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G-1 A P P E N D I X G Overview After reviewing the survey results, it was obvious that the breadth and effectiveness of cooperative laborâmanagement activities varied widely from one transit operation to another. With guidance from the TCRP Project F-20 panel, we selected six transit systems as case study properties which seemed to have extensive laborâmanagement cooperative activities. The case studies included in-depth examination of operational details and thorough in-person interviews. The six case studies included: â¢ A large bus and rail operator in the Northeast â¢ A large bus and rail operator in the Mountain Region â¢ A large bus and rail operator on the West Coast â¢ A medium bus and rail operator in the Southeast â¢ A medium bus and rail operator on the West Coast â¢ A medium bus operator in the Northeast Please note that to insure confidentiality, the six case stud- ies are not identified in this document. The sequence of the summaries presented does not correspond to the sequence listed above. We cataloged various cooperative activities in each loca- tion. To focus our research, we compiled a list of premises to examine and determine whether these cooperative activi- ties are robust laborâmanagement cooperative activities. The premises we examined are: 1. Outline shared goals and expectations of the partnership. 2. Establish broad-based buy-in from all key stakeholders with formality and structure that is made clear to all. 3. Require consistent accountability of everyone in the organization with a governing or executing responsibil- ity for the partnership. 4. Provide for comprehensive skill building for both union and management throughout the course of the partnership. 5. Design, implement, and sustain effective communication. 6. Align all necessary resources to support the partnership. 7. Respect the individuals representing the other party. 8. Provide an independent facilitator, if affordable. 9. Separate issues between integrative (or win-win) and dis- tributive (or zero-sum) ones. 10. Take advantage of specific successes (e.g., pension fund governance, apprenticeship) to build a broader partnership. 11. Limit the frequency of grievances and the time spent to resolve them; recognize that the partnership is not a sub- stitute for the grievance process. 12. Take advantage of shared challenges and crises to catalyze partnership agreements. 13. Support stability in union and management leadership and smooth laborâmanagement partnership leadership transitions. 14. Be confident that managers can cooperate with unions yet still continue to defend prerogatives and efficiency. 15. Be confident that union leadersâ cooperation with man- agement will not compromise membersâ interests. In the six case study summaries that follow, the research team reported findings from the case studies that addressed these 15 premises. In general, the case studies affirmed the premises, with a few missing information; sometimes they disproved the premises. Based on the findings reported for each premise, the summaries analyze the findings compre- hensively to paint a complete picture, and then conclude with the key lessons learned for each case study. Case Study 1 Introduction The transit system studied is located in a traditionally agri- cultural area. The major city served by the transit system is the county seatâa long-time center for warehouse, packing, Case Study Summaries
G-2 â¢ Spearheading the process for identifying people, needs, and training steps required, and then following through â¢ Obtaining resources from the broader community includ- ing State and Federal grants for training facilities, job improvement funding, and local community college edu- cation programs â¢ Utilizing JWIâs own funds along with specific budgetary items (such as funding for open and unfilled positions) to pay for training time and then enlisting time from manag- ers, supervisors, and paid union officers Results Three factors were responsible for the successful design and operation of this laborâmanagement program: â¢ A very committed and capable neutral facilitator/ administrator â¢ State and local resources available to sustain workplace jobs initiatives â¢ A clear separation between JWI and collective bargaining activities (Even though some people were involved in both, the litigation and bargaining people were kept out of JWI and there were no disciplinary or bargaining table conse- quences for discussions held in the context of JWIâthe so-called âLas Vegas rulesâ were strictly applied.) Premises This transit system has the most advanced and functional LMP of all the transit properties we studied and, perhaps, throughout the entire public transportation industry. Almost all the premises were evaluated while studying the operation of this transit system and the story of partnership develop- ment places each premise in perspective. Outline Shared Goals and Expectations of the Partnership Precise goals and expectations were established and out- lined for the partnership. The shared goals and expectations took several years to emerge and materialize. Establish Broad-Based Buy-In from All Key Stakeholders with Formality and Structure that is Made Clear to All The partnership arose from a general, not specific, com- mitment, backed by resources from management and labor to construct a detailed program. Dissatisfaction on both the management and the union side with a perpetual and exclu- sively combative relationship and contributions into a fund and rail transport and encompasses a university. The transit system was formed by purchasing and consolidating several small private bus operations which provided commuter ser- vice in and out of the city and has since grown to provide more typical fixed-route urban bus and light rail transit ser- vices. There are about 1500 represented employees including operations, maintenance, and clerical, divided among four work locations, three for bus and one for light rail. The local economy has also changed dramatically in recent decadesâ orchards are filled with corporation compounds. In advance of the site visit, the research team reviewed the transit agencyâs collective bargaining agreement, pension plan, enabling statute which created the Authority, and a partner- ship program known as the âJoint Workplace Investmentâ or âJWI.â During the site visit we interviewed three managers, two current union officers, and a retired union officer still active in JWI endeavors, as well as the independent adminis- trator and staff person of JWI. We focused on the history of JWI and its evolving functions, including perspectives from both management and labor, and discussed in more gen- eral terms how JWI operation interfaces with other more traditional and familiar laborâmanagement endeavors such as collective bargaining, grievance resolution, and pension administration. An operations manager was assigned to guide and trans- port us throughout the transit system and we had the occa- sion to observe the operation with him informally. He had only an indirect connection with JWI and was mainly con- cerned with its generally positive impact on the maintenance workforce. Otherwise, all of those we spoke to were heavily involved in JWI, its creation, progress and operation; each spoke uniformly in positive, almost glowing terms about the transformative impact that JWI has made in the opera- tions and in the labor relationship in particular in this transit system. JWI was drafted originally to establish, promote, and oper- ate a program for job training in the context of promotion and transfer of existing employees. It was later expanded to encom- pass training and improvement of new workers, particularly in the operator occupation. It has been in full operation for about 8 years. The stated functions of JWI revolve mainly around man- power development, providing career advancement and sup- port for workers and more stable/skilled manpower for the management. Many of those working in the fueling and clean- ing operation felt they could function at a skilled mainte- nance level, performing at least running maintenance services traditionally done by entry-level mechanics. This transition required basic mechanical training as well as job-specific classes, which the workers could not accomplish without receiving time, pay, and education resources. JWI organized the program by
G-3 through JWI as being worthy of improvement in an affirma- tive way, as opposed to discipline and negative reinforcement. Align All Necessary Resources to Support the Partnership JWI obtains resources from the broader community includ- ing state and federal grants for training facilities, and job improvement funding, and local community college educa- tion programs, as well as utilizing JWIâs own funds along with specific budgetary items (such as funding for open and unfilled positions) to pay for training time and then enlisting time from managers, supervisors, and paid union officers. JWIâs own fund is supported by funds from both budget commitment of management and union membersâ payroll reduction. Provide an Independent Facilitator, if Affordable The program was designed, improved, and now operates on an ongoing basis with the active direction of an independent administrator who has skills and experiences peculiarly suited to a joint laborâmanagement endeavor. The JWI administrator is an independent, neutral professional who has education and experience in labor mediation, organizational behavior and, specifically, in workplace development programs. The JWI administrator carries credibility with the various agencies and political bodies involved in granting resources and maintains strict neutrality between labor and manage- ment concerns. The administratorâs unusual combination of skills, viewpoint about shared objectives, and ability to iden- tify âintegrativeâ problems focus the JWI representatives on solutions which meet the needs of both sides and are credited by everyone as vital contributions. This is especially effective at times when turnover through union elections or manage- ment replacements and reorganizations made it necessary to integrate a new participant into the process. Separate Issues Between Integrative (or Win-Win) and Distributive (or Zero-Sum) Ones The labor relationship is now imbued with active identifi- cation of workplace issues as âdistributiveâ vs. âintegrativeâ in order to determine whether they are handled in the contract negotiation/administration arena or in the partnership JWI arena. We learned about several examples where they sorted through workplace events in a fairly detailed manner to dis- cern which process needed to apply to which problem. For example, â¢ A wellness program promoting good diet, exercise, and healthy life style is entirely run and administered by JWI; from both sides got things going. It took several years to put the program on paper and in detail, which survives today. The document establishes a clear and flexible administrative structure, precise goals and expectations, accountability (the precise standards were characterized in slightly different terms on either side), skills training, improved communications and respect, and finally, resources necessary to move the partner- ship endeavors forward. Require Consistent Accountability of Everyone in the Organization with a Governing or Executing Responsibility for the Partnership Accountability of individuals is clearly defined in the JWI governing document. Provide for Comprehensive Skill Building for Both Union and Management throughout the Course of the Partnership The JWI provides for skills training, including improved communications and mutual respect. Design, Implement, and Sustain Effective Communication The JWI specifies a communication plan. For example, successful and experienced operators, âmentorsâ in JWI, gather once every other month or so in a formal, planned meeting and while âservice demands come firstâ they meet during work time and supervisors go to some lengths to ensure that half to three-fourths of the mentors are released from driving long enough to attend. The mentorship meetings are â¢ Attended by high-level union and management officials â¢ Governed by what everyone referred to as âLas Vegas rules,â meaning that what happens or is said in the meetings stays in the meetings â¢ Unrelated to the grievance procedure in any way The mentorship meetings guide mentors and provide a forum for them to discuss problems that arise between them and the drivers they speak with. Over time, however, the mentorship meetings have become vital sources for every- one involved to improve operations, improve management accountability, and indirectly improve the grievance and bar- gaining processes by making changes which are premised on shared objectives. Moreover, the emphasis on the value and improvement of performance has fueled the sense that the operations and maintenance work is important and valued. The interviews revealed a fairly involved and subtle sense of distinction between problems which are better approached
G-4 â¢ The total number of participants â¢ The number of participants who successfully completed required training to undertake skilled jobs â¢ The impact of participantsâ successful transition to skilled positions on stability in their existing classifications and productivity in their new ones â¢ The amount of money garnered in grants and the like which were added to the overall operation by JWI endeavors JWI has endured not only because the metrics are generally positive, but also because it is energized on an ongoing basis. JWI has taken on new projects to transition employees from fueling and cleaning functions to skilled rail maintenance and also provides relatively protracted mentoring, beyond tradi- tional âride alongâ instructions to new operators. Again, men- tors are successful, experienced operators who are assigned to guide new operators for several months one year after they begin service and are selected for the program by JWI with union and management concurrence. Among the most interesting and durable aspects of the maintenance training program is a training facility which is stocked and supported by various vendors and used to train classifications throughout bus maintenance, and in particular, for the bus maintenance mentoring program. Skilled mechan- ics are designated by JWI (both management and labor agree on them) to oversee and work actively with JWI participants as they transition to their new jobs. There are no formal reports or discipline involved. New mechanics ultimately demonstrate their ability but the mentors do not grade or evaluate them, just assist and guide. It is fair to say that âJWIâ has become workplace nomen- clature for joint governance and workplace problem solving, in contrast with grievance and bargaining activities which are seen and valued as power- or leverage-based encounters. Both management and union officials spoke very highly of their respective professionals who work in traditional labor disputes, including the human resources/labor relations staff (and their outside counsel) and, on the union side, the inter- national vice president who assists their local and the lawyers and other professionals they consult. In the conclusion of a contract in the early 2008 recession days, the union voted to forebear a negotiated wage increase. For some, a resulting feeling of that interplay and the general notion of a shared privation helped give a boost to the JWI program; but this sentiment was not shared by all. While we did not discuss JWI with either human resources or the international union staff, it was significant to us that every person with whom we discussed JWI emphasized its importance to the transit agency and that it should remain entirely divorced from grievance dispute activity and from the labor relations dynamic altogether. They see the conten- while the health care planâvital to ongoing health and wellnessâis negotiated across the table because of the cost/family budget implications of coverage choices. â¢ The perpetual problem of lavatory and food/drink breaks is similarly addressed in multiple arenas. Identifying reli- able and adequate facilities for drivers en route is seen as an integrative problem, perfect for resolution in JWI, whereas the re-design of driver assignments to build in extra head- way or relief is a clear distributive problem which costs money in order to preserve continuity and service headway. Take Advantage of Specific Successes (e.g., Pension Fund Governance, Apprenticeship) to Build a Broader Partnership JWI started out as a training-based partnership. Its success led to cooperation in other areas such as employee wellness, and lavatory and food/drink breaks. Take Advantage of Shared Challenges and Crises to Catalyze Partnership Agreements No direct findings on this premise. Support Stability in Union and Management Leadership and Smooth LaborâManagement Partnership Leadership Transitions In the first several years of the JWI, there was leadership stability on both management and union sides, as well as managersâ and union officersâ confidence in their positions. This was important to establish and institutionalize JWI. Be Confident that Managers Can Cooperate with Unions yet Still Continue to Defend Prerogatives and Efficiency No direct findings on this premise. Be Confident that Union Leadersâ Cooperation with Management Will Not Compromise Membersâ Interests No direct findings on this premise. Analysis JWI focused on obtaining consensus on operational details, from the underlying terms of agreement onward, then iden- tifying and reporting various aspects or âmetricsâ of the pro- gram so that the parties could assess its value. The metrics included
G-5 does not represent other transit workers at the other transit systems. The labor and management indicators from our survey data were high and were unique in that the union respondent rated the relationship slightly higher even than the manage- ment respondent. The partnership between the jurisdiction and the largest local is currently based on a strong interest on the part of the current local leadership in securing funding for transit and thereby serving the more constant interest of the local in employee wages and benefits, complemented by a policy on the part of the jurisdiction which owns the transit agency of responsiveness to employee perspectives and inter- ests. These policies on the part of the current local and the jurisdiction are driven by perceived membership views and public opinion, respectively. Union interviews were conducted throughout the first day with the president, the vice president representing mainte- nance employees, the financial secretary and the recording secretary. Interviews with management were conducted at the transit departmentâs offices on the following day. Labor rela- tions and human resources were located at the departmentâs headquarters where the interviews were conducted. Safety and risk management representatives and an operations rep- resentative came to the headquarters for the interviews. Results The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) established a laborâmanagement relations committee with monthly meet- ings. Either party may place items on the agenda. Specific meeting topics are âmatters of mutual concernââagency policies which affect the union and contract administra- tion issues other than grievances (unless both parties agree to discuss a grievance). In addition, the CBA established other committees on topics ranging from safety to vehicle procurement. Other ad hoc laborâmanagement committees have been formed from time to time, including a special bus technology committee, and of current note, a committee to investigate systemic discrimination in agency activities. In general, both management and labor interviewees praised the activities and results of these committees. More specific comments were that managementâs commitment to safety was particularly genuine and impressive. However, an observation by one local union officer was that the personnel on some of the more specific committees did not have the level of understanding necessary to achieve significant results, and that key issues needed to be addressed by management and labor at the senior level. In several areas, the local union officers felt that they had been able to propose a jointly acceptable resolution to an tion of typical labor relations as important and valuable to both sides, but fear that the behavioral conventions associ- ated with that process would undermine, if not destroy, the relationships which fuel progress of the JWI. That said, the constant emphasis on grievance arbitration and litigation may have given rise on each side to an appetite to establish a partnership alternative for at least some matters. On each side, those we interviewed cautioned that there were union members and management officials who were not enamored with the JWI or convinced of its successâyet the interviewees also said uniformly that the program was gener- ally viewed positively by members and supervisors and that its diminution or demise would be perceived as a loss for the entire workplace. Conclusion Four factors were critical for the genesis of JWI. 1) The program is supported in part by funds which come directly from union members through payroll deduction and from specific budget commitment from management. 2) The program is based on a written document which is apart from the collective bargaining agreement and functions independently of the bargaining and grievance process. 3) There was at least one promoter or âchampionâ of the pro- gram on each side of the bargaining table. 4) The program was designed, improved, and now oper- ates on an ongoing basis with the active direction of an independent administrator who has skills and experiences peculiarly suited to a joint laborâmanagement endeavor. Case Study 2 Introduction The region is served by several overlapping transit agencies. The agency, which owns the largest number of buses and light rail vehicles in the region, is called âthe owning jurisdiction.â The operators, maintenance employees, and first-line super- visors (street supervisors, station dispatchers, and foremen) are represented by the local of a major international transit union. Most transit management employees are represented by a separate professional employees union local. The bus system transitioned from a municipal transit sys- tem to an independent regional services agency, which was then merged into the jurisdiction that currently owns the system. Another local government has established a street- car system which is operated by the transit agency under an intergovernmental contract. Although there are a number of suburban and surrounding region transit agencies, the local
