Top 10 Things You Should Know About Managing In A Unionized Environment Or…I Wish Someone Had Told Me This On My First Day On The Job
10. It’s Our Collective Agreement It’s not a one – sided document. Bargained by 2 parties. Binding, enforceable contract Sometimes, the company can grieve!
9. Even though the CA is 620 pages long, you do have management rights. Hire, fire, discipline Determine # of EEs Manage performance Work methods & location Equipment used Hours of operation Productivity standards Generally to manage the business
8. They are your employees first. You hire them You pay them You manage them You see them and talk to them everyday You discipline them Don’t leave a void for someone else to fill
7. The union rep is not always right. Sometimes the union rep says no because he/she is trained to Sometimes the union rep says no because he/she doesn’t know the answer Sometimes union rep says no because he/she doesn’t trust mgmt Sometimes union rep says no just because Take the time to find the right answer – it’s usually not time critical
6. Sometimes the union rep is right. Union reps can be smart and knowledgeable. If he/she knows your business, he/she can be an ally. If he/she doesn’t know the business, take the time to educate. Sometimes the right answer is not the legal answer – it’s the answer that makes sense Union reps see all kinds of management – often they know what works
5. The union rep does answer to a higher power. Bargaining unit members Local executive Head office management Labour Relations Board Duty of fair representation under the labour relations legislation
4. It’s not personal…most of the time. Does the relationship matter? Does the employee’s position on an issue reflect how they feel about the issue…or about you…or both?
3. If you agree to it once, it can come back to haunt you. Past practice What makes sense in the moment/situation sets precedent that doesn’t always make sense Do you have to agree on the spot? If so, make it clear –in writing - that it’s one time only, until you can get direction
2. You don’t need to bargain it if you can manage it. If you bring an item to the bargaining table that is a management right, you’re asking for confirmation that you can do it.
1. If it’s not in the CA, you can do it! Remember your slice of the pie? If it’s a right of management, it doesn’t have to be in the collective agreement for you to be able to do it. Policies, procedures, performance management, discipline attendance management, safety. Give notice, communicate, educate, implement, monitor…stick to it, be consistent and be fair
Thanks and enjoy the rest of your conference! Beth Worthington Lynn Keays Director, HR VP, HR and LR Sysco Canada