Implementing an Interest-Focused Collective Bargaining Strategy How changing the approach to collective bargaining led to success
Andy MacDonald, Queen's IRC Coach
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.
Organizational Design: Trusting in the 4-D process PARA's journey through the organizational design process to more effectively live its mission
Sarah Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta
The structure of any organization is key to its ability to function productively. In my role of chief executive officer for the Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta (PARA), I was concerned that our organizational form wasn't aligned with our intended function. My challenge was to take a group of volunteer resident physicians through a design process that would enable our organization to more effectively live its mission: representation for physicians completing further training in a residency program; advocacy for excellence in education and patient care; and optimal working conditions and personal well-being for all its members.
PARA had a number of organizational practices that led to a disconnect between what the organization had intended to achieve, and how it had evolved to achieve it. It was in this context that I, along with one additional staff member and one resident physician volunteer, found ourselves in Banff for three snow-filled days in December, keen to learn about the 4-D process of organizational design. Teaching the Queen's IRC Organizational Design program was Brenda Barker Scott.
Within the first few hours of the session, my expectations were shattered. Here I thought I was going to get a ready-made template – all I would have to do is insert PARA into an existing governance model. Instead, after that first day, what I went away with was a better understanding of the path we had chosen. We were actually going to take stock of our organization – through the Queen's IRC Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness – and we were going to build our own governance model.
Queen's IRC Alumni are also invited to join the Queen's IRC Alumni group on LinkedIn. This is a place to have conversations, post jobs, and connect with like-minded labour relations, human resources, and organizational development professionals. Membership is limited to Queen's IRC participants only.
Invitation to complete our Marketing Survey
The Queen's IRC Sales & Marketing team is conducting a survey in an effort to better understand the professional development needs of HR and LR professionals.
This survey should take under 10 minutes to complete. For your time, you will be eligible to enter a draw for one of six $50 Starbucks or Tim Hortons gift cards. Winners will be announced in September.
Your feedback is very important to us. We thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey.