WASHINGTON, February 8, 2014 – This week’s Prescription: Know your boundaries.
Dear Union President:
I am glad your company has a new Union President who is smart and reasonable. In the past, your leaders pushed the envelope too much. For example, instead of negotiating fair pay and benefits for their members, your previous leaders negotiated for a seat at the management table where they tried to influence every company policy.
Let me give you an example. One past union president of this company offered his opinion on how employees in two different company divisions were to be consolidated. He stated how he wanted the employees trained, mentored, and paid after the consolidation. He also wanted to define how they were to be scheduled for work in the consolidated division.
His opinion did not represent his members. Members thought the company should decide how things should be run in the consolidated division. But, the past president forcefully opined. He threatened to take legal action if the division integration was not done his way.
Many observers of this situation and others like this do not like the act of “bargaining.” They believe that union members take things too far.
I think you are needed. You are sometimes mistreated by management, especially given the kinds of money the big bosses are making. Based upon what is currently occurring at Walmart and McDonalds, I think we can all see that reasonable and smart bargaining with such companies could help.
Your job is to ensure that you and your members work under fair conditions, are paid fairly and receive fair benefits. If you ask for too much in the way of money and benefits, your company’s prices will go up and your customers will buy less products from you. Or, your managers will hire fewer employees like they were forced to do in Detroit.
Please stay focused, reasonable and fair so your company and your members thrive. Maintain positive negotiations that get you a regular invitation to the table.
Boundaries in the workplace are good for all.
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