Queen's University IRC

Queen's University

Mercedes Watson is a co-founder and senior partner with a boutique-consulting firm. She is a regular facilitator at Queen’s University IRC where she provides her experience to two courses (Negotiation Skills and Managing Unionized Environments) and travels throughout Canada on behalf of Queen’s IRC to deliver customized training to organizations and their union and/or management groups. Mercedes has consulted, facilitated, mediated and led negotiations with numerous bargaining units across a variety of sectors including health care, education and government. She has a theoretical and practical understanding of culture, conflict management styles and analysis tools.  Her experience in being a lead negotiator on the management side as well as the union side allows her to more effectively assist and understand workplace issues.

Mercedes holds a Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University’s School of Peace and Conflict Management where her research focused on alternate dispute resolution systems and conflict man­agement within complex organizational settings. She is a Chartered Mediator (C.Med) with an International Mediation Designation (IMI) and has served on the ADRIO C.Med Skills Assessment Committee since 2011.

Prior to her current position, Mercedes was the Chief Negotiator and Chief Executive Officer for the Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP/ACTRA) and the Director for the ACTRA Perform­ers’ Rights Society (APRS) and the Recording Artists Collecting Society (RACS), all unionized workplaces. She led numerous international, multi-party contract negotiations, most notably with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents over 350 motion picture and televisions producers in the United States.  She was suc­cessful in achieving terms that were above industry standards while maintain­ing professional working relationships. With UBCP/ACTRA she was also lead negotiator for management negotiations with the employee bargaining unit represented by the Canadian Auto Workers (now Unifor). Preceding her work with UBCP/ACTRA, Mercedes was simultaneously the Director for ACTRA PRS and RACS, managing staff under collective agreements represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) and Canadian Office and Professional Employees (COPE).

Thumbnail: 

Managing Unionized Environments

LR 100
3 Credits

Living the Collective Agreement

Collective bargaining may get all the attention of the outside world but smart, day-to-day relationship management determines the effectiveness of managers and unionized workers. It is the ongoing resolution of issues and problems that arise daily that will either create a culture of success or one of resistance and fear. In this skills-building program designed for both supervisors and union representatives, the use and application of the collective agreement is placed into an intensely practical context.

Learn both management and union best practices on challenging issues such as discipline, performance management, and job competition. Develop interest-based skills to help eliminate positional behaviour and engage difficult people, be they managers or workers. Reduce friction arising from the daily interpretation of the collective labour agreement. Start using the collective agreement as a platform for productivity and achievement.

Tour of the Program

a) Interests, Rights, and Power

We first distinguish three related yet distinct concepts in how all of us approach problem solving:

  • A focus on interests, which calls for engaging, motivating, and coaching
  • A focus on rights, which involves setting boundaries, rights, and obligations
  • A focus on power, which calls for discipline, accountability, and enforcement of boundaries

Understanding the distinctions, and knowing when and how to pull on each of these levers, is a crucial initial learning. How can managers and union representatives effectively use these processes? How can you get management's attention on important issues?

We then do a deep dive into interests, using the Triangle of Satisfaction as a means to understand three types of interests. This will help you to better diagnose people's behaviour in the workplace and resolve workplace issues. In many cases, union representatives are focused on one set of these interests, while managers are focused on a completely different area, often leading to frustration. Managers and union reps will learn how to engage on the full range of key interests.

b) Understanding Human Rights in the Workplace

With the help of a case study, we examine the law, rights, and obligations governing the workplace, with a focus on both human rights legislation as well as recent developments, such as Ontario's Bill 168. We work through the following themes:

  • How to recognize harassment and discrimination
  • The DNA of a poisoned work environment
  • How to manage issues that arise related to harassment
  • How managing performance is related to human rights in the workplace
  • What obligations that management and unions have in relation to human rights issues

c) Dissecting the Collective Agreement

You'll learn all about the laws, rights, and obligations embedded in collective agreements that touch all parties. What are the key provisions and hot spots in the collective labour agreement that front-line managers need to know?

