Transit Labor Relations Guide

You are here

Transit Labor Relations Guide


Transit organizations, both public and private, are under great internal and external pressures today to improve their organizational effectiveness. Studies have shown that the collective bargaining relationship between union and management, particularly the collective bargaining agreement, has a direct, measurable effect on organizational effectiveness. Both transit management and transit unions have begun to recognize that it is in their mutual interest to improve organizational effectiveness by turning toward a more cooperative collective bargaining relationship. In particular, they have experimented with a negotiating style called “interest-based bargaining” and with a problem solving approach through joint labor-management committees.

There is a great deal of misinformation on both subjects, and it is the purpose of this paper to dispel the myths about interest-based bargaining and give examples of when en this approach has worked. A historical background has been provided about5 transit unions as well as transit strikes, and what should have been learned from those mistakes.



Dr. Oestreich is a Professor Emeritus at the College of Business, San José State University. He has more than 25 years experience teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Human Resource Management, Labor Relations, Labor Law, Conflict Management and Negotiating Skills, Compensation Management, and other topics. He has also been a Visiting Fulbright Professor at the Graduate School of Business in Lima, Peru, visiting professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and professor of industrial management at the University of Connecticut. He is still active as a Research Associate for the Mineta Transportation Institute at San José State University . In addition he is active as a certified trainer of the National Transit Institute. Before his academic career, Dr. Oestreich worked as a human resource manager in an electronics firm, and an employment manager in an R&D firm.

He has over 25 years experience as a professional labor arbitrator, mediator and fact finder. He has served on the panel of neutrals of the American Arbitration Association, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, State of California Mediation and Conciliation Service, State of California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) and has formerly been an ad hoc hearing officer of the State of California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. He has published over 30 full-length arbitration decisions in professional reference works (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. and Commerce Clearing House, Inc.). In addition, he has published articles, pamphlets, training materials, and presented papers on a large variety of human resource, labor relations, and management topics. In the past he has served as editorial consultant to the State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Law Section, in the preparation of a major reference work: California Public Sector Labor Relationspublished by Matthew Bender & Co., 1989.

Dr Oestreich has a PhD from the New York State School of Industrial & Labor Relations, Cornell University; an MA in Labor and Industrial Relations, Institute of Labor & Industrial Relations, University of Illinois; and a BS in Business, Kent State University, Ohio.

September 2001



Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: