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7 C H A P T E R 2 The research consisted of five major steps: â¢ Literature review and definition of LMP â¢ Survey of management and union leaders in transit systems â¢ Case studies of six transit systems â¢ Development of the Toolkit â¢ Evaluation workshop and finalization of the Toolkit Each step is documented as follows regarding its purpose, completion, and outcomes. 2.1 Literature Review and Definition of LaborâManagement Partnerships The research began with a literature review of LMPs in the transit and other industries. The research team reviewed pre- vious studies on how LMPs were established and managed, with special emphasis on the benefits, success factors, and common challenges. A summary of the literature review can be found in Appendix A. Definition of LaborâManagement Partnerships The definition of LMP was one of the first products the research team developed after reviewing existing literature. The definition was refined during the research and the final definition is as follows: A LaborâManagement Partnership (LMP) arises when both the management and the union actively identify shared concerns and act on them collaboratively. This may be a formal process. While the literature and history of LMRs in transit systems provide a generally accepted understanding of the processes known as LMP, the research process required a more precise definition to ensure that the effort did not get dissipated across too broad a range of relationships and that the project produced focused results. Therefore, the team developed a definition based on substantive attributes of the processes and relation- ships of the partnership. The first version of the definition originally developed by the research team was: A LaborâManagement Partnership (LMP) is one in which both the management and the union actively participate in decision making by identifying shared concerns and acting on them collaboratively. During a conference call with the panel members on July 18, 2013, two major comments were raised: â¢ The definition should signify that an effective LMP needs to be institutionalized. â¢ âDecision-makingâ may raise issues with the management, because it is managementâs prerogative to make decisions on many matters of interest, and giving an LMP the author- ity of decision-making erodes managementâs prerogative. This may evoke resistance from management to accept the concept. At the end of the conference call, a revised definition was agreed upon: A Labor-Management Partnership (LMP) is one in which the management and the union collaboratively act on shared concerns. The research team convened after conducting the surveys to review the definition. Two potential deficiencies of this revised definition were identified: â¢ Institutionalization of LMPs is not addressed in this definition. â¢ The revision leaves out âactively identify shared concerns,â which emphasizes the intention and a proactive disposition to cooperate by both sides. Research Approach
8Hence, in the latest version of the definition âactively identify shared concernâ was added back and an additional condition was added to emphasize that LMPs could be a formal process. A laborâmanagement partnership (LMP) arises when both the management and the union actively identify shared concerns and act on them collaboratively. This may be a formal process. A certain degree of flexibility was intentionally left in institu- tionalizing LMPs because it is indefinite whether a formal process is necessary for a relationship to qualify as an LMP. In the case study phase, the research team will explore in reality, whether institutionalization is conducive for a successful LMP and how successful partnerships handle decision-making authority. Indicators of Successful LaborâManagement Partnerships The research team developed a list of indicators that may evidence successful LMPs. The indicators were used to design the telephone survey and will be referenced in the design and implementation of the case studies. The indicators are grouped into the following six categories: â¢ LMP structure â¢ Frequency of consultation â¢ Side agreements and joint committees â¢ Union and management participation in joint committees â¢ Leadership and contract â¢ Conflicts and resolution The full list of indicators is presented in Appendix B. 2.2 Survey The research team developed a survey instrument for gath- ering information from union and management representa- tives in transit systems in the United States. The survey covered the following areas: â¢ On what types of issues do management and union work well together (e.g., drug and alcohol abuse, work place secu- rity, child care)? â¢ What are the effective techniques for building a positive, strong, and sustaining LMP? â¢ What are the barriers to a positive, strong, and cooperative LMP? The survey instrument consisted of two parts. The first part was a list of questions on labor relations and the cooperation between management and union, which were asked in a tele- phone survey. The second part was a follow-up data request for quantitative information regarding LMPs via email. Please find the survey instrument in Appendix C. The survey was designed to collect data for most of the indi- cators from each responding transit system. Certain indicators could not be best addressed in a telephone survey or question- naire because they required a significant amount of data col- lection from the respondent. Those indicators not addressed by the survey were explored in the case study phase of the research with selected transit systems. The research team identified 102 transit systems for the survey based on at least one of the following criteria: â¢ Transit systems operating more than 119 buses at peak service. The smallest system according to this criterion is the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Nashville, TN. â¢ Transit systems operating more than 100 rail cars at peak service. The smallest system according to this criterion is the Port Authority Transit Corporation in Lindenwold, NJ (i.e., the rapid transit running between Philadelphia and Camden County, NJ). Before initiating the survey, the research team received endorsements for the survey process from the Amalgamated Transit Union and the United Transit Union, two major tran- sit unions in the transit industry. Of the 102 transit systems that the research team contacted, 47 transit systems responded, including 31 management rep- resentatives and 39 union representatives who completed the telephone survey, and 15 management representatives and 22 union representatives who filled out a follow-up questionnaire. 2.3 Case Studies The case studies were a critical phase that substantially shaped the research products. Six transit systems were care- fully selected for in-depth studies. Representatives from both management and union in each system were interviewed to gather information with a balanced perspective. Before the site visits, the research team gathered background informa- tion on each transit system and created a list of premises for testing in the interviews. After the site visits, the findings of each case study were documented and analyzed to inform the development of the Toolkit. Selection of Case Study Candidates Based on the survey responses, the research team recom- mended 12 transit systems to the panel as candidates for detailed case studies. The candidates were identified with the following criteria: â¢ Stated willingness of labor and management respondents to participate, â¢ Statistics indicating strong and lasting LMP, â¢ Qualitative evidence of strong and lasting LMP,