G-6 Outline Shared Goals and Expectations of the Partnership Precise outlining of all goals, requirements, and expecta- tions is present and confirmed to the extent that the CBA sets out the committee structure. However, the more specific goals of safety, health, fair employment, efficient and effective oper- ations, and adequate transit funding all seemed more intuitive for both parties rather than stated, discussed, or documented. Establish Broad-Based Buy-In from All Key Stakeholders with Formality and Structure that is Made Clear to All This was confirmed in the provisions of the CBA regarding committee constitution and operation. This transit agency has both strong documentation and a strong LMP. Looking ahead, if there is indeed a more confrontational relationship over the next 5 years than over the preceding 5 years, the CBA commit- tee provisions would likely have a moderating effect. Require Consistent Accountability of Everyone in the Organization with a Governing or Executing Responsibility for the Partnership On the management side, some of the reporting relation- ships were unusual in that significant aspects of safety, bene- fits, and risk management were provided by a âshared servicesâ structure of the owning jurisdiction rather than by transit division personnel reporting to the transit executive. Never- theless, a consistent commitment to a collaborative and open relationship with the local union seemed effective throughout these functions, based on the local unionâs understanding of the policies and implementation. Provide for Comprehensive Skill Building for Both Union and Management throughout the Course of the Partnership Providing for comprehensive skill building for both groups was confirmed in that both management and the union reflected a pursuit of sophisticated approach toward LMR. The union provided mentoring and training to officers and membership. Management recruited and trained sophisti- cated labor relations practitioners. Design, Implement, and Sustain Effective Communication No formal communication plan was mentioned, but both parties seemed to be well-coordinated in communicating issue through the committee process: for example, they had proposed a new maintenance position and work group struc- ture to avoid craft specialty restrictions and inefficiencies in the installation of IT equipment on buses, and the current effort on comprehensive equity was a union initiative. On the specific topic of operator relief facilities, this had been a significant topic of discussion. Specifically, it was noted that maintenance reported more than 60 instances of discov- ering urine-damaged operator seats in 12 months. Manage- ment has a full-time position dedicated to identifying and retaining operator relief stations. A large retail chain has granted formal permission to transit operators to use its rest- rooms at any of its stores. There are a few facilities with dedi- cated restrooms constructed for operators, but there has been resistance to the construction of such facilities particularly from suburban elected officials. Union officials also noted that ownersâ had withdrawn the right to use certain facilities because of abuse by employees including graffiti. While both management and the union note that it is an issue of unre- solved concern, both parties seemed to believe it was being addressed as effectively as possible. One suggestion was that a federal, state, or municipal requirement for a relief facil- ity in proximity to every bus route in service might produce the necessary civic cooperation as a condition of obtaining transit service. In general, on issues of mutual interest (non-distributive or win-win issues) such as safety, both parties felt that col- laboration was easy and effective. Of particular note among several non-distributive issues discussed was the win-win sit- uation of the public funding issue for transit, discussed under âAnalysis,â below. On distributive, competitive, zero-sum issues, it was the authorâs impression that collaboration was still feasible in this unionâmanagement relationship. For example, the local union officers were articulate in describing the financial chal- lenges facing the transit budget, the necessity for the proposed service reductions, and in defending what they themselves had described as a concessionary wage settlement. They were also clear that defending the settlement proposal was possible because of their perception that transit agency wages were relatively high and that they had enjoyed past successes in wage and benefit bargaining. In addition to but outside the LMP, the union has initiated a political action committee to support pro-transit positions in local policy debates. A quarter of the union membership joins with other pro-transit interests in funding the commit- teeâs pro-transit activities. Premises The specific premises regarding the factors contributing to strong and lasting partnerships are as follows:
G-7 Take Advantage of Specific Successes (e.g., Pension Fund Governance, Apprenticeship) to Build a Broader Partnership The history of partnerships was so long at this transit agency that major successes and their effect were not cited; however, the partnership does continue to broaden with new collaborative efforts on systemic discrimination and safety. Limit the Frequency of Grievances and Time to Resolve Them; Recognize that the Partnership is Not a Substitute for a Grievance Process This premise was confirmed in that the grievance rate is low and grievances are resolved with very few arbitrations. Take Advantage of Shared Challenges and Crises to Catalyze Partnership Agreements Taking advantage of shared challenges and crises to cata- lyze partnership agreements was confirmed in this case. While there were long-term underlying demographic and social factors that favored the partnership, it seemed clear that the threats to the transit tax base presented by the anti-tax initia- tives had catalyzed a significant new dimension to the partner- ship in the political activity of the local. Support Stability in Union and Management Leadership and Smooth LaborâManagement Partnership Leadership Transitions This did not seem to be a major factor in this relationship. There was acknowledgment among both the labor and man- agement representatives that it was a significant advantage that key management personnel had come from union ranks and had an effortless, strong personal relationship with union offi- cials. But there had been significant turnover at the top of the transit system organization in the past 10 years and the current local union president was a two-term president with no sense of pre-ordained succession from his predecessors. As mentioned above, there will be a change in union leadership; several inter- viewees predicted this would negatively impact the LMP. Be Confident that Managers Can Cooperate with Unions yet Still Continue to Defend Prerogatives and Efficiency This was a major factor in strengthening this relationship in that both management and union had confidence that the governing body and the public supported careful consider- ation and constant attention to employee interests, and even partnership with the union. issues. The union periodical in particular was broad in cover- age of all views, and also included space for management pre- sentations on collaborative topics such as risk management. Align All Necessary Resources to Support the Partnership Aligning all necessary resources was a requirement met. Committee meetings were not constrained by lack of funding. Respect the Individuals Representing the Other Party Respect for the individuals representing the other party was confirmed by this case study. Both parties mentioned the importance of courtesy in the relationship, and local union officers specifically cited the deleterious effect of union per- sonnel who were too confrontational. More fundamentally, both parties cited the strong relationships developed by key management personnel who arose from union ranks and who cultivated an ongoing open and trusting personal rela- tionship with union officials. Provide an Independent Facilitator, if Affordable Presence of an independent facilitator was not apparent. Not only was no outside facilitator active with either party, there was no apparent need for an in-house neutral party or facilitator. To some extent, the labor relations office does del- egate or cede responsibility for laborâmanagement matters to operating departments, and can play a neutral facilitator role when necessary, but this was not perceived as an impartial role as labor relations clearly represents management in its involvement. Separate Issues between Integrative (or Win-Win) and Distributive (or Zero-Sum) Ones This premise was confirmed to the extent that joint laborâmanagement committees were quickly formed where the parties recognized shared interests, and also that there was continuing tension, particularly within the factions of the union, over wages and the pending wage settlement. However, it also seemed that the LMP policy of current union leadership contributed to a partnership approach to the wage issue: their defense of their proposed settlement on wages was based on their understanding of the transit agencyâs financial environment. In other words, the union approached the wage issue from both the perspective of membersâ welfare and the financial sustainability of the transit agency.
G-8 management, and amplified by the composition of the work force. The partnership has developed documented and insti- tutionalized action processes. It has also been strengthened by a material challenge from anti-tax activism, although the clear sense of this dynamic is much stronger among union interviewees than among management interviewees. It is possible that the partnership may be weakened in the coming years if management and union develop more antagonistic relationships, as seems possible, but this would be a departure from the 20-year or more trend recalled by the interviewees. Case Study 3 Introduction This case study involves a regional transit system organized in the late 1960s. This regional authority operates public tran- sit services in eight of the twelve counties. It is governed by a 15-member, publicly elected Board of Directors. The direc- tors are elected to a 4-year term and represent a specific dis- trict. Elections are staggered so that eight seats are open in one general election, seven in the next. It currently operates a bus and light rail transit system. This transit system contracts out a significant portion of its fixed-route services. The contractors employ bus opera- tors, not mechanics. It is interesting to note that the same union that represents employees of the primary public transit system also represents employees at the property of the larger of the two contractors, which provides for an interesting mix for its laborâmanagement relationship between the primary transit system and the contractor, both in terms of issues and the crossover of key personnel. In the course of completing the case study, a number of key management personnel as well as key union leadership personnel were interviewed. The interviews included the gen- eral manager, assistant general manager for bus operations, senior human resources manager, labor relations manager, and president and general counsel of the local union which represents the bargaining unit employees at the primary and larger contractor locations. Results The telephone survey conducted before the on-site inter- views revealed very little in the way of a formal cooperative relationship, yet each side gave high marks (4 and 5, labor and management, respectively) when asked, âHow would you characterize the relationship between the management and the union in your system? Could you rate it on a scale of 1 to 5?â Each party to the survey, union and management, attrib- uted the high numbers to a different set of circumstances: the Be Confident that Union Leadersâ Cooperation with Management Will Not Compromise Membersâ Interests This premise was confirmed by the incumbent union offi- cersâ sense that the collaboration was in the membersâ long- run interests, that the membership had supported their policies in electing them, and that the members would sup- port collaboration in the long run. However, the interviewees predicted a change in union leadership that would deviate from the partnership policy and negatively affect the LMP. That also confirmed that lack of confidence in the union leadersâ ability to uphold union membersâ interests hurts the partnership. Analysis While the CBA contains a large number of strong clear provisions providing for laborâmanagement committees in a number of specific areas as well as an overall labor manage- ment relations committee, both parties believed the relation- ship is driven by more fundamental factors in orientation of the parties. For its part, the local union officers all believed that col- laborative relationships were more productive than con- frontational tactics. The union president is a clear leader and spokesperson for a policy perspective supporting partner- ships and cooperation and is likely more confirmed in this view than some of the officers and certainly than the union board. Yet all of the officers interviewed agreed that collabo- ration was more productive than confrontation, and all of the officers interviewed specifically acknowledged that they were not in line with the current membership perspective on con- frontation versus collaboration. Several officers specifically said that members of the union board were more confron- tational than the officers group, and several predicted that a more confrontational group would be elected in the upcom- ing officer elections. The president also recognizes that his position is different from his peers at other local unions. He attributes the differ- ence to the combined effect of two factors: first, the populace is more diverse and progressive than the average U.S. metro- politan area, and second, because of the prominent role of part-time operators, the local is more moderate in its per- spective on LMRs than locals with less diversity and turnover in their memberships. He cites favorable relationships in past decades as well as his two elections as president. Conclusions This seems to be a case of an unusually strong LMP arising in large part from the demographics and policy inclination of the populace reflected in the political leadership and public
