Labor/management partnerships can be powerful tools. When they work, nothing is better. We can soar to new heights seeking work that is challenging and mutually rewarding.
Truth be told, not every labor/management partnership soars. Admittedly, our national organizations can do only so much to improve or repair local working relationships. The real work must be done at home where trust is built.
Sometimes you need a fresh perspective and new ideas. That’s why I’m inviting my fellow contractors and chapter executives to attend the 2018 Partners in Progress Conference next February in Orlando, Fla.
So, what happens when the labor/management partnership is weak?
- Both sides assume the worst about each other.
- Conversations are rarely productive.
- Grievances are filed over things that should have been easy to resolve.
- Training programs get stale and lag industry needs.
- Market recovery efforts lack mutual commitment.
- Actual industry issues such as prevailing wage and labor shortages get little joint attention.
The bottom line: Not having a strong labor/management partnership means lost opportunities for your business, your workforce, and the industry.
I am fortunate to be from an area with a long history of good communication and a solid partnership. Luckily, I haven’t known it any other way. What does that mean to my company?
First, employee education is a given. Thanks to SMACNA we have conducted joint sessions for foremen and project managers. Also, we have a Contractors School where for two days, contractors talk frankly with all local apprentices and share life skills, time management, business basics, personal finance, and even how to craft their own personal elevator speech.
So, mark your calendar for Feb. 13-14, 2018, when we’ll bring the best ideas and market opportunities to Orlando, Fla., to help take your labor/management partnership to a superior level. (Registration opens Sept. 5, 2017.)
I hope to see you and your labor partner there.