Union tactics and how to overcome them

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HR and organized labour aren’t exactly a match made in heaven but that doesn’t mean the two can’t have a productive relationship. Here, one HR manager reveals the tactics typically employed by unions and offers her top negotiating tips.

What to expect

“Unions will often get an employer to verbally agree on things based on relationship but they often go back on their words,” warns HR manager Alice Lesmana.

“That’s why when you’re dealing with a union, you always have to have everything in writing and in signed documents,” she suggests.

According to B.C-based Lesmana, unions will also sometimes attempt to step away or minimize their involvement in certain cases.

“This is why an employer needs to build a good relationship with the business agent,” she told HRM, “always involve them in any discussion or any processes whenever possible to build trust.”

Top tips

To help navigate the minefield of labour negotiations, Lesmana offered the following top tips:
  • Take detailed notes in any and every meetings.
  • Both parties should go through all ‘agreed’ items and items taken off the table ‘compared’ and ‘checked’ at every meetings.
  • Not to agree in putting everything in the contract, sometimes it’s just a matter of putting proper policies and procedure in place.
  • Always be prepared for every meeting.
 
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