G-9 4. Review Existing Management Structure to Establish Agreed-Upon Approach for System Administration. 5. Work With the âBlue Ribbon Transit Committee.â 6. Set a Time Table and Stick to it.â As stated to the writer, it was quite unique to receive that docu- ment from the International in support of managementâs efforts to improve its operations. Another point of note was the collective bargaining agree- ments. The parties were both very proud that they reached a successful agreement before the current agreement expired and that it will serve as one of the longest term collective bargaining agreements in the transit industry, a five year agreement. The general manager and the union president said that they were able to reach such an agreement because of the cooperative relationship, involving months of talks before contract negotiation began where they limited the outstanding issues for bargain to five major areas. However, they later expanded it to seven. The keys to the agreement, they expressed, was their honest and frank relationship, built up over time, and limiting the major areas of bargaining to a small number. Premises Establishing a strong and flexible LMP is dependent on a number of important factors that provide not only for the establishment of an LMP, but also for sustaining the rela- tionship. In the interviews conducted for this case study, a number of questions were asked to test the various premises development for the study against the reality of the relation- ship at the transit system. Outline Shared Goals and Expectations of the Partnership Because this transit system does not have a formal LMP structure in place, it is difficult to document this premise. Yet, while no formal outlining of goals, requirements, and expec- tations was evident, the parties did set goals, requirements, and expectations to reach a successful collective bargaining agreement. The goal was to reach a negotiated settlement with only five areas for consideration. They met the goal and reached a 5-year agreement, one of the longest term collective bargaining agreements in the transit industry. Establish Broad-Based Buy-In from All Key Stakeholders with Formality and Structure that is Made Clear to All This transit agency does not have a formal LMP in place, therefore no administrative structure exists. The leadership union to a change in top leadership; middle management to more open lines of communications and fewer grievances. The survey also pointed out that despite the high marks for the characterization of the relationship, each party had a somewhat typical view of each other when it came to respond- ing to the question: âCan you think of any barriers your system has encountered to establishing cooperative union and management relationship?â The union representative responded that the perceived barrier was the director of labor relations and middle management representative responded, the Union. Yet, when you dig deeper, the information reveals that the perceived improvement to the relationship is largely attributable to the improved relationship between the union president and general manager. Each side responding to the survey cited success with a few laborâmanagement committees and stated that they have very few committees formed. No reason was given as to why they did not use the committee process more. The one or two com- mittees, outside of the typical jointly administered Health and Welfare and Pension committees, have worked well accord- ing to the responses to the survey. During the onsite visit, a number of handouts were pro- vided in response to the question âHas there ever been a for- mal structure in place for laborâmanagement cooperation?â Many of the handouts provided were undated, but some ref- erenced a laborâmanagement committee structure, dating back to the year 2000 and, possibly earlier. One such docu- ment provided was entitled âGround Rulesâ (name of Transit) Labor Management Committee (LMC). It was quite detailed and provided a listing for the âStructureâ of the Committee, the âBehaviorâ and âProcessâ of the Committee. It even had formal minutes taken and shared with the committee mem- bers. However, that particular Committee lasted for a short while, and was abandoned after there was a change in leader- ship of those who championed the committee. Efforts to establish a laborâmanagement cooperative struc- ture was also suggested to the parties as long ago as 1997 by the localâs Unionâs International when the transit system was under fire by the legislature to contract out more fixed-route services. The document sent by the International to the union local outlined a âSix-Step Proposal for Improving Operation and Efficiency of the (Name of) Transit System.â The six steps of the proposal are outlined below: 1. âConduct a Benchmark Study to Identify Actual Costs in Major Operational Areas Including Procurement, Man- agement, Safety, Scheduling, Work Rules, and Other Areas. 2. Establish Attainable Goals and Standards. 3. Establish a Joint Labor-Management Committee to Analyze Options for Restructuring the System, Revising Schedules, Operational Rules and Procedures and Other Changes as Determined.
G-10 â¢ A monthly publication is produced by management which notifies employees and the union of new developments within their transit system, â¢ The general manager and union president meet three to four times each year to share ideas and discuss issues, â¢ The general manager is invited to attend the union presi- dentâs executive board meeting which he does, and â¢ A constant theme which became clear throughout the interview process was that both labor and management expressed the need to keep the lines of communication open in order to have any meaningful and sustained relationship. Align All Necessary Resources to Support the Partnership There was no information based upon the findings of the case study on this premise. Respect the Individuals Representing the Other Party This premise was explored and confirmed in the interviews as well as in the review of data. The union president and the general manager expressed that they operated on the basis of mutual respect and never on blindsiding or diminishing the other party. They expressed that a cooperative relationship or partnership was not going to work unless it fostered mutual respect, a critical and necessary element to the success of the relationship. The general manager expressed that his philosophical approach was to convey to his management staff for them âto do the right thingâ by their employees. He stands by that philosophy and believes that it has been very helpful in fostering a better laborâmanagement relationship with the union. The union president stated that he also operates on the platform of mutual respect. Provide an Independent Facilitator, if Affordable There was no information to suggest that the parties believed that an independent facilitator was necessary for a cooperative relationship. In fact, it was just the opposite. It was stated by both parties that they have a good open line of communication to resolve their differences and that an independent facilitator would not add much value or be beneficial to the relationship. Separate Issues Between Integrative (or Win-Win) and Distributive (or Zero-Sum) Ones There was no information based upon the findings of the case study on this premise. of the transit system and the union stated that they did not believe that a formal structure was necessary because of their past experience with formal LMP structures. During the onsite visit, the documents provided outlined a past formal laborâmanagement committee structure (although more in committee form). But the documents did not demonstrate that a formal LMP ever existed. To illustrate the point, the management leadership stated that their experience with large laborâ-management com- mittees was not conducive to addressing large issues. It was stated that the intent of the committees was good, but they were not effective and, for the most part, largely unproduc- tive. The information gathered during the interviews and survey suggest that what has worked well for their coopera- tive laborâmanagement relationship is an informal meeting process by which the leadership of labor and management meet regularly to communicate and resolve issues. It was pointed out that the meetings are sometimes used to just âtalkâ with each other. These informal, but regular, meet- ings support the premise that one of the keys to sustaining a good laborâmanagement relationship is an open line of communications. Require Consistent Accountability of Everyone in the Organization with a Governing or Executing Responsibility for the Partnership While there was not a formal partnership structure in place, the findings of the case study did confirm that the parties required consistent accountability from everyone serving on and executing responsibilities for committees. There are four active joint committees: Health and Welfare, Pension, Safety, and Schedules (identified here as a Run Board Committee). These committees, whose membership was shared equally by both labor and management, were the backbone of the joint cooperative initiatives. Provide for Comprehensive Skill Building for Both Union and Management throughout the Course of the Partnership There was no information based upon the findings of the case study on this premise. Design, Implement, and Sustain Effective Communication Although there was no evidence to demonstrate that a for- mal communication plan was in place, it was clear that man- agement and the union believed in communicating with each other and worked out an informal communications system that benefited both. For example,