You'll also be briefed on the grievance process. What is the front-line's role in this process? What is the anatomy of a grievance? What are the best interventions from both a management and union perspective?

You'll have an opportunity to identify the key areas for your own collective agreement, and develop strategies for starting to address those issues.

d) Managing Relations in the Unionized Environment

In this module, learn how to work effectively to build trust in the unionized environment, and how to apply power without causing long-term problems. Participate in a spirited discussion of the union's role in building and maintaining a productive work environment.

e) Applying Key Interest-Based Skills – The Dynamics of Trust

Even when working with "rights" and "power", you still need to engage people and build productive and sustainable workplace relationships. Trust is a key component of every relationship, workplaces included. What creates and builds trust, both on a personal and impersonal level? When trust is low or broken, what can help repair and rebuild it? How do we weave trust into everything we do, even when not everyone is getting what they want?

You'll be given a clear and easy-to-implement template for building and managing trust in the workplace.

Build your skills in:

  • Eliminating positional behaviour
  • Effective listening in search of the "why"
  • Reality testing to engage difficult staff and effect change
  • Working effectively with difficult managers and members

f) Managing and Applying Discipline

When done properly, what does progressive discipline look like? How do you set boundaries that are respected? If you're a front-line manager, how do you gather the facts and conduct a disciplinary meeting? When does the Human Resources department need to be brought in?

In addition, you'll learn the best way to represent a member in the discipline process. What is best for the member, and the membership? How do you sell a result to the member that he or she may not like?

g) Performance Management that Works

Improving the performance of workers involves insight and a number of skills. Motivations need to be understood. Expectations need to be set collaboratively. In this module, learn how to:

  • Set expectations
  • Give feedback that is heard
  • Execute on the maxim, "Gentle pressure, relentlessly applied"

h) The View from the Union Hall

Hear the union perspective on discipline, performance management, and seniority.

  • What does the union look for in "good" supervisors?
  • Union duty to represent – goals and limits

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, you will be better positioned to:

  • Identify the hot spots of collective agreements and how to address them effectively
  • Employ the appropriate processes and approaches that will support the integrity of the collective labour agreement
  • Set expectations and give feedback that will build trust with management and motivate workers

Benefits

Organizational and Union Benefits

  • Stronger labour management relations to enhance competitive capabilities
  • Aligned labour relations systems that promote worker satisfaction and high performance
  • Poised and well-grounded responses to the changing face of labour law and legal issues
  • Reduced time and costs spent on grievance arbitration
  • Better understanding of how shop stewards and managers shape the union-management dynamic  

Takeaway Tools

  • Practical conflict management tools such as the Dynamics of Building Trust and the Triangle of Satisfaction

Who Should Attend

Supervisors and managers who oversee unionized staff, as well as union officials, shop stewards, and others who represent workers.

Facilitators and Speakers

*The roster of speakers is subject to change.

Venues and Accommodations

Nov 7-9, 2017 - Edmonton

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

Feb 6-8, 2018 - Kelowna

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

May 15-17, 2018 - Halifax

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

Oct 2-4, 2018 - Saskatoon

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

Nov 27-29, 2018 - Toronto

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register for a program?

You can register online, call us toll-free at 1-888-858-7838, or email us at irc@queensu.ca. Once you register, we will send you a confirmation by email. Information about the program location, check-in time, and the agenda will follow.

How do I pay for the program?

If you are registering online, you may pay by Visa or MasterCard.  You may also choose to be invoiced first, and pay by cheque (payable to Queen's IRC) or credit card. You may also wish to call us with your credit card number to make the payment.

If your organization is tax exempt, we will require a copy of your tax exemption certificate.

Do you offer discounts?

Yes. We offer an Early-Bird discount.  If you register 60 days before the start of a program, you will save $300 on the tuition of four- and five-day programs, and $150 on two- and three-day programs.

If you register three people from the same organization in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 10% discount on program fees. If you register five or more people in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 20% discount.

