With governments everywhere reducing or removing restrictions, it appears that we’re heading back to bargaining in person. At a real table instead of a virtual one. But even if we’re planning in-person negotiations in the near future, we’re not returning to “normal” – that’s still a ways off. We will need to transition, effectively, from a flat screen to sitting across from each other, in three dimensions, for the first time in a few years. Here are some ideas and considerations to help with that transition.
Many books have been written about negotiation strategy and the different approaches to negotiation, from interest-based to traditional bargaining to win-win to principled, and many more. Much less, however, has been written about the detailed mechanics of successful negotiation and problem solving, about the face-to-face tools and language skills we must master to be more effective negotiators. In particular, one of the most important skills is the “art of the question”.
Summer is here and many of us are already taking vacations and spending some quality time with our family and friends. I am currently attending our summer Negotiation Skills program, being offered in beautiful downtown Halifax. At the IRC, we are reflecting on the spring program season and preparing for the fall. I would like to take a minute to thank all the people who attend our programs and the organizations who sponsor them. Congratulations to those who have earned their certificates.
We have entered a challenging and difficult time for collective bargaining for both employers and unions. Shortly following the great recession in 2008, both management and unions reached deals relatively quickly, everyone recognizing the dramatic economic issues the parties faced at the time. From 2008 well into 2012, there was little change. Employers tried to deal with the reality of the recession, and unions waited for the anticipated rebound, assuming it would resemble almost all recessions of the past.
Clark MacFarlane has over twenty years of experience in the health care sector, and is currently the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch, in northern Ontario. CMHA branches provide direct service to people who are experiencing mental illness, and to their families. They are in the process of implementing a new service delivery model, which shifts from traditional treatment methods to a recovery approach.
Most people are familiar with the old adage that defines true insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Then why, in labour relations, do we continue using the same processes and methods that have not yielded positive results for us in the past? Well, some parties have learned this lesson and are trying new approaches in their search for win-win outcomes of negotiation.
Queen's IRC has interviewed many of our expert facilitators, speakers and staff, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. These interviews are now available on our YouTube channel. We encourage you to take the time to check out these videos.
Unions face many negative perceptions, such as the notion that union workers are lazy, under worked, have job security for life, and enjoy gold-plated benefits and pension packages that others can only dream about. In light of this, how can unions overcome their PR problem? This question was one of many that was put to a panel of labour relations practitioners and experts recently, at a roundtable discussion sponsored by Queen's IRC, and hosted by the Canadian HR Reporter.
Following the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Ontario (A.G.) v. Fraser (Fraser), there has, predictably, been widespread speculation as to its eventual effect on the labour relations landscape in Canada. A departure from other recent SCC case law, Fraser found that there was no constitutional guarantee for any specific form of labour relations or collective bargaining regime. Even if the decision was significant in shaping Canada’s constitutional framework for collective bargaining, any tangible effect on labour policy has yet specifically to materialize
I was a professional Fire Fighter in the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), for many years before I got directly involved as a member of our Local's negotiating team. Although I was always interested in our Association's activities, and I regularly attended meetings, I never considered myself "involved-enough" to run for any committee or executive position for those first 15 years of my career.
When Paul Juniper became the Director of Queen's University Industrial Relations Centre (IRC) in 2006, he recognized the need for more senior level training in the changing human resources (HR) profession. To accomplish this, he designed a new series of Advanced HR programs to enhance the strategic knowledge, ability, and capability of HR practitioners. The goal was to enable HR practitioners to shift from an administrative and/or transactional role, to one that has become an integral part of an organization's business strategy – an HR business partner.
Build trust, be yourself, prepare for tradeoffs – and watch the junk food. Ford Canada’s Vice President of Human Resources Stacey Allerton Firth shares these and other secrets for successful interest-based bargaining. In this article, Stacey draws on her experiences as a long-time senior HR executive and as lead negotiator for the 2005 Canadian Auto …
The Don Wood Lecture in Industrial Relations was established by friends of W. Donald Wood to honour his outstanding contribution to Canadian industrial relations. Dr Wood was Director of the Industrial Relations Centre from 1960 to 1985, and the first Director of the School of Industrial Relations, established in 1983. The lecture brings to Queen’s …
Three approaches to negotiation are examined in this essay – competitive, collaborative and contextual – by looking at Bell Canada and the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers’ Union of Canada to see how their approaches changed depending on the context.
The author examines when interest-based bargaining works and when it doesn't; traditional and new approaches; how to implement interest-based bargaining; and provides a case study of mutual-gains bargaining in action in an Ontario gold mining company.
In this health care-related paper, learn the results of a survey of major hospitals across Canada. The research explores workforce management and culture; unionization and labour-management relations; workforce reduction behaviour; and organizational performance.
The trade union movement in Canada, as in many other industrial countries, is in the throes of change. Among other things, it is grappling with pressures stemming from the rapid pace of economic and technological change as well as shifts in business practices, employment patterns and social attitudes. This report briefly examines some of the challenges facing trade unions on the eve of the new millennium.
The significant transformation of the Canadian economy and system of production in the past decade has not left the industrial relations system untouched. Managers and union leaders have become more and more aware of their interdependence and vulnerability, through their experience of plant closings, layoffs, loss of market share and technological obsolescence. Does the lower level of labour strife mean that parties are biding their time and expecting the good old days to return?
As a labour lawyer and a professor of labour law, George Adams mediated many disputes over the years. As a new member of the Ontario Court of Justice, he shared his views on the negotiation process with respect to the competitive challenges facing the workplace. He in presented this paper in May 1992 at the Annual Spring Industrial Relations Seminar.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the bargaining agenda of selected major Canadian unions on women's issues and the effectiveness of their efforts towards incorporating these issues into their collective agreements. The first section highlights the union agenda and the common provisions the unions have been pursuing at the collective bargaining table. The second section analyzes the frequency of the collective agreement clauses on women's issues overall and of selected unions.
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate issues in the implementation of pay equity, based on the experience of Ontario. The Ontario Act is considered as having the broadest scope of coverage of pay equity legislation, not only in Canada but in North America. This paper compares the Pay Equity Act of Ontario to other pieces of Canadian equal pay for work of equal value legislation, exploring the similarities and dissimilarities, highlighting the unique features and discussing the implications of various provisions.
This paper attempts to examine part-time employment from both a legal and economic perspective, looking at the extent of part-time employment, the compensation arrangements for part-time employees with particular emphasis on benefits other than wages, and the apparent inequities in these arrangements. The treatment of part-time workers under existing employment standards and collective bargaining legislation is reviewed and the potential impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is examined.
Research on the male-female wage differential in Canada has produced evidence of a substantial link between occupational segregation and low female earnings. Because most Canadian labour jurisdictions have enacted equal pay for equal work legislation, this component of the wage gap is unaffected. Consequently, programs which attempt to desegregate occupations and/or resolve pay inequities arising from occupational segregation are being debated.
This paper analyzes the methods by which settlements were arrived at in more than 1400 Ontario collective agreements during the years 1970-1973 and discusses some of the implications of these patterns. The analysis is based on information published jointly by the Federal and Ontario Departments of Labour, covering settlements involving more than 250 employees in industries other than construction.