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Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Unionization is sometimes unavoidable. In such cases, work with the union, not against it.

November 1, 2000
Related Topics: Labor Relations
Management and HR usually view unions as the adversary, but that only windsup making management look like the enemy. Companies are much better off workingwith the unions rather than against them. To head off any serious problemsbefore they surface:

  • Start negotiations early, as much as a year in advance. Devote aconsiderable amount of strategic energy to negotiations throughout the year,not just as contract deadlines near.
  • Place a premium on communication with employees throughout the negotiationprocess. Employers aren’t well served by having the only communicationregarding its bargaining position come from the union. It’s important toexplain to employees why employer proposals are fair.
  • Determine if any of the jobs included in the collective bargaining unitare overly stressful or might foster employee resentment or unhappiness.Then make structural or other types of changes to eliminate this potentialpressure point before negotiations even start.

Workforce, November2000, Vol. 79, No. 11, p. 38 -- Subscribenow!

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