If you know you will be pursuing a Queen's Certificate and would like to remit tuition in one payment before your first program, we offer a special fee with a considerable saving. Contact us at irc@queensu.ca for more information.

Please note that only one discount may be applied.

What is included in the registration fee?

Program fees include tuition, workbook materials, lunches, and some dinners. You are responsible for transportation, accommodation, and some meals.

Once I enroll in a program, may I cancel without penalty?

Substitutions are permitted with no penalty 8 days or more from the program start date.
Substitutions 7 days or less before the program start date will be subject to a $500 charge.
Transfers and cancellations are permitted with no penalty up to 15 days prior to the program start date.
Transfers and cancellations 14 days or less from the program start date will be subject to a 100% charge of the program fee.

Where does the program take place?

Our programs typically take place at a hotel. This information can be found in the tab above, called Venue and Accommodations.

I would like to make my travel plans.  What are the start and end times for the program?

Managing Unionized Environments starts at 8:30 a.m. on the first day. (Registration runs from 8:00 - 8:30 a.m.)

The program finishes at 3:00 p.m. on the last day.

If I am working towards a Queen's IRC Certificate, which course should I take first?

You may take the programs in any order that reflects your learning needs at the time. Our certificates feature a core program or programs that introduce you to what we consider the core competencies of the field. The remaining programs offer a deeper exploration of each area. For this reason, we find that participants in the certificate stream benefit most by taking the foundational program first.

My level of expertise is above the foundational program for the certificate I am working on. Do I still need to take that program to earn a certificate?

Queen's IRC offers participants maximum flexibility to customize their individual training needs. Upon request, participants with advanced expertise may skip the foundational program, and choose another program from our entire program lineup, for credit towards a certificate. Participants must earn 12 credits to earn a certificate.

How long do I have to complete a certificate?

We attach no timeline for achieving your certificate. Once you have earned a credit, you have earned the credit. We do recommend, however, that participants complete their certificate within one to six years. Most people earn their certificates within three years.

What if I want to take one of your programs but do not want to pursue a certificate?

That's fine. All of our programs may be taken individually, and you can mix and match the courses in labour relations, human resources and organization development, depending on your learning needs. At the conclusion of each program, you are given a certificate of completion.

I have taken a custom program with the IRC.  Will this count towards a certificate?

Yes. Participants who take an IRC custom program may also use their training days as credits towards a certificate.

If I have other questions, who may I speak with personally?

For a program registration query, please feel free to call us at 1-888-858-7838 or 613-533-6628. To reach the Director and staff members, consult our online directory. To reach one of our facilitators, please contact Stephanie Noel at 613-533-6000 ext. 77088 or stephanie.noel@queensu.ca.

Negotiation Skills

ALR 301
5 Credits

Developing Negotiating Styles and Tactics to Master the Dynamics of Collective Bargaining

If you are involved in collective bargaining, you know the complex and multi-layered dynamics at play. Whether you represent a business unit, government department, or union, you know that the organization's strategic interests and priorities are tied to how well you do at the bargaining table. But can you implement more effective collective bargaining strategies that are true to your own style and the organization's best interests? These and other important issues are explored in our intensive five-day Negotiation Skills program, which features expert instruction and on-the-spot coaching.

Tour of the Program

a) Understanding the Negotiation Process

The opening component of our program establishes the foundation on which new skills can be based. We draw the big picture in collective bargaining: what must the organization accomplish in the negotiation round, and what are the dynamics at play. We set the stage by:

  • Defining strategic negotiations
  • Teasing out the dynamics of power/rights/interests approaches
  • Identifying individual team and organizational capabilities

b) Building and Prepping the Negotiating

In preparation for your extended bargaining simulation later in the week, we explore how to create roles and responsibilities for effective team dynamics. We analyze bargaining dynamics as well, including intra-team, inter-team, and team-constituent bargaining.

c) Developing a Collective Bargaining Strategy

There are many crucial elements to consider in crafting a strategy for your bargaining round.

