ADR In a Unionized Workplace?

Many unionized employers and collective bargaining representatives have observed that traditional methods of dispute resolution between workers and management yield questionable results.

The most common dispute resolution system in a unionized workplace is the grievance procedure. Collective agreement grievance procedures usually consist of a party filing a grievance and following it through the specified procedure. Typically, the facts of the grievance are reviewed and a decision is made on the issue in question. Often, that decision is challenged at subsequent stages under the grievance procedure and failing a resolution, the grievance may be referred to mediation, arbitration or even the courts.

The most common complaints we see under grievance procedures are:

One solution that solves all the above complaints is to set up an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) system alongside the grievance procedure. An ADR system does not take the place of a grievance procedure, collective bargaining or health and safety committees etc. However, an ADR system can resolve a great number of issues that crop up from day to day in any workplace before they need to be filed as a grievance.

Human resource departments report that a large number of items that seriously affect morale and cannot easily fit within the grievance procedure are subject to negotiation on the daily basis between staff and management. For example decisions are often required concerning relationships between employees, training issues, working conditions, workplace morale, installation of new equipment, mergers and acquisitions or downsizing.

An ADR system can easily and inexpensively be established to provide a forum for all of the issues that arise in the workplace which are normally outside the jurisdiction of the grievance procedure or the health and safety committee. ADR systems are particularly valuable in growing, businesses for resolution of staff issues in a consistent manner and to reduce management time spent on those issues.

The Emerald Group can provide training to businesses of any size. This training enables the staff of the business to start and maintain an ADR system that operates along side any collective agreement or grievance procedure.

The Emerald Group will provide trainers with years of business experience who will work with union and management staff to set up an ADR system that is both functional, fair, productive and self-sustaining. The Emerald Group is also available to work with existing or new ADR systems as a facilitator until the business is able to maintain the ADR system alone.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) in your workplace.