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How to Deal With Union Problems. If your employees are unionized, chances are that you must deal with occasional union problems that affect worker morale and productivity. You must meet these challenges with a spirit of cooperation rather than opposition to prevent minor discontent from mushrooming into a strike or worse. Read on to learn more.
Read the collective bargaining agreement. Even the most detailed agreements are open to interpretation on some issues. The better you understand this document, the better you can interpret its provisions in your favor.
Maintain a good relationship with the union steward. Call upon her to dispel rumors and notify you of brewing conflicts.
Keep your emotions in check. Calm, professional managers have a better chance of prevailing than those drawn into a shouting match.
Look beyond the grievance for answers. If a union worker files a nonsensical grievance, you must read between the lines. The real problem might be different from the stated one.
Work continuously on building rapport with the union. If you facilitate a positive relationship with the union on a regular basis, your chances of getting union support for procedure changes increase.
Divide and conquer the most challenging union rabble-rousers. If a hotheaded union member challenges or accuses you in front of his peers, give him a neutral audience. Then, revisit the issue privately.
Listen with interest and empathy, even if you disagree with every point made. Allow the union members to voice their every concern without scowling, shaking your head or interrupting. Listening to people makes them feel empowered, which smoothes negotiations.