Here are several that are discussed:

  • Gathering and analyzing data
  • Determining the real issues and interests (yours and theirs)
  • Framing issues for productive dialogue
  • Gaining team agreement on priorities,strategies, tactics, and processes
  • Communicating with stakeholder groups
  • Formulating a bargaining mandate

d) Negotiation Simulation: Part 1

Here is your chance to practice what you have learned so far this week. The first part of the simulation gives your team an opportunity to identify bargaining priorities, formulate interests, and anticipate the other team’s interests to develop a foundation for moving forward. Begin to manage team dynamics by establishing roles and responsibilities, and gaining team agreement on strategies.

e) Introduction to Costing the Collective Agreement

This workshop is devoted to the art and science of costing the collective agreement. You get a template for costing the monetary and nonmonetary issues of your collective agreement, and apply the information to your ongoing simulation.

f) Negotiation Simulation: Part 2

After forming your opening statements, your team meets to negotiate effective pre-agreements on ground rules and process issues. Watch for possible turbulence in team dynamics.

g) The Union View of Bargaining

We ensure that our roster of coaches includes strong and experienced representatives of unions. In this spirited session they offer the union perspective, fielding your candid questions and satisfying your curiosity.

h) Negotiating to Agreement

There are a number of techniques to employ in order to reach a satisfactory bargaining conclusion.

Here are several that are explored:

  • Questioning skills for distinguishing interests from positions, exploring assumptions, and obtaining important information
  • Creating joint problem-solving statements
  • Negotiating without locking onto positions
  • Controlling destructive dynamics
  • Dealing with sources of resistance
  • Linking issues and solutions for effective resolution
  • Packaging and re-packaging offers

i) Negotiation Simulation: Parts 3 to 5

The negotiation simulation comes to a climax during this full day of bargaining. Do team members perform as advertised? Have you considered all the possible counter-proposals? Prepare to be surprised by the results.

j) Pre-Bargaining Rituals

The bargaining process is a bit like going to a dance: there are rituals, strategies, and tactics that play out beneath the surface.

In this section you will learn:

  • How to set the tone for productive bargaining
  • How to prepare and deliver an opening statement
  • How to negotiate pre-agreements on ground rules and meeting schedules
  • How to develop a joint bargaining process/agenda

k) Concluding the Agreement

Learn how to go from agreement in principle to agreement on specifics by:

  • Drafting contract language and checking for mutual understanding
  • Communicating with stakeholder groups to achieve agreement and ratification.
  • Reaching agreement on the entire package

Success is close at hand, but pay attention to details.

l) Large Group Debrief

With the intensity of the simulation melted away, it is time to take stock of the lessons learned and gather feedback from coaches. Begin to contemplate your role in future negotiations and how you will enhance the competitive position of your organization.  

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the week, you will be better positioned to:

  • Prepare effectively for negotiations by identifying interests and developing strategic mandates
  • Open negotiations constructively and negotiate pre-agreements
  • Build skills in formulating and delivering proposals and managing impasses
  • Develop the skills of an effective negotiator including listening, probing, identifying interests, and mutually solving problems
  • Develop skills in costing both your present collective agreement and proposed new clauses

Benefits

Organizational Benefits

  • Better outcomes from collective bargaining sessions
  • Faster and more effective preparation of negotiating team members
  • Improved labour management relations
  • Creation of competitive advantage through strategic negotiations

Takeaway Tools

  • Planning for Bargaining Workbook
  • Issues Analysis/Preparation/Framing Templates
  • Negotiations Checklist  

Who Should Attend

Labour Relations and Human Resources professionals, union representatives, and managers who prepare for negotiations  

Facilitators and Speakers

*The roster of speakers is subject to change.

Venues and Accommodations

Oct 22-27, 2017 - Kingston

Queen's University IRC is proud to hold this session at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, located at 285 King Street East, in historic downtown Kingston. Hotel rooms are available to participants at a special rate until one month prior to the program. Following your registration for the program, we will provide you with a unique link for hotel reservations. For more information on the hotel visit http://www.fourpointskingston.com/.