G-11 system, but it would not be identified as a traditional partner- ship with a formal structure and signed document. What the parties have formed is a very good laborâmanagement coop- erative relationship built on mutual respect and some shared goals, which are the two key ingredients for a partnership. It is also clear that neither party favors formal laborâmanagement structures. While the general manager stated that he believed in joint committees, he did not believe that large committee struc- tures worked very well. He found them to be well attended, but unproductive. He preferred smaller groups and meetings as needed. The union president also did not favor formal laborâmanagement structures. He was not a fan of Laborâ Management committees; rather he would prefer to keep meetings informal. While the information reveals a good cooperative laborâ management relationship, the concern rests with the fact that it is driven by the relationship between the general manager and the local union president. There was little evidence to support the fact that the good cooperative relationship that exists today goes beyond the top level of both organizations. In fact, the information provided from the interviews and data strongly suggests that if the general manager or local union president were to leave, the relationship may slip back to a more adversarial one. That fact came out in the inter- views where it was expressed by the union that they had a problem with certain key senior management personnel who they interacted with on a frequent basis. A similar statement was made by key senior management personnel about deal- ing with the union representatives. With respect to the contractors at this transit agency who provide over half of the fixed-route service, data was gathered and an interview conducted with the general manager for the largest of the contractors. He expressed that many of the prem- ises tested in this study did not relate to his contracted services due to the fact that the union representing his employees do not have that much involvement with him. He expressed that his current transit site is the contracted bus yard that he has run with relative ease with regard to labor relations. In his opinion, it all has to do with the union leadership. He stated that he and the union president have a great relationship and that they have pledged never to lie to each other and they havenât. Conclusion In returning to the main theme of LMPs in the transit sys- tem and âWhat Makes Them Work,â this case study suggests that LMPs take many different forms. There is no one size fits all. â¢ One could argue that if the cooperation agreement is not in a structured document, with time, place, participants, Take Advantage of Specific Successes (e.g., Pension Fund Governance, Apprenticeship) to Build a Broader Partnership There was no information based upon the findings of the case study on this premise. Take Advantage of Shared Challenges and Crises to Catalyze Partnership Agreements There was no information based upon the findings of the case study on this premise. Support Stability in Union and Management Leadership and Smooth LaborâManagement Partnership Leadership Transitions The evidence provided from all data sources reviewed pointed to an improved laborâmanagement relationship within the last 5 years following the appointment of a new general manager and the election of new local union president. It is noteworthy that the general manager and local union president are considered insiders, since each has been with their respective organizations for a significant period of time before assuming their new roles. In essence, their familiar- ity with each other may be credited for a smoother transi- tion and stronger relationship, supporting the premise of stability in the leadership. Given the stability in the relation- ship, both leaders noted fewer grievances, a more open line of communication, and the ability to address shared chal- lenges. The union president stated during the interview that he can call upon the general manager at any time and that the general manager will respond to his concerns. The same was held true by the general manager when he needed to reach out to the union president for the resolution of issues. Be Confident that Managers Can Cooperate with Unions yet Still Continue to Defend Prerogatives and Efficiency There was no information based upon the findings of the case study on this premise. Be Confident that Union Leadersâ Cooperation with Management Will Not Compromise Membersâ Interests There was no information based upon the findings of the case study on this premise. Analysis It is clear from the interviews and data that a labor and management cooperative relationship exists at this transit
G-12 the former CEOâs top-down management style, disregard of unionâs concerns, and reluctance to communicate with union officials outside of collective bargaining. The current CEOâs initiatives to communicate with union officials were instru- mental in improving the relationship and the mutual efforts of the CEO and the union local president reinforced and advanced the developing cooperation. The current CEO used to be a union official in another industry, which helps him understand labor relations issues from a union perspective, and his empathy with union allows him to communicate more effectively with union leaders and members. The overall relationship between management and union is currently positive and cooperative. Frequent and direct com- munication between them is present at the top leadership level. The management and the union local work collab- oratively on issues that concern both parties (e.g., safety, transit service planning, funding for the transit system, exter- nal political pressure that interferes with effective operation of the organization, extreme weather, implementation of new devices/equipment that improves operation effectiveness). Two formal laborâmanagement joint committees are in place and actively functioningâthe safety committee and the service review committee. Results Both management and union representatives interviewed for this case study approved most of the premises. The CEO and union president did not believe a formal struc- ture was necessary for an effective partnership, but the CEO acknowledged that such a structure would be valuable during leadership turnover. They did not make use of an independent facilitator for the partnership. The CEO believes a facilitator may be helpful but only when an impasse occurs. The union local files very few grievances. The union presi- dent attributed this to his effectiveness in leading the local and the human resources directorâs competency in the griev- ance process. The union president thinks that both he and the director of human resources, who processes grievances, are very knowledgeable about the grievance process. The current director of human resources was brought into the transit sys- tem by the current CEO. The union local president recognizes her effectiveness and efficiency in processing grievances. The CEO and the union local president do not always agree with each other on how to resolve grievances, but based on the trust they built, they believe that the intention of their coun- terpart is to resolve every grievance in a fair and equitable way for the overall well-being of the transit agency. The CEO and the union local president do not reach an agreement on every grievance, so they sometimes need to go through arbitration. However, such disagreements and arbitrations do not affect and goals written down, it cannot be a partnership agree- ment. And that argument has some merit. â¢ One could also argue that what matters most is the coop- erative relationship and its achievements, not a structured written document. And that argument has some merit. What this study proved more importantly is that without a cooperative laborâmanagement relationship very little can be achieved. The transit system of this case study made that point very clearly. They have a very good relationship at the top level of both labor and management. They communicate with each other well, solve problems, work on long-term collective bar- gaining agreements, and visit each other in person. But the greatest danger for this and other transit systems that have a great cooperative relationship that depends on the person- alities of the leadership is that a change in leadership has the possibility of weakening or destroying that great relationship. Unless both labor and management at this transit system can find a way to incorporate their very good relationship into the fabric of the organizations, all of their great effort on specific issues and goals will be lost and a new leadership will have to begin the process again. Maintaining good laborâ management cooperative relationships must have a basis on factors that go beyond the personalities of the leaders of the organizations. While the labor and management leadership of this transit system should be applauded for their fine work in maintaining a good cooperative relationship, they must look for ways to have it live on beyond their tenures. Case Study 4 Introduction This case study involves a medium-size bus operator. According to the National Transit Database FY 2012 profile, the transit system operates 188 buses and employs 401 full- time vehicle operation employees and 83 full-time vehicle maintenance employees. One major union local represents bus operators and mechanics in this transit system. It is man- datory by state statute that the transit system bargain with the union local. In telephone surveys, both the CEO and the local union president rated their labor relationship very highly and indi- cated effective cooperation. Interviews with management and union representatives indicated that this cooperative and productive relation emerged after the current CEO joined the transit system in August 2012 as the interim CEO and later became the CEO. The laborâmanagement relationship at this transit system was very negative when the former CEO was in office. The union local president attributed the negative relationship to
G-13 between the CEO and the union local president allows flex- ibility in problem solving. So when a problem arises, the two individuals can react quickly by making a plan and organizing resources necessary for implementation to solve the problem through effective communication. However, some formal structures are in place for the two joint laborâmanagement committees on safety and service review (e.g., required representation from union and what issues are addressed in those committees and how). The com- mittees are formatted in a way that everyone is able to speak at the table without time limits. Meetings are well organized and minutes are recorded. Require Consistent Accountability of Everyone in the Organization with a Governing or Executing Responsibility for the Partnership The CEO and the union president are responsible for all aspects of the partnership through direct involvement in problem solving. Representatives of management and union on the two active committeesâservice review and safetyâ have defined responsibilities within the two committees. Provide for Comprehensive Skill Building for Both Union and Management throughout the Course of the Partnership The union president emphasized the importance of skills training for union members. He encourages and supports union members, mostly stewards and executive board mem- bers, to participate in training in labor relations related top- ics (e.g., grievance process, relationship building, negotiation skills). Management did not provide comments on this premise. Design, Implement, and Sustain Effective Communication The LMP in this transit system does not have an institu- tionalized communication plan between management and union. However, a frequent and issue-driven communica- tion channel exists between the CEO and the union local president. The CEO has an open door policy for the union local president, which means that the local president could stop by the CEOâs office anytime to raise issues of concerns to the union and its members. The CEO and the local president communicate several times a week, in person and via phone calls and emails. Due to the proximity of the union building to the transit systemâs headquarters, the union president is able to walk to the building where management personnel are located in a few minutes, which allows for frequent face-to-face meetings. the relationship between the two parties and are not carried over to affect the resolution of other issues. Information is lacking for the premise of alignment of all resources