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22 C H A P T E R 4 LMPs are an effective way to improve labor relations in a tran- sit system. LMPs benefit both management and union in ways such as effective operation and management decision-making, fairer compensation and employee welfare, training and career development opportunities, safety and health, and employeesâ morale and productivity, among others. Most importantly, a successful LMP achieves such benefits without compromising the unionâs independence and the managementâs prerogative. The research found that a wide range of LMPs exists in the transit industry. In fact, most transit systems reported at least one area where management and union work collaboratively to resolve problems and address concerns, even though the effec- tiveness and functionality of such partnerships vary widely. The survey and case studies show that functioning LMPs take various forms in terms of their structures, processes, areas of interest, and individuals involved, among other aspects. One common challenge for all LMPs, however, is that the scope of the partnership is confined to limited areas or issues, such as safety and training, among other common ones shown in Chapter 3.1 (See Table 3). In some transit systems, even though effective LMPs exist in one or a few specific areas, the overall LMR may still be adversarial. In other systems, opportunities to expand existing LMPs are often overlooked. The potential benefits for transit systems to take advantage of their existing partnerships are substantial. The Toolkit is, therefore, designed to help transit systems establish, improve, revive, or expand their LMPs. The Toolkit includes three components: â¢ The Charter Document serves as a starting point for manage- ment and union leaders to come together to recognize their existing partnership and plan for improvements if a partner- ship exists, or, if not, identify areas to start a partnership. â¢ The LaborâManagement Partnership Guidance provides a practical reference with specific actions recommended for both management and union leaders. â¢ The LaborâManagement Partnership Workshop Framework provides training techniques for workshop developers. Management and union leaders can use the Toolkit to advance their LMP efforts and make their partnerships sustainable. Even though effective LMPs are found to exist in different forms and operate in their own ways, a set of themes are com- mon to most successful LMPs. â¢ Partnership and respect. First and foremost, a transit sys- tems needs to foster a culture for partnership between man- agement and union. This requires both management and union members to respect the individuals representing the other party and maintain effective communication between the two parties. â¢ Separation of integrative and distributive issues. Man- agement and union leaders encounter numerous issues in managing and operating a transit system. On many issues, management and union share common goals and interests, while on many other issues, they do not. Management and union leaders should separate issues between integrative (or win-win) and distributive (or zero-sum) ones. While acting collaboratively on the integrative issues, management and union should recognize the challenges involved in resolving the distributive issues. â¢ Stakeholder buy-in and commitment. A successful LMP requires efforts from management and union leader- ship to advocate the partnership to all stakeholders so that the LMP has broad-based support. Management and union leaders need to establish broad-based buy-in from all key stake holders with formality and structure that is made clear to all. The stakeholders include all employees of the transit system, as well as external stakeholders such as the board and the public. It is also critical that stake- holders have confidence in managers to cooperate with the union and still continue to defend their prerogatives and efficiency, and have confidence in union leaders that their cooperation with management will not compromise membersâ interests. Conclusions
23 The sustainability and expansion of LMPs require manage- ment and union leaders to be responsive to and take advan- tage of pivotal events, such as leadership turnover, internal and external crises, and the success of specific partnership efforts. The Charter Document could play a critical role in such moments of challenge and opportunity. Management and union leaders, as well as other stakeholders, need to support stability in union and management leadership and smooth leadership transitions. Successes in existing cooperation are opportunities to build a broader partnership and shared chal- lenges and crises can be turned into catalysts for arriving at agreements. â¢ Organization and structure. The strength of an LMP also comes from within the partnership, through its structure and processes. An effective LMP needs to outline the shared goals and expectations of management and union. Leaders from both sides should work hard to align all necessary resources to support the partnership. Clear and consistent accountability is required of everyone with a governing or executing responsibility for the partnership. LMPs should provide comprehensive skill building for both union and management throughout the course of the partnership. The parties may consider having an independent facilitator if that is determined to be effective and affordable.