Apr 8-13, 2018 - Kingston

Queen's University IRC is proud to hold this session at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, located at 285 King Street East, in historic downtown Kingston. Hotel rooms are available to participants at a special rate until one month prior to the program. Following your registration for the program, we will provide you with a unique link for hotel reservations. For more information on the hotel visit http://www.fourpointskingston.com/.

Oct 21-26, 2018 - Kingston

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

Dec 3-7, 2018 - Victoria

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register for a program?

You can register online, call us toll-free at 1-888-858-7838, or email us at irc@queensu.ca. Once you register, we will send you a confirmation by email. Information about the program location, check-in time, and the agenda will follow.

How do I pay for the program?

If you are registering online, you may pay by Visa or MasterCard.  You may also choose to be invoiced first, and pay by cheque (payable to Queen's IRC) or credit card. You may also wish to call us with your credit card number to make the payment.

If your organization is tax exempt, we will require a copy of your tax exemption certificate.

Do you offer discounts?

Yes. We offer an Early-Bird discount.  If you register 60 days before the start of a program, you will save $300 on the tuition of four- and five-day programs, and $150 on two- and three-day programs.

If you register three people from the same organization in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 10% discount on program fees. If you register five or more people in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 20% discount.

If you know you will be pursuing a Queen's Certificate and would like to remit tuition in one payment before your first program, we offer a special fee with a considerable saving. Contact us at irc@queensu.ca for more information.

Please note that only one discount may be applied.

What is included in the registration fee?

Program fees include tuition, workbook materials, lunches, and some dinners. You are responsible for transportation, accommodation, and some meals.

Once I enroll in a program, may I cancel without penalty?

Substitutions are permitted with no penalty 8 days or more from the program start date.
Substitutions 7 days or less before the program start date will be subject to a $500 charge.
Transfers and cancellations are permitted with no penalty up to 15 days prior to the program start date.
Transfers and cancellations 14 days or less from the program start date will be subject to a 100% charge of the program fee.

Where does the program take place?

Our programs typically take place at a hotel. This information can be found in the tab above, called Venue and Accommodations.

I would like to make my travel plans. What are the start and end times for the program?

Programs in Kingston - Registration and reception begins at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. The in-class program starts 5:00 p.m. The program finishes at noon on Friday.

Programs outside Kingston - Registration for these programs runs from 8:00 AM - 8:30 a.m. on the first day. The program starts at 8:30 a.m. and finishes at noon on the last day.

If I am working towards a Queen's IRC Certificate, which course should I take first?

You may take the programs in any order that reflects your learning needs at the time. Our certificates feature a core program or programs that introduce you to what we consider the core competencies of the field. The remaining programs offer a deeper exploration of each area. For this reason, we find that participants in the certificate stream benefit most by taking the foundational program first.

My level of expertise is above the foundational program for the certificate I am working on. Do I still need to take that program to earn a certificate?

Queen's IRC offers participants maximum flexibility to customize their individual training needs. Upon request, participants with advanced expertise may skip the foundational program, and choose another program from our entire program lineup, for credit towards a certificate. Participants must earn 12 credits to earn a certificate.

How long do I have to complete a certificate?

We attach no timeline for achieving your certificate. Once you have earned a credit, you have earned the credit. We do recommend, however, that participants complete their certificate within one to six years. Most people earn their certificates within three years.

What if I want to take one of your programs but do not want to pursue a certificate?

That's fine. All of our programs may be taken individually, and you can mix and match the courses in labour relations, human resources and organization development, depending on your learning needs. At the conclusion of each program, you are given a certificate of completion.

I have taken a custom program with the IRC.  Will this count towards a certificate?

Yes. Participants who take an IRC custom program may also use their training days as credits towards a certificate.

If I have other questions, who may I speak with personally?

For a program registration query, please feel free to call us at 1-888-858-7838 or 613-533-6628. To reach the Director and staff members, consult our online directory. To reach one of our facilitators, please contact Stephanie Noel at 613-533-6000 ext. 77088 or stephanie.noel@queensu.ca.

Subscribe to RSS - Mercedes Watson