for the partnership. Premises In the interviews conducted for this case study, a number of questions were asked to test the various premises devel- oped for the study against the reality of the relationship at the transit system. Outline Shared Goals and Expectations of the Partnership There is no formal documentation of goals, expectations, or requirements of the LMP. Cooperation between manage- ment and union is largely dependent on the CEO and the union president, who are both proactive in nature, and on the trust between them. Though lacking formal governing docu- ments, the two individuals demonstrated a consistent under- standing of the goals and expectations of the partnership in separate interviews. Both recognized the philosophy that the interest and well-being of the transit agency ultimately deter- mines the overall success and welfare of the management, the union, and its members. They also acknowledged that frequent and effective communication is critical in develop- ing and reinforcing shared understanding of the goals and expectations. The goals and expectations of laborâmanagement coop- eration that are commonly shared and constantly empha- sized by both the CEO and the union president include (1) delivery of quality transit service to customers, (2) man- agementâs intention to fairly and equitably resolve problems, and (3) unionâs trust that such intention is held by the man- agement even if opinions on specific issues differ. Establish Broad-Based Buy-In from All Key Stakeholders with Formality and Structure that is Made Clear to All The partnership in this transit system is largely dependent on the leadership and cooperative relationship between the CEO and the union president. No formal administrative struc- ture and procedures are in place at the top level of the transit system. Both the CEO and the union president believe that a formal administrative structure does not fit the existing partnership. They believe formal structures have a tendency to become procedural requirements that do not contribute much to problem solving and relationship building compared to the administrative cost imposed. A frequent and allegedly effective, yet non-institutionalized, line of communication
G-14 Take Advantage of Shared Challenges and Crises to Catalyze Partnership Agreements Both management and union interviewees approved this premise. When a major storm hit the area, the CEO reacted promptly and effectively by laying out an emergency plan and keeping close communication with both management and the union locals. The CEO appreciated and made use of the union pres- identâs ability to quickly and effectively mobilize union mem- bers to implement the emergency plan. The union president acknowledged the CEOâs ability to effectively handle emer- gency situations with union membersâ concerns in mind, and that the successful reaction to the hurricane reinforced the improving laborâmanagement relationship. Another example is when the management and the union reached a collective bargaining agreement without arbitra- tion. This was the first agreement reached without arbitration in the past 10 years. The success reinforced the relationship between the management and the union local. Take Advantage of Specific Successes (e.g., Pension Fund Governance, Apprenticeship) to Build a Broader Partnership The union president thought that the safety committee was an example that approved this premise. The safety committee, almost nonexistent until the new CEOâs arrival, has grown substantially in its effectiveness and functionality. It has gone beyond minor safety issues to tackle major safety issues requiring substantial financial commit- ment, such as inspection and modification of lifts. A combina- tion of management and union representatives from all levels sit in the committee, including the local union president, two bus operators, a paratransit driver, a mechanic, head of opera- tions, head of maintenance, head of training, chief safety offi- cer, and a superintendent. The safety committee meets once a month to discuss issues emerging from daily operations. The revival of the commit- tee through addressing minor safety issues gave rise to con- fidence this form of cooperation and built trust between management and union representatives on the committee. The confidence and trust allowed the two sides to move on to more significant issues that require greater financial and non-financial commitments. Support Stability in Union and Management Leadership and Smooth LaborâManagement Partnership Leadership Transitions Both parties acknowledged that the trust developed by the CEO and the union local president was indispensable for the Communication with peers or members is equally impor- tant. The CEO recognized the union president for being an effective leader, including his ability to precisely and effec- tively communicate messages coming out of a meeting between himself and the CEO. On the management side, the union local president recognized that the new management personnel whom the CEO brought to this transit agency share the CEOâs management philosophy and work effec- tively in resolving operational challenges in cooperation with the union. Align All Necessary Resources to Support the Partnership No information was provided on this premise. Respect the Individuals Representing the Other Party Top management and labor leaders expressed high respect for their counterparts. The CEO recognized the union local presidentâs experience and leadership not only as an elected union official, but also as an experienced transit operation expert. The union local president acknowledged the CEO and other management personnelâs prerogative in management decision making and respected the CEOâs willingness to listen to and fairly address union membersâ concerns. Both sides also value the CEOâs past experience being a union official. Provide an Independent Facilitator, if Affordable Both parties expressed that there was no need for a facilita- tor. The last contract negotiation went exceptionally wellâno arbitration was needed, for the first time in 10 years. How- ever, the CEO indicated that if impasse occurs in the future, mediation may be helpful. Separate Issues between Integrative (or Win-Win) and Distributive (or Zero-Sum) Ones Management and the union local share a common under- standing that it is for their mutual benefit to productively operate a transit system that provides quality transit service in a cost-effective manner. On distributive issues, the manage- ment listens to unionâs concerns and opinions and makes fair decisions that they believe serve the best interest of the transit agency. The management and the union local work collab- oratively on issues that concern both parties (e.g., safety, tran- sit service planning, funding for the transit system, external political pressure that interferes with effective operation of the organization, extreme weather, implementation of new devices/equipment that improves operation effectiveness).
G-15 Differences in opinions on specific issues can occur on a daily basis. A cooperative relationship cannot sustain if such dif- ferences are taken beyond the issues they immediately con- cern to affect deliberation on other issues, or even worse, to question the professionalism and the intention of the coun- terparts. That has proven to be challenging in many laborâ management relationships. At this transit system the two top leaders have been suc- cessful in developing the necessary trust in and respect for each other. Frequent and effective communication played a critical role in their success. The CEO and union president meet in person and talk on the phone a few times a week to discuss issues, which include grievances, but more broadly operational decisions, transit agency funding and state poli- tics, and so forth. Many of those areas call for cooperation of management and union for the greater well-being of the transit agency. Besides trust and respect between the two top leaders, sus- taining a cooperative and productive laborâmanagement rela- tionship also requires strong leadership who can effectively communicate, or defend if necessary, their decisions and actions to their colleagues or union members, so that the partnership not only exists at the top but at all levels of the transit agency. The LMP at this transit agency has been informal and largely run by the top leaders of management and union. At a relatively small transit system, this could be effective as it simplifies the layers of communication and delegation. The leaders could react to issues directly and quickly. However, this model may not work so well for large transit systems, when the quantity of issues is simply too large to be handled by two individuals. Multiple layers of delegation are inevi- table, and thus communication and implementation is much more complex. Conclusions This case study demonstrates a successful partnership that is largely dependent on the leaderships of the CEO and the union president. Overall institutionalization is nonexistent for the partnership, although structures and procedures exist for two joint laborâmanagement committees on safety and service review. Frequent and effective communication on an equal and respectful basis between the CEO and the union president is critical to the success. The two leaders developed a common understanding that itâs a mutual goal consistent with management and union interests to deliver quality tran- sit service to customers in a cost-effective manner, and that management should and will maintain the intention to fairly and equitably make decisions while union should and will trust that such intention is held by the management, even if opinions on specific matters differ. cooperative relationship; any leadership change might nega- tively affect the relationship. The CEO suggested one way to sustain labor-management partnership through leadership changes was careful selection of new leaders on the management side. He agreed that insti- tutionalization of the partnership would have value in sus- taining the partnership in times of leadership turnover. Be Confident that Managers Can Cooperate with Unions yet Still Continue to Defend Prerogatives and Efficiency The CEOâs way to defend his prerogatives was to gather all possible facts and evidence and make fair decisions. Be Confident that Union Leadersâ Cooperation with Management Will Not Compromise Membersâ Interests The union president acknowledged that different opinions about his interactions with the management exist but that during his tenure as president, disagreements from within the union were minor. He always stood firmly behind his decisions. Analysis The LMP at this transit system is fairly new but has been effective for 2 years since the new CEO joined. The leader- ship turnover on the management side (i.e., the CEO, as well as a few other management positions such as the director of human resources and chief counsel) was the starting point of a new laborâmanagement relationship at this transit system. Several key factors contributed to the successful recast of the relationship: â¢ Appointment of a union-friendly CEO with experience serving as a union official; â¢ Frequent and proactive communication between top man- agement and union leaders; â¢ Shared understanding that (1) it is to the advantage of both management and union to provide quality transit service, and hence any decisions and actions should not deviate from that objective; and (2) in the face of conflicts, leaders from both management and union hold the inten- tion to fairly and equitably resolve problems and believe the same in their counterparts, even when their views on specific issues differ; and â¢ Managementâs effective engagement of union and unionâs active cooperation to resolve emergencies and crises. Beyond these factors, it is critical that top leaders from both sides develop trust in and respect for their counterparts.