9 â¢ At least two private contractors as management rep re- sentatives, â¢ At least two transit systems with rail service, â¢ At least one but no more than two transit systems where collective bargaining is prohibited (meet-and-confer or sim- ilar arrangements), and â¢ A distribution among geographic regions. The panel selected six transit systems out of the twelve for the case studies. Table 1 presents the six case studies and their selected attributes. Case Study Design Before the site visits, the research team did thorough prep- aration for the interviews. The first step was background research for each case study. The research team created a pre-visit checklist, which listed the actions each interviewer needed to complete and the information that would be gathered before the site visit. Such actions and information included: â¢ Confirmation of the transit systemâs participation from both management and union, as well as the availability of interviewees, â¢ A background profile of the transit system, and â¢ Labor relations documents of the transit system. The research team also created a list of premises the team believed were key factors for the success of LMPs. The case study interviews would verify or refute the prem- ises. Most of the premises were confirmed in the interviews and formed the basis for the development of the Toolkit, especially the LaborâManagement Partnership Guidance section. Please refer to Appendix E for the complete pre-visit check- list, including a list of premises. In Chapter 3.2, the testing results of the premises from the case studies are summarized and discussed. Besides the pre-visit checklist, the research team developed a case study interview guide for the interviewersâ reference when conducting interviews on site. The guide was intended to be a reference document and loosely followed the investigation, without confining it. Because of differences in interviewee involvement and inter- viewee responsibilities in labor relations and LMPs, the inter- view guide included questions designed for specific groups of interviewees, in addition to general questions for all inter- viewees. The interviewee groups that were separately identi- fied in the interview guide include â¢ Top management representatives (general managers/CEOs) â¢ Union local presidents â¢ Management/union (if not local president) representatives who are the management/union leads of LMPs â¢ Management/union representatives who sit on laborâ management committees â¢ Management and union representatives who actively par- ticipate in other LMP activities â¢ LMP facilitators The research team recognized that not all transit systems would have individuals in each of the six roles. However, the research team interviewed as many individuals as possible, representing these roles. A complete case study interview guide can be found in Appendix F. Case Study Interviews The research team conducted on-site interviews at all six transit systems. Team members interviewed both manage- ment and union representatives at each transit system to get a balanced view on labor relations and the cooperation between management and union. The site visits were 1 to 2 days long Transit System Name Principal Union Geography Rail Service A medium bus and rail operator ATU West coast Yes A medium bus and rail operator ATU Southeast Yes A large bus and rail operator ATU Mountain Yes A large bus and rail operator TWU Northeast Yes A large bus and rail operator ATU West coast Yes A medium bus operator ATU Northeast No Table 1. Transit systems selected for case studies.
10 â¢ The Charter Document â¢ The LaborâManagement Partnership Guidance â¢ The LaborâManagement Partnership Workshop Framework Twelve participants were invited to the 1-day workshop. The invitees included three labor representatives from transit union locals and an international transit union, three man- agement representatives from transit agencies, and three pairs (six in total) of labor and management representatives from three transit systems. Two members of the project panel (one representing labor and the other management) were among the 12 invitees. The draft Toolkit was distributed to the invitees in advance. The workshop was conducted at the Keck Center of the Transportation Research Board on Jan 29, 2015. Eight of the 12 invitees were able to attend. The eight participants included five union representatives and three management representatives. The workshop began with participants sharing their expe- riences with LMPs. Each research product was then presented and discussed by the participants. The last segment of the workshop was to rate the three products of the Toolkit, rank the guidelines in the LaborâManagement Partnership Guid- ance section based on their importance and usefulness, and provide written comments. Workshop proceedings were col- lected and documented by the team. The form that workshop participants used to rate the products of the Toolkit, rank the LMP guidelines, and provide written comments can be found in Appendix H. The rating and ranking results, as well as comments from participants, are discussed in Chapter 3.3. Improvements were made to the Toolkit based on the input gathered from the work- shop participants. depending on the size of the system and the complexity of LMPs. After the interviews, the research team compiled and summarized the interview notes for each transit system. Major findings from the case studies are presented in Chapter 3. 2.4 Development of the LaborâManagement Partnership Toolkit Combining findings from all previous phases of the research, the research team developed the Toolkit. The Tool- kit will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter 3.4 and the complete Toolkit is published as Volume 1: Toolkit of TCRP Report 181: LaborâManagement Partnerships in Pub- lic Transportation. 2.5 Evaluation Workshop and Finalization of the Toolkit The purpose of the evaluation workshop was to review and improve the utility of the research products and, in particular, to increase the likelihood of their acceptance. Laborâmanagement innovations, including partnership innovations, are as complex as human nature. They are multifaceted in the sense that differ- ent perspectives show them in a different light and reflect a dif- ferent mix of reactions and concerns. While the research team is confident that the research products are sound in their basic structures, they are also aware that a wide range of perspectives will give rise to a wide range of reactions to the concepts and the way the concepts are initially presented. Therefore the team convened a workshop with labor and management practitio- ners to review the research products: