we just have to show up and be willing to talk with you.  “No” is a proposal.

Shane:
But you like to make proposals, you like to come to agreement on your proposals, and we’ve reached agreement on your proposals in previous meetings.

Sheriff:
We don’t agree that we agree on previous agreements.

Shane:
Huh?

Sheriff:
Water is good.  Rules are good.  When they’re based in values, like core values, that protect society.  We believe in rules.  And in society, and values, and water.

Shane:
Are you going to offer us a proposal?

Sheriff:
No.  We’re not.

Shane:
Go shit yourself.  Please try not to do it near the water.

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