G-16 The CFO and union president identified several actions to try to bolster or preserve the positive aspects of the LMP. â¢ First, they are keen on widening the circle of participation by both management and labor. â¢ Second, they would like to routinize the laborâmanagement meetings and get people on each side to view those meet- ings as helpful, productive encounters outside of the griev- ance procedure. â¢ Third, they would like to focus on openness and go out of their way to reassure the other of good will and reliabilityâ when one says they will do something they follow through and note that they have done so. Premises In this transit system, there are certainly collaborative activ- ities, though not necessarily called collaborative by the par- ties themselves, including pension oversight, periodic work/ run selection, contractual laborâmanagement meetings, and strong informal personal relations between the top executives. The contractual requirements to administer the pensions, pick work assignments, and conduct laborâmanagement meetings provided opportunities to collaborate, but as anyone with experience in labor relations knows, these can easily become targets for confrontation rather than collaboration (though collaboration on pension administration is the rule almost everywhere). The fourteen premises were tested against the reality in this transit system and the findings are summarized as follows. Outline Shared Goals and Expectations of the Partnership As the collaborative efforts emerged, the contract was concluded and this was a clear goal which was obvious and scarcely needed to be âoutlined.â Establish Broad-Based Buy-In from All Key Stakeholders with Formality and Structure that is Made Clear to All In this transit system, a formal, long-term collaborative system or partnership has not emerged, so there is no way to evaluate the benefit of a clear and formal administrative structure. Require Consistent Accountability of Everyone in the Organization with a Governing or Executing Responsibility for the Partnership There were no findings on this premise. Case Study 5 Introduction The transit system studied is a medium-size bus and light rail operator. The transit system acquired a private operator and has been authorized by state law to employ workers to operate transit. A private corporation has been formed under the direct control of the transit system to conduct collective bargaining. Under current NLRB law, members of the major local union of this system, roughly 380 operators and maintenance employees providing fixed-route bus, paratransit, and light rail service, are employees within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act. The contract provisions (now on contract number 45) are venerable and comprehensive. The CFO, COO, and human resources director along with the union financial secretary/business agent and recording sec- retary were interviewed. The enabling statute, most recent col- lective bargaining agreement, and pension plan were reviewed. Each of those interviewed was surprised that anyone from the transit system or the major local union had rated the LMP as being particularly cooperative. After some discussion, we concluded that the survey information on which our commit- tee selected target study properties had been collected 1 year ago, when both the union and management were under differ- ent leaderships. The parties confirmed that the union business agent and the general manager enjoyed a long and well- established business relationship, which they used to resolve disputes directly between the two of them. When the general manager left in the fall of 2013 and the union elected a new business agent in January of the same year, the replacements on each side faced many challenges, including the upcoming expiration of the existing collective bargaining agreement. In addition to ongoing service as pension trustees, the two officials are governed by a contract provision for periodic âlabor management meetings.â The new general manager and business agent revived the regular meetings, which had been ignored for many years. They set a monthly meeting date based on a written agenda. The top officers, along with others who may be concerned about one or more of the planned issues, attended the meeting. The business agent will not run for another term, as he has already retired from active duty at this transit system and the by-laws do not permit him to run for local office again as a retiree. The CFO knows already that he may not continue to direct the LMP under the new CEO, hired from outside the transit agency, who had been in place for less than a month when the case study was conducted. Both were concerned with taking steps to solidify their progress before their roles and status change in the future. Consequently, they spoke quite a bit about how the process might be preserved in the future, especially to make sure that they could work together on matters of mutual interest, such as funding, manpower, and even compromise to save litigation cost.
G-17 Take Advantage of Shared Challenges and Crises to Catalyze Partnership Agreements The element which turned these particular parties to col- laborative postures was the departures, almost simultane- ously, of the principals on each side. Those remaining had to conclude a collective bargaining agreement and re-construct their laborâmanagement relationship in short order. Each, it seems, felt that they could use the help of the other. Also, neither was particularly concerned about their predeces- sor looking over their shoulder and undermining their own position in the union or management hierarchy. Support Stability in Union and Management Leadership and Smooth LaborâManagement Partnership Leadership Transitions The recent leadership turnover on both sides brought chal- lenges in labor relations to this transit system. However, the challenges were also catalysts for the new leaders to establish new cooperation for the negotiation immediately following the leadership turnover. Be Confident that Managers Can Cooperate with Unions yet Still Continue to Defend Prerogatives and Efficiency There were no findings on this premise. Be Confident that Union Leadersâ Cooperation with Management Will Not Compromise Membersâ Interests There were no findings on this premise. Results In the case of this transit system, taking advantage of shared challenges was an important catalyst, whereas stability in leader- ship, managersâ confidence without threat of interference from other stakeholders, and union leadersâ freedom from internal political pressure were not significant factors. Analysis Both the acting general manager and the new union busi- ness agent found the laborâmanagement meetings helpful to resolve issues which did not get much attention at the bar- gaining table and, more importantly, to determine whether they would be able to work with each other. Each felt the need to replicate the relationship of their predecessors, but also each wanted to conduct more open and inclusive collec- tive bargaining so that their respective constituencies would Provide for Comprehensive Skill Building for Both Union and Management throughout the Course of the Partnership There is no skill building program in place for the LMP. Design, Implement, and Sustain Effective Communication Both management and union interviewees credit their capacity to communicate and listen respectfully as the key to positive outcomes. The two parties took advantage of positive developments in the laborâmanagement meet- ings to draft a new contract which they see as a shared accomplishment. It is fair to say that each side separately values the qualities of mutual respect and focused and effec- tive communication; but there is no communication plan in place. Align All Necessary Resources to Support the Partnership There were no findings on this premise. Respect the Individuals Representing the Other Party The two parties took advantage of positive developments in the laborâmanagement meetings to draft a new contract which they see as a shared accomplishment and it is fair to say that each side separately values the qualities of mutual respect and focused and effective communication. Provide an Independent Facilitator, if Affordable There were no findings on this premise. Separate Issues Between Integrative (or Win-Win) and Distributive (or Zero-Sum) Ones As the interviewer explained the difference between inte- grative and distributive issues, each interviewee felt that they described part of the collective bargaining process, but neither really thinks of the ongoing labor relationship in that way. Take Advantage of Specific Successes (e.g., Pension Fund Governance, Apprenticeship) to Build a Broader Partnership There were no findings on this premise.
G-18 employees in both bus and rail modes are represented by the largest union local. The relationship between management and the union local has a contentious recent history and has seen periods of labor unrest and postponed collective bargaining. The telephone sur- veys showed that the current laborâmanagement relationship at the top level (executive management/local union leadership) has improved somewhat in the last 18 months. It appears to be stable and there is some regular cross-communication. The relationship at all other levels was adversarial and both sides rated the overall effectiveness of joint laborâmanagement com- mittees as poor. The current CEO and local union president were not avail- able for interviews for this case study. Of the senior executives interviewed, one has served for over a decade in the present position and appears to have the longest continuing manage- ment impact on a vital function of the organization. This may have significance since a joint committee formed to oversee and advance the function reported that it was one of very few sustained partnership activities now functioning that gener- ated positive comments from both sides. Committee structure and procedure are well defined with clear lines of reporting and communication for both management and union members. Other committees are rated poorly because they are seen dif- ferently by the union and management. Results At the highest management and union local levels, rela- tionships have stabilized over the past few years. But interview data gathered from senior management and union leadership points to a poor overall state of laborâmanagement coopera- tion. Management attributes some of this (or perhaps much of it, depending on the narrator) to confrontational behavior by the union. Labor tends to attribute it mainly to bad faith bargaining and unnecessarily harsh day-to-day management behavior at most levels of the organization. It should be noted that the financial recession and result- ing public budget issues of the last several years have at times placed union leadership in a position of disagreement with both the transit system and its public funding sources. Premises The following premises are assumptions, based on previ- ous research, about actions or activity that will help to effec- tively establish and sustain productive laborâmanagement cooperative relationships around issues of common interest. These premises may be confirmed, not confirmed, or possibly shown not to apply at this organization. In the text below, each premise is considered against the various LMP activities that have been established at this tran- not see the collective bargaining process as secret and exclu- sive and to prepare their respective fellow officers to assume responsibilities in the future. Each felt that they had not been informed by their predecessors the way grievances had been handled, negotiations had been conducted, and other related issues had been resolved. Each was seeking better communi- cation moving forward. The interviewerâs observation was that the two men were cordial, even warm in their personal relationship, but cau- tious to keep a proper distance and very careful to make sure that others on each side were involved in the day-to-day interactions. They have very different styles of interacting, but they work hard to understand where the other is coming from and probe for issues where they might find common ground. Since the union president is a bus operator, he brings in tangible experiences in operation, while the CFO/acting general manager brings in a more analytical and fiscal slant to their meetings. Each has advisors involved but they very much âownâ the collective bargaining determinations and process. Neither management nor union leaders focused on distrib- utive versus integrative issues, though they noted that work selection was a key regular joint laborâmanagement activity based on mutual interest. They worked toward making sure that the assignment roster was workable and well-understood and that assignments were selected equitably. This fact was an advantage from an efficiency point-of-view but did narrow the number of participants in the relationship and amplified the disruption during leadership transition. Neither side was willing to reject out of hand the idea of a âlabor-management partnershipâ but the phrase did not garner immediate enthu- siasm either. The management officials said âshow me the details,â while the union leaders were more concerned with the appearance that the union would be signing on to a management-sponsored program to water down collective bargaining. Conclusion Both the acting general manager and the union president were quite eager during their first year of working together to establish and institutionalize a partnership. They possess already a strong and shared sense of responsibility for the success of the transit system and the well-being of those who work there. Case Study 6 Introduction This case study was of a large multimodal transit system and its largest union local. A majority of the transit system
