The ongoing attack on unions, coupled with the decades-long decline in labor’s membership, is causing labor organizations to rethink strategy and tactic. Signs of increasing union militancy are on the rise, from strikes among teachers and hotel workers to a variety of community-based campaigns to raise the minimum wage and organize workers in the digital industries. Employers, regardless of their unionization status, need to understand the fundamentals of what motivates workers to want unions and how mismanagement can create discontent among such workers. [A recent survey shows that nearly half of the nonunion workers in the U.S. would vote for union representation if given the chance to do so.] Unionized employers also need to know how to maintain good relations with their employees and ensure that they can communicate effectively how company management serves their interests through effective customer service and efficient operations.
We at AIM Consulting have had extensive experience working with employers to improve their labor-management relations and practices. We have advised organizations in the private and public sectors at the highest levels of management on bargaining strategy and planning. We have helped management understand how unions work and what motivates workers to support unions—in the initial stages of organizing and in bargaining campaigns.
We have studied unions as institutions and examined their finances and engaged in critical thinking about the future of labor unions. In addition, AIM Consulting has examined various policies and practices that make or break efforts to foster labor-management cooperation.
Parenthetically, we also have extensive knowledge of how to design conflict resolution procedures as means of giving workers in non-union contexts a voice in the workplace. Conflict management should not be about suppressing disagreement or constructive criticism but rather about channeling differences into steps for positive change. Organizations benefit greatly from listening to both employees and managers at all levels.