HR and Unions: The Ever Changing Relationship
HR needs to always expand its knowledge base. Whether you are hesitant to work with unions or accepting of the union’s philosophy, it is always good to listen to what an iconic union leader has to say about how to improve workplace relationships, and in this case union-management relations.
Buzz Hargrove is one of the most prominent union leaders that Canada has ever seen. He spent over 40 years working in the trenches of Canadian Labour Relations with much of that time as President of the Canadian Autoworkers Workers Union (now Uniform).
Depending on how the HR department integrates itself with the union they will have drastically diametric outcomes and relationships within the organization. From the video interview clip done by the Canadian HR Reporter, Buzz gives HR advice on work with a union which includes the following:
- Open daily communication
- Positive union-management relationships reduces costs
- HR working with the union members makes a difference
- Spending time and sharing information with the union will pay off
- Most of all, according to Buzz , HR has to have integrity
Even if you never plan on working directly in an unionized environment it is always wise as an HR professional to understand how unions work and how unionization will affect the day to day operations of the workplace.
- Research what happened with Buzz Hargrove over the closing of the Molson Plant in Barrie Ontario in 1999.
- If you were the leader of Molson’s HR department during the above event, what would your recommended response be?