G-19 Design, Implement, and Sustain Effective Communication There is no evidence of a formal communication plan for LMP activities. Some laborâmanagement meetings are pre- scribed by an MOU but there is no prescribed protocol or struc- ture. There is evidence that such meetings occasionally take place, but not with regularity. For the few LMP activities that have some structure, there are certain communication require- ments for both sides so that the activity may continue; but these do not appear to constitute a detailed, sustaining plan. Align All Necessary Resources to Support the Partnership In one major laborâmanagement effort there is evidence of resource alignment to sustain processes and objectives. In other existing joint efforts, this could not be confirmed. Respect the Individuals Representing the Other Party This premise was not confirmed. Senior executive manag- ers indicated respect for the contribution and judgment of certain, senior, experienced union members. While no exec- utive interviewed indicated disrespect for union members, the union leadership consistently stated that management lacked respect for the union leadership and members. This criticism, along with lack of trust, was the most frequently encountered criticism from labor throughout the case study process. Provide an Independent Facilitator, if Affordable There is no independent facilitation for current LMP activities. Separate Issues Between Integrative (or Win-Win) and Distributive (or Zero-Sum) Ones Multiple memorandums of understanding and letters of agreement specifying exploration of many integrative issues indicate that both sides identify the issues appropriately. How- ever, there is no consistent evidence that this leads to collabo- ration in addressing or resolving the issues. Take Advantage of Specific Successes (e.g., Pension Fund Governance, Apprenticeship) to Build a Broader Partnership This premise was not confirmed. There is no evidence of leveraging successful laborâmanagement activity into sit system in recent times. Since only a few of those activities appear viably functional at the time of this study, a confirma- tion of any premise may not be applicable to the overall joint relationship, but only to very limited activities. Outline Shared Goals and Expectations of the Partnership This premise is partially confirmed by the case study. Over time, many joint committees or other joint endeavors have been established by memoranda of understanding (MOU) and letters of agreement (LOA). Only a few of these were fully implemented. These few do have a requirements and expecta- tions structure and some outlining of goals. However, in these cases, most funding comes from management; and in at least one case, a jointly established activity is administered only by the union. As noted, very few of these activities are currently seen as functioning with at least some success by both sides. Establish Broad-Based Buy-In from All Key Stakeholders with Formality and Structure that is Made Clear to All This premise is partially confirmed. The structures of very few existing joint laborâmanagement activities are clearly delineated. In some cases there are designated administrators and oversight. For the majority of the joint endeavors that exist on paper, no structure has been designated. Require Consistent Accountability of Everyone in the Organization with a Governing or Executing Responsibility for the Partnership Where laborâmanagement activities exist, there is no evi- dence of systematic accountability requirements. There is evidence of some accountability requirements specific to a few activities; but there is no programmatic system of account- ability applying to everyone who may be involved in joint activity. Provide for Comprehensive Skill Building for Both Union and Management throughout the Course of the Partnership Little evidence was found from either side of the systematic addressing of skill development for the purpose of adminis- tering, managing, and sustaining joint LMP activities. There is anecdotal evidence from both sides that those carrying out joint activities have specific professional or skills training to do so. With the possible exception of one committee, there appears to be no formal jointly recognized effort to specifi- cally train for skills that will sustain LMP activities.
G-20 rent leadership characterizes its approach to management as assertive and believes it is the spirit endorsed by a majority of the members. Analysis Both labor and management interviewees at this transit system have characterized their relationship as mostly adver- sarial over many years. But through this time a few previously established cooperative laborâmanagement activities have continued with some useful impact on issues of mutual inter- est in the organization. Additionally, two new joint efforts have more recently been established to address significant operations and maintenance issues. The older cooperative activities continue; some are now no longer functional even though they still exist. Each side has voiced differing criticism as to the way both dormant and active joint efforts are being handled; and each side appears to believe that the other is not addressing the criticism. There has been a recent effort by management to focus mutually on issues of existing committees and to consider some important new issues that both sides identified. Accordingly, laborâmanagement meetings have been prescribed in writing. As of the completion of the case study, meetings have not yet been held. But management indicates that it is still working toward continuing the dialogue on the existing cooperative issues and opening discussion in new areas. Labor leader- ship is skeptical and even suggests that management agrees to prescribed joint meetings, but often does not follow up. Management admits that many mandated committees never meet but has not yet offered a resolution for the situation. Management notes that laborâs cooperation is essential to address both existing and new topics, some of which are considered urgent. But management also notes, and labor confirms, that the interests of each side around these issues are conflicting. Nevertheless, management indicated it will seek a dialogue very soon in an attempt to create a laborâ management task force to seek some agreement on these issues that could be included in the next collective bargain- ing agreement. Management suggested that dialogues between leaders in the various subdivisions of the union and their direct man- agement counterparts might be a viable route to cooperation on both existing and new issues. The union agreed in princi- ple, but it does not believe there can be widespread coopera- tion due to current management failings at these levels and heavy-handed disciplinary practices. The union would like to see more managerial/leadership training and more motiva- tion than is evident in the current rigid organizational struc- ture. Management indicated that the union probably thinks disciplinary practice is too heavy-handed, but added that it something more. The few existing functional joint efforts do not appear to have spurred further action toward cooperation. Take Advantage of Shared Challenges and Crises to Catalyze Partnership Agreements In the past certain challenges led to the formation of a laborâmanagement committee which included the establish- ment of structure and procedure beyond what had previously existed. However, the continuing activity of that committee draws regular criticism mainly from the union, which does not believe its legitimate concerns about committee func- tioning are being addressed. In response to another chal- lenge, a broad, coordinated joint effort was launched which management characterized as an ongoing success. The gen- eral tone of the union leadershipâs opinion is that it worked in spite of some management missteps. While the laborâ management effort still exists, it is difficult to predict if any formal long-term partnership will continue around the par- ticular challenge. Support Stability in Union and Management Leadership and Smooth LaborâManagement Partnership Leadership Transitions There appears to be a current relationship of mutual respect at the highest leadership levels on both sides. There has previ- ously been some volatility at this level. Below this level, there appears to be widespread disapproval of how the other side operates, and some antagonism and distrust. Be Confident that Managers Can Cooperate with Unions yet Still Continue to Defend Prerogatives and Efficiency Management generally appears to believe it can defend its prerogatives. There is evidence that there is always some consideration given to other stakeholders and to the law; but these considerations do not diminish the defense of prerogatives. Be Confident that Union Leadersâ Cooperation with Management Will Not Compromise Membersâ Interests Union leaders interviewed indicated that in a unionized organization such accusations will inevitably exist; but they do not currently characterize the leader-member relation- ship. But there is past evidence of members being concerned that their leaders interact with management in ways that would foster long-term well-being of members. The cur-
G-21 the two-way communication would appear to be another topic for constructive discussion. Conclusion For a decade or more, LMPs at this transit system have resulted in the effective addressing of a few serious issues of mutual concern. Most of these issues are not subject to a one- time resolution; they evolve situationally and demand regular attention and action that must also evolve accordingly. The ongoing adversarial laborâmanagement environment makes this difficult; and progress is slow or at a standstill because of many existing issues. But the trust, respect, and effective com- munication that both sides seekâespecially at the mid-level of the organizationâwould appear to offer the most imme- diate opportunity to open a constructive dialogue. The current conditions hinder the joint resolution of mutual interest issues and make it even more difficult to come together around newly identified issues of mutual interest unless the impetus comes from the very top of both the labor and man- agement organizations. But the current conditions also make a willing dialogue a useful first step to better understand each sideâs point of view, motivations, impediments, and political realities. The understanding and trust that could result would likely facilitate voluntary, effective cooperation at the mid-level where it appears from this study to be most wanted and needed by both sides. thought there was some recent improvement in both the per- ception and in the administration of discipline. The union does not yet find this evident. This could be a topic for a con- structive discussion. Management believes that cost, cost versus value, or fund- ing availability are frequent determiners of what issues do or do not lend themselves to cooperative efforts. The union does not dispute this, but it often perceives cost versus value differ- ently from management and questions whether management always provides complete fiscal information. This too would seem to be a topic for constructive discussion. Union confirms that management keeps it well informed but believes that this can also be a confirmation of a recurring unwillingness to seek union input on mutually important operations and maintenance issues. Management indicated that trust and effective communication are paramount to suc- cessful joint cooperation. The union agreed and added mutual respect as being equally important. The union claims that these qualities are lacking in management at levels below the top, and occasionally even there. In some union interviews it was suggested that certain joint-effort âsuccessesâ in the past were actually management-mandated programs or actions that the union, for one reason or another, accepted with little discus- sion or input. But no specific examples were offered. Related to this, management interviews expressed opinions that the union resists change even while recognizing that it may be in the unionâs immediate interest to do so. The nature of