Deborah Cooper | Queen's University IRC

Queen's University IRC

Queen's University

Deborah Cooper is currently the General Secretary of the National Joint Council (NJC) of the Public Service of Canada. She is a union-side appointee to the position, having taken up the post in May 2013. The position is alternately held by employer side and bargaining agent side appointees. The NJC is a union-management organization that is the forum of choice for co-development and consultation between the parties within the federal public service. The NJC also manages numerous directives agreed to by the parties on items ranging from travel and relocation to the health care plan and the long-term disability plan.

Prior to this role, Deborah worked in private practice as an employment and labour lawyer, moving over to work in-house at two different federal bargaining agents in 2005 and 2009. From 2012-2013, she also worked on the employer side, on an interchange, as a Director in the Labour Relations and Compensation Division of a large federal department. Deborah has also worked in Paris, France at both UNESCO and the Canadian Embassy, and has lectured at the Barreau de Versailles. She holds an Honours Bachelor Degree from the University of Ottawa, a Law Degree from the University of Western Ontario, and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, having been called to the Bar of Ontario in 1997.

Strategic Grievance Handling

ALR 401
4 Credits

Developing Techniques and Processes to Strategically Prevent and Manage Grievances

The number of outstanding grievances is one of the most telling indicators of the state of labour relations in a unionized environment. Considering legal costs, damage to labour-management relationships and reduced productivity, grievances can also be very expensive for both employers and unions. Like taxes, grievances are a part of the unionized workplace but many can be avoided and strategic practitioners can play a role in reducing their frequency. There are measures that can be taken before grievances are launched. There are steps that you can take during the grievance procedure, during mediation and in advance of the arbitration process to lessen the impact on employees, the union, and the organization. That’s where this program comes in.

Strategic grievance handling is a thoughtful approach to labour relations. It involves identifying workplace-wide issues or problems, then analyzing the way in which proactive individual grievance management can address those issues. A long-term goal can then be developed for solving the systemic issues. You will come away from this program with the big-picture perspective, as well as some skills that you can use back at work to confidently handle all steps in the grievance process.

Tour of the Program

a) The Rules of the Road

Much of the grievance process is grounded in law, so that's where we start. In no time, you'll gain an understanding of the basic legal foundation as well as these topics: 

  • What is a grievance?
  • How is it linked to collective bargaining?
  • What are the typical boundaries and scope of a grievance?
  • Which sorts of outcomes are predictable?
  • When can a grievance be reviewed?

b) Conflict Escalation and Containment

There's both art and science involved in recognizing, assessing, and preventing conflict from escalating into a formal grievance. Learn to identify the stages in conflict escalation and acquire the techniques for controlling conflict. Come away with a practical five-stage conflict escalation model with immediate practical benefit for reducing workplace "temperature." Best of all, test your understanding of this tool in a scripted scenario and, in a safe workshop setting, discuss methods of intervention. 

 c) Case Studies: Learning From Decisions

Working in small groups you’ll compare your judgment using real-life cases against actual decisions made by arbitrators, and utilize these decisions to start developing your own strategic insights.  You’ll hear from participants about their workplace issues and work in table groups to re-think approaches to current or pending grievance scenarios

Hear the story about how an "ordinary" grievance process contributed to a workplace tragedy. 

  • What creative solutions were developed to work through these situations?
  • What was learned? 
  • How has legislation and workplace policies changed?
  • How can each of us translate these lessons into practical applications in our own workplaces?

d) How to be a Strong Advocate

The basis of effective grievance handling consists of thorough preparation and solid advocacy, communication, and negotiating skills. In this session, you’ll learn:

  • How to prepare for grievance meetings
  • The benefits of information sharing
  • How to apply strategic analysis of grievances for early resolution
  • How to negotiate at grievance meetings

Join the session leader in discussions on key issues and questions that inevitably arise:

  • What information should or should not be revealed at early stages?
  • What should the grieving party or supervisor say and do in grievance meetings?
  • Which types of negotiating strategies can be employed during grievance meetings?
  • What is the best way to communicate for maximum impact?

e) Following the Mediation and Arbitration Routes

Grievance mediation and arbitration each demand a specific skill-set and understanding. Learn — and practice through simulations — the difference between the two in role plays. You are asked to take on a role and, guided by confidential information, play out a scenario that will be resolved through both the mediation and arbitration processes. Get on-the-spot coaching along the way.

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of grievance mediation and arbitration?
  • When would you choose either process?
  • When would you make a process shift, and move from one process to the other?
  • How should you make that shift?

f) Feeding the Collective Agreement

Strategic grievance handling inevitably translates into strategic labour relations. In this closing session, we make the connection to not only the workplace dynamics but to the all-important bargaining relationship and review the processes that nurture these relationships.

  • What are the best practices in tracking grievances, and how does your handling of them impact the bargaining process?
  • Why do we choose to go to arbitration and how can we improve the process when negotiating collective agreements?
  • What are the economic realities of grievance mediation or arbitration?

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Diagnose when and how conflict escalates
  • Understand the context and purpose of a grievance
  • Consider your options both before and when a grievance is filed
  • Prepare for and take control of the grievance meeting
  • Deploy your skills more effectively during the grievance process
  • Strategically choose mediation or arbitration as an option for resolution
  • Conduct a grievance analysis before a round of collective bargaining
  • How strategy can feed a positive relationship cycle

Benefits

Organizational and Union Benefits

  • Enhanced in-house capacity to handle grievances
  • Reduced time and legal costs spent on arbitration
  • Poised and well-grounded responses to changing labour laws and legal issues
  • Well-grounded positions going into collective bargaining

Takeaway Tools

  • Five-Stage Conflict Escalation Model
  • Grievance Preparation Checklist
  • Insights into planning personal or workplace strategies for prevention of grievances

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

Mar 26-29, 2019 - Toronto

Queen's University IRC is proud to present this program at The Old Mill Inn, located at 21 Old Mill Road, Toronto. Please contact the Inn directly for rate information and to book your accommodation. Phone 1-866-653-6455 or visit the Inn's web site at http://oldmilltoronto.com/index.php.

Dec 3-6, 2019 - 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?

Strategic Grievance Handling starts at 8:30 a.m. on the first day. (Registration runs from 8:00 - 8:30 a.m.)

The program finishes at 3 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

Apr 7-12, 2019 - 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/.

Jul 22-26, 2019 - 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.

Oct 20-25, 2019 - 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.

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.

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