Managing Union Workers

Managing Union Workers

Managing union workers
As management members and business owners we detest dealing with unions in our businesses. Unfortunately, the government has allowed people to collectively bargain for compensation & wages, benefits and terms of employment. This leaves many companies at a loss for an effective labor relations strategy.

Unions are on the decline due to the constricting of the U.S. economy and the slowing of the manufacturing sector. Since the union's traditional base is disappearing they have been seeking new business by unionizing hospitals, food & service workers, hotels, etc. This push by unions to increase business and expand their membership has forced many companies to become less efficient and more costly to manage.

In most unionized environments there are four steps in a grievance procedure. The first step is typically handled by the direct supervisor, the second step is handled by the head of the department, the third step is handled by the employee relations or human resource department and the arbitration step is handled by human resources and the executive management team. If the problem is not resolved in a particular step it is moved upward in the process until an arbitrator mediates. At the arbitration level any decision is legally binding.

Dealing with a union is not unlike preparing for court. Documentation is far superior to any conversations being held. Witness statements, departmental documents, video tape, past employment history and performance evaluations are all part of the process. While developing a case a company predominately focuses on the current issue and the documentation surrounding this issue. However, prior records can be submitted in order to develop a background and history of an employee. For example, if the employee has been in trouble for the same situation prior to this incident don't be afraid to mention it.
The other caveat that companies should be aware of is what is called "past precedence". Past...

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