Queen's University IRC

Grievance Handling During a Pandemic

A Special 1-day Strategic Grievance Handling Workshop

1 CREDIT

VIRTUAL LEARNING MODEL

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Grievances don’t stop because of a pandemic, and organizations must continue to approach labour relations – and grievances – strategically.

This one-day workshop will provide an overview of how to identify workplace-wide issues or problems, analyze them, and proactively determine how grievance management might improve workplace relationships and help to change systems over the long term. You will have the opportunity to assess and reconsider your internal grievance handling processes, while gaining some tools to navigate conflict and improve conversations that support resolutions. You will come away from this program with greater insight into how to consider your own workplace approach, and how to manage your grievance processes more effectively.

Throughout the day, we will consider strategies, language, and apply skills to labour board decisions in small breakout groups. We will discuss the current social landscape and virtual meetings, which have taken over the workplace during the pandemic.

DATE, LOCATION & FEE

Please contact Queen’s IRC at 1-888-858-7838 or email IRC@QueensU.ca for more information.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

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

OVERVIEW OF THE DAY

LEARNING OUTCOMES

FACILITATORS AND GUEST SPEAKERS

Mercedes Watson

Lead Facilitator

Deborah Cooper

Co-Facilitator

Deborah Cooper

Co-Facilitator
Scroll to Top

Mercedes Watson

Mercedes Watson, MA, BFA, C.Med. IMI, is the CEO of Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services, a non-profit, multi-site, multi sector agency providing over sixty programs to those most vulnerable in Toronto’s downtown east with a mission to create lasting solutions to end poverty, social injustices, and isolation. Dixon Hall has been offering its services since 1929 and has a staff of over 300, many of whom are represented by CUPE local 2497, and focuses on the following services: seniors, housing and homelessness, employment, children and youth, and a celebrated music school.


Prior to taking on her role with Dixon Hall, Mercedes served as Senior Strategist and Founder of a boutique-consulting firm, Thought Department Inc. A portion of her consulting practice focused on labour relations issues as they related to mediation, negotiations and workplace facilitations. She is a regular facilitator at Queen’s IRC where she provides her expertise to core courses (Negotiation Skills, Strategic Grievance Handling and Managing Unionized Environments) and travels throughout Canada and the West Indies (Cave Hill School of Business and Management, Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business) on behalf of Queen’s IRC to deliver customized training to organizations and their union and/or management groups.


In addition to both a theoretical and practical understanding of culture, conflict management styles and analysis tools, her understanding of organizational change and change management has enhanced the effectiveness of her restorative work in organizations across the country. Her unique experience of being a lead negotiator on the management side as well as the union side allows her to more effectively assist and understand workplace issues.


From 1997 to 2010, Mercedes was the Chief Negotiator and Chief Executive Officer for the Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP/ACTRA), the Director for the ACTRA Performers’ Rights Society (APRS) and the Recording Artists Collecting Society (RACS) all unionized workplaces. In her capacity as Chief Negotiator and Chief Executive Officer 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, predominantly the major studios in the United States. With UBCP/ACTRA she was also lead negotiator for management negotiations with the employee bargaining unit represented by the Canadian Auto Workers (Unifor). Preceding her work with UBCP/ACTRA, Ms. Watson was the Director for ACTRA PRS and RACS, managing unionized staff represented by the United Steelworkers and Canadian Office and Professional Employees (COPE). In her current capacity, and while with UBCP/ACTRA and ACTRA PRS she was responsible for terminations, discipline matters, privacy issues, workplace health and safety, mediations, arbitrations and human rights related matters. Together with Kenda L. Murphy, LLB, Mercedes co-edited the instructor training materials for Industrial Relations in Canada, Fourth Edition (2015, Fiona McQuarrie, John Wiley & Sons).


Mercedes holds a Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University’s School of Peace and Conflict Management (MA) 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), serves on the roster of mediators for the government of Ontario and has been a member of the ADRIO C.Med Skills Assessment Committee since 2011.

Deborah Cooper

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.