For those companies that have union-represented employees, working together with union leadership in a spirit of partnership and cooperation can help reduce conflicts, improve productivity, and set the stage for constructive union contract negotiations.

Our labor relations consultants work with both management and union leadership to assess the current labor relations environment, identifying problems and developing practical solutions to achieve meaningful change. If your company would like to improve union and management cooperation and negotiate competitive “win-win” collective bargaining agreements, contact us for a free consultation.

Cooperation vs. Conflict

To begin, it is important for management and union leaders to realize that they have far more in common than what separates them. 

The cost of the conflict that often arises between management and unions is apparent to most everyone; company performance declines, good paying jobs are lost, and families and communities are often devastated. However, when the entire organization (management, employee, and union leadership) operate as a team with everyone pulling in the same direction, companies are better able to grow, attract working capital, and provide employees with competitive pay increases and stable employment. In short, a cooperative, flexible, and productive work environment can help create a positive future for all parties.


“Neither management nor unions can be successful over the long term without mutual cooperation and support”

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)


Our Proven Process and Benefits

Hutchison Group union relations consultants facilitate discussions with union leaders and company mangement to develop practical action plans for meaningful change, improving cooperation, minimizing conflict and setting the stage for successful union contrat negotiations. Our process and services include: 

  • Assess the current union-management relationship
  • Understand the importance of productive union and management cooperation
  • Identify problems and sources of conflict
  • Develop practical action plans for improving labor relations
  • Review industry best practices for union-management cooperation
  • Set the stage for productive union contract negotiations
  • Conduct onsite labor relations training for supervisors
  • Design communication plans to keep employees informed of progress

The Union-Management sessions are typically conducted in a relaxed atmosphere away from the pressures of formal bargaining, which allow participants to freely explore new ideas and strategies for moving forward. Once a new framework has been agreed to, management and the union can commence formal union contract negotiations to solidify the “win-win” concepts and key provisions they identified during their informal discussions. 

Working Together: Union Leaders Can Help 

As trusted elected officials, union leaders are uniquely positioned to help companies engage the workforce and improve productivity. Listed below are several examples of how union leaders, working with management, can help:

  • Educate the workforce as to key challenges and concerns facing the business
  • Reduce conflicts and costly disruptions by resolving issues quickly
  • Encourage employees to accept needed changes for mutual success
  • Work with management to address concerns and develop practical solutions
  • Establish employee committees to generate new ideas for improving labor relations
  • Draw on their membership to design and deliver employee skills training
  • Meet with current and potential customers to help promote business
  • Improve teamwork, performance, and quality of work life for employees

Competitive Collective Bargaining Agreements are Essential for Success

Our labor relations consultants have over 35 years of experience helping some of the world’s best companies plan and negotiate innovative “win-win” collective bargaining agreements; often under challenging circumstances. 

Working together with management and union leaders, our union relations consultants help design new collective bargaining agreements to improve the company’s ability to compete in their respective industry, while helping to ensure a good future for all parties. Special emphasis is placed on cost management, productivity improvements, and the company’s ability to attract and retain talented employees. The results of our planning efforts and our union contract negotiation strategies, typically include: 

  • Identify acceptable ways to manage costs and improve productivity 
  • Eliminate restrictive work rules for increased flexibility 
  • Simplify union contracts to ease administration and reduce potential conflicts 
  • Improve communications to promote employee and union engagement
  • Create a positive and productive work environment 

Lastly, and equally important, we work with both parties to structure the new union contract agreement to promote ongoing union-management cooperation, to help minimize future conflicts and costly disruptions. 

Reassure the Board of Directors and Shareholders

As an added benefit, developing a proactive union contract negotiation strategy in advance of labor contract negotiations can help to reassure the Board of Directors and Shareholders that management has been proactive in identifying and addressing potential areas of concern that could adversely affect company performance. As we all know, excessive costs, restrictive work practices, and union conflicts can all negatively impact stock price and company valuation.

Summary

As stated earlier, neither management nor union leaders can be successful over the long term without the cooperation and support of the other. As trusted elected officials, union leaders are uniquely positioned to help educate the workforce and to facilitate change for improved productivity and performance. Inevitably, there will be areas of disagreement, but in today’s competitive business environment, management and union leaders must work together in a spirit of partnership to create a positive future for both the business and employees.


“Having worked with the Hutchison Group for over ten years, they are a respected and trusted resource that has repeatedly helped us improve our communications and working relationships with company management.”

International Association of Machinists (IAM)


For a complete list of our services please visit https://www.hutchgrp.com/services/


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