Implementing an Interest-Focused Collective Bargaining Strategy
How Changing the Approach to Collective Bargaining Led to Success
Andy MacDonald, Queen's IRC Coach, 2013
I was a professional Fire Fighter in the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), for many years before I got directly involved as a member of our Local's negotiating team. Although I was always interested in our Association's activities, and I regularly attended meetings, I never considered myself "involved enough" to run for any committee or executive position for those first 15 years of my career.
I'm not certain that there was any particular event that piqued my interest in becoming a member of our Local's negotiating team, but I was frustrated over the regular cycle of failed negotiations and expensive interest arbitrations. It seemed to me, from the outside looking in, that history kept finding a way of repeating itself and that perhaps I could bring about some change to the process of negotiations.
As a newly elected member of our Local's negotiating team in the mid 90's, I eagerly approached every opportunity to learn about the issues and process as we approached a fresh round of negotiations. I was immediately taken aback with how often the question of "why are we doing that" or "why are we asking for that" was answered with "because it's the way we've always done it." It made no sense to me. The way we had always done it typically led to an impasse and, with strikes and/or lock-outs prohibited, we were then on to interest arbitrations. The inability to negotiate our own deal came at a great cost for our Local and municipality from both a financial and relationship perspective.
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Becoming a Trusted Strategic Business Partner: Lessons from the Government of Alberta
Stephanie Noel, Queen's IRC Business Development Manager, 2013
|Graduates of the HR Business Partner Program (Series 3), December 2012, Edmonton, AB
In 2008, when Mary Jefferies first consulted with Queen's IRC to build a new program that would enhance the Alberta government HR professionals' ability to be true business partners, she was not motivated by an industry trend, or faddishness.
The changing business of the Alberta government and of her department — then called Alberta Environment — demanded it.
"Our work was increasingly being seen on the international stage, whether it was in oilsands or in conservation. And we were being challenged to work in a more collaborative, more networked, more interactive way," said Jefferies, now an organizational culture expert in the Alberta government's Environment and Sustainable Resource Development department.
"We needed to give people capacity for systems thinking, facilitation, learning, and organizational development. We needed to respond to changes in the business, and in the expectations of senior leaders. We needed to think about emerging competencies in the workforce, talent management, and leadership development. "And so we asked: What are the capabilities we need to be trusted strategic business partners? How do we get there?"
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Interviews with LR, HR and OD Experts Available Online
Queen's IRC has interviewed many of our expert facilitators, speakers and staff, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. We have recently uploaded the videos from our most recent interview with Brenda Barker Scott.
All of our interviews are available on our YouTube channel, and a complete list can be found on our website. We encourage you to take the time to check out these videos.
Brenda Barker Scott - Facilitator for the Organizational Design, Organization Development Foundations, HR Decision Making and Building Smart Teams programs