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Successful Labour Relations in Uncertain Times

Last year, the Ottawa chapter hosted a regional half day workshop on creating and maintaining successful labour relations within our organizations.

Jaime Moore, RPT
Attendees from across Eastern Ontario and Quebec gathered to learn how to smoothly transition employees from union to management roles as well as to gather some tips on dealing with labour-management relations throughout collective bargaining, grievance and arbitration processes and absenteeism cases, just to name a few.

This session featured two of the countryís top experts in the area of labour relations. Both experts presented their own material and then came together as a panel for an interactive question and answer period.

The first expert presenter was Daryl Bean, past National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Daryl has served as Vice-President and Executive Committee member of the Canadian Labour Congress as well as an Executive Committee member of the Public Services International. He is now President of MD Solutions Labour Relations Consultants.

Daryl shared his knowledge and experience on making a smooth transition from union to management positions. Having made the transition himself, Daryl was able to provide the audience with a first-hand view on how to do this successfully and what pitfalls to avoid. He also stressed the importance of consultation and communication in maintaining amicable relations between union and management. Darylís wealth of knowledge was appreciated by participants who requested future opportunities to listen to the many experiences he has encountered throughout his career.

The second expert was Dan Palayew, an individual well-known and respected by the Ottawa chapter. Dan is Partner and Practice Group Leader of the Ottawa Labour and Employment Group with Heenan Blaikie. With over 15 years experience, he provided practical legal advice on how to best maintain labour-management relations in collective bargaining processes as well as workplace health and safety, absenteeism, and accommodation issues. Danís information was well received by the attendees, many stating that they enjoyed the humour injected as well as the practical case studies used to illustrate key points.

After listening to the experts, the audience had numerous questions for both of them in the panel segment. Questions were asked on mental health in the workplace and how to deal with this sensitive issue, the current state of unions and our expertsí insights on a number of labour relations cases that recently appeared in the media.

Items discussed included dealing with managers who are also unionized when it comes to confidential information (i.e. whether or not there should be some sort of confidentiality agreement in place) and what to do when union representatives are thought to have taken the role to fulfill personal agendas rather that those of the greater employee population.

Based on delegatesí feedback, it was evident that the theme was extremely relevant and that the information delivered was well received. Ensuring good labour-management relations are created and maintained is important for any unionized organization, so strategies and advice on how to facilitate this are most vital.

The Ottawa workshop was a great success with participants returning to their workplace with practical, hands-on information that can be used in their daily dealings with labour representatives and unionized employees.

Jaime Moore, RPT, Ottawa Regional Director, IPM Associations


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