We met this week with a labor-management committee we’ve written about in earlier posts. It’s a great example of a committee working in job preservation.
The labor members of this committee have jobs that could be threatened by increasing use of technology. The committee members recognize this and are working to find ways to redefine their jobs to increase their job security.
Labor members of the committee recognize the threat to their jobs, and are looking proactively at how to keep them. Management recognizes the concerns of labor and the desirability of maintaining its dedicated employees. Together, they are making progress in studying the tasks they perform and new areas in which they could work. This team has shown their ability to work together. Although the problem they face is difficult, their commitment can make them successful.
Did we mention this is a public sector committee?
In spite of the opinions one can form from the media, the union is not claiming the jobs cannot be eliminated or looking for a handout from taxpayers to keep them around. They are not demanding increases, lowered workloads, or that he jobs be kept even if the workload is diminished. The management is not ignoring workload or budgetary concerns, nor is it disregarding the concerns of its workers.
Both are acting responsibility with a goal of saving jobs by changing them to be more responsive to the needs of customers while increasing efficiency and productivity. If they are successful, the winners will be the agency, their employees, and the taxpayers.
That doesn’t fit the public employee stereotype, does it? It does reflect reality, public sector managers and employees working together to save money and improve efficiency. We’ve seen it in State government, cities, and other public entities. It does not match what some would have you believe, but if you assume public employees and their unions are only out for themselves, you are wrong.