What does a management seminar on union avoidance have in common with a skull session on improving union-management relations?
In addition to a hefty price tag, both are the stock-in-trade of a New York-based consulting firm. Seminars run by Executive Enterprises offer bosses tips on unionbusting, besting unions in negotiations and improving productivity through employee involvement.
The firms conference on "How to Stay Union-Free Into the 21st Century" will be offered in 10 cities this year from January to June. "Learn how to win against the AFL-CIOs union yes campaign," bosses are told. "This dynamic, interactive seminar is designed to teach employers how to develop a union-free strategy in the face of successful new union organizing tactics and a new pro-union Labor Board," a promotional brochure claims.
Non-union employers are warned that their non-union status may not be safe as the labor movement throws "more money, more organizers, more power, more territory" into organizing. "Look out for the use of 1960s Civil Rights movement tactics, including civil disobedience, in support of organizing efforts."
Executive Enterprises promises employers that "power-building, confidence-building" role-playing exercises will prepare them "for anything and everything labor is ready to throw at you."
For companies already with dealing a union, Executive Enterprises warns "traditional bargaining techniques will not meet todays new management objectives." The firm offers "Corrective Bargaining: A pro-active and aggressive approach to collective bargaining." The seminar is designed to enable employers to overcome "new union leadership committed to being more aggressive at the bargaining table" and "a growing perception among rank and file employees that their employer cannot be trusted."
Employers will learn "How to prepare an operations contingency plan to eliminate the unions power in negotiations and ensure that the contract negotiations are successful."
Other topics include: "How to develop labor relations strategy for the months prior to negotiations;" "How to minimize the possibility of a strike and if a strike occurs, how to be prepared to win the strike; How companies manage aggressively during the term of a contract to increase their management rights and eliminate issues at the bargaining table; The impact of the team concept on negotiations; Your rights as an employer when employees are dissatisfied with their union representation."
The collective bargaining seminar will be offered in three locations Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago in March, April and May.
Executive Enterprises also presents "Improving Your Union/Management Relations," which promises to help unions develop strategies while at the same time giving employers suggestions on how to implement "self-directed and empowered work teams."
This seminar also covers topics like "utilizing mutual gains bargaining to solve key issues and problems at the bargaining table," "developing a totally integrated, coordinated joint process to effectively address safety and health issues," and "exploring elements for creating and sustaining workplace change." Participants will grasp the tools of Total Quality Management and learn how to transform contract negotiations into "a win/win situation."
"Improving Your Union/Management Relations" will be presented only twice, in June, in San Francisco and Chicago.
The "improving relations" seminar includes presentations by Six Sigma President Stephen Anderson, Clifford Oviatt Jr., Ron Schleder, a retired Rockwell International plant manager and local officers of major AFL-CIO unions.
Each seminar carries a considerable price tag, of course, although "How to Stay Union-Free" is $100 cheaper at $1,495 than "Improving Your Union/Management Relationships."
Union representatives are encouraged to attend the "lets all get along" seminar but they are noticeably absent from the guest list at the other two, where instructors are provided by the notorious unionbusting law firm of Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler and Krupman.
Only "bona fide management" representatives are eligible to attend the "How to Stay Union Free" seminar, where Jackson & Lewis detail how to exploit the weaknesses of the National Labor Relations Act and use employee participation schemes to thwart union organizing.
This seminar, say the promoters, "makes no pretense at being impartial. Take this opportunity to discover proven strategies others have used to successfully combat union organizing attempts."
The collective bargaining conference likewise doesnt bother with any pretense of impartiality and assures bosses that "Individuals affiliated with union organizations are not eligible for registration."
Appropriately, the "improving relations" seminar lacks the warning that "The discussion will be frank." A truly frank discussion at this seminar would reveal what is openly discussed at the other two the "team concept" and participation schemes are devices for weakening, undermining and preventing union organization.
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