Whether your company has been newly organized or been unionized for years, there is a central truth about labor negotiations: how well you do across that bargaining table will depend on how well you laid the groundwork in the weeks, months, and years preceding that labor negotiations meeting. And there is no substitute for being prepared.
In a tactical sense, being prepared for any labor negotiations will involve knowing the strengths and vulnerabilities of the union. It will mean being able to parse the rhetoric to get a clear sense of issue priorities. And it will mean knowing when to yield, when to offer yet another creative solution, and if necessary, when to walk away.
Tactics are important, but here at the Cabot Institute, we advise our clients to adopt a strategic approach to labor negotiations: one that takes the long view, one that goes beyond wages, benefits, and workplace conditions. Our perspective regarding labor negotiations is a balanced one.
There's no question that we are dedicated to preserving and defending the appropriate prerogatives of management in any labor negotiations. At the same time, we are equally committed to guiding our clients toward constructive policies of employee engagement - whether in labor negotiations or not. Our goal is to help them create and maintain a workplace environment in which everyone feels invested in the success of the organization. We believe in a culture of inclusion, one where communication flows smoothly and honestly, and where all parties know the value of trust. When dealing directly with your associates to cultivate these values other options may become available: decertification and/or strike avoidance.
In that sort of world, labor negotiations can be open, honest, and fair. Management can afford a level of transparency that can lead union representatives to be realistic in their expectations. That sort of a win/win approach to labor negotiations inevitably will yield enhanced productivity and a shared sense of achievement.
To learn more about the Cabot Institute's approach to labor negotiations, we invite you to attend Steve Cabot's two-day Labor Strategy Symposium, held semi-annually in major cities across the United States.
And we invite you to contact us with any specific questions or concerns related to union avoidance, labor negotiations, strike planning, decertification, or any other labor relations issues.