The expectations that employees have from their employers are constantly evolving. Therefore, it is crucial to address workers' demands by updating labor relations strategies and policies. A company that doesn't want to lose its competitive edge must give special attention to building and maintaining better employee and labor relations for everything to work smoothly.
Importance of following a process when working with unions:
According to a CNBC report, more employees are joining unions, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The HR department must focus on employee relations and labor relationships outside an organization.
The labor relations specialist should follow a process to deal with the unions and their members. They must develop strategies to enhance communication across organizations, build trust between employees and managers, reward employees, correctly distribute resources, and request feedback.
Collective bargaining approach: An organization must go for a collective bargaining approach when dealing with unions when the union members ask for increased pay, good employee benefits, or improved working conditions. These unions are potent, and keeping on their good side through harmonious collaboration is in the company's best interest.
Communication: The only sensible way to work with unions is to build effective communication between HR and labor union representatives. Communicating the grievances of labor unions to the top management is the duty of the HR department, or they can arrange scheduled management meetings with union representatives.
Contract negotiations: The stress level can increase during contract negotiations, and according to National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), you are legally bound to bargain on good terms with the union. Still, the cooperation doesn't ensure that things will go as planned.
You can bet that the labor union is extensively preparing for the whole negotiation process. The company must prepare one or two months before the union contract negotiations to facilitate the entire process. Many companies take proactive steps including:
Assembling a negotiating team:
A negotiating team is a must when preparing for contract negotiations. Deciding the team members who fully understand the duties and responsibilities and can negotiate in good faith. The team members can include
- Labor professionals who are certified in labor relations, if available.
- A representative from the HR department
- A top-level manager who is responsible for overseeing the entire process
- A financial advisor to help in determining the cost of the union deal.
- An operational supervisor knows the consequences and repercussions of the contracts on employees.
Preparing questions to ask during contract negotiations:
Specific economic and non-economic points are discussed during contract negotiations. The financial matters include wage increases, health insurance, retirement plans, vacations, Holidays, paid leave for the pandemic, and other major health events.
The non-economic points include hiring or termination practices, work hours, seniority clauses, No strike clauses, Grievance procedures, and remote work policies.
Conflicts can arise in a union environment if the employee and employer relationship doesn't happen the "right way." It may result in ruthless labor looking for a lawsuit. To resolve such conflicts, here are many managers:
- Document every detail, even if you consider it of no importance
- Explain in detail to your employees what are your expectations
- Train employees and provide professional development opportunities
- Discuss everything openly
- Encourage positive feedback
From managing a single to multiple unions, organizations must consider every detail. Maintaining consistency, keeping all parties in the loop, and ensuring every aspect of HR management is covered the way the individual union requires can be daunting if done manually. LaborSoft helps you improve communications, build a more collaborative, safe, and supportive workplace, while reducing the likelihood of costly litigation or union backlash. Contact us for a customized demo and see how easy it can be to manage labor relations with that right ELR solutions.