Myth – the union is the reason that we are not productive and not meeting our metrics

This is one of those myths that perplexes people because it seems to be true. It matches with the experience of a lot of managers. The truth is that being in union or not being in a union does not change an individual’s skills and abilities.  Operating a unionized workplace does not dramatically change management’s right to manage in the same way it did without a union. There is no evidence to suggest that any union would set out to drive productivity down. It would be biting the hand that feeds you.

What does change when an organization becomes unionized is the way supervisors and managers manage.

This change in management behaviour happens for many reasons including: fear of making a mistake; fear of getting a grievance; fear of confrontation; lack of understanding of what the Collective Agreement terms mean or how it should or could be interpreted; not understanding management’s rights in a union environment; no one, other than the union, to go to for advice etc.

Through active and engaged management practices a unionized organization can easily match or surpass the competition (union or non-union alike).

Oakbridges’ strategists help organizations get the maximum potential from their employees in complex union environments in a number of proven ways:

  • Situational Assessments: we conduct studies to define the current cultural realities in your organization and identify the factors that may be constraining productivity or having an adverse impact on safety, quality and customer perceptions;
  • Risk Analysis: we help you identify the key risk factors that could be placing your business or project in jeopardy and assist you in developing mitigation strategies;
  • Governance: we work with senior management to create a governance structure to ensure that Industrial and Labour Relations issues get the attention necessary to prevent the erosion of organizational performance and guard against reputational risks;
  • Collective Bargaining: we support negotiations by helping the organization adopt a strategic perspective for long-term success through better planning and preparation for the bargaining table and through a “best practices” approach to negotiations;
  • Supervisory and Management Training: Our bespoke training is designed around your business needs, your current situation and your contracts. We focus on training that changes behaviours in the workplace and yields positive results measured as improved productivity, safety, product/service quality and greater employee engagement.

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