Natural Enemies

Lions and livestock.
Wolves and deer.
Snakes and a mongoose

All of these are examples of  animals that are natural enemies, where the kill is the only outcome.

Should labor and management be on this list?

We see and hear of too many examples where that is exactly how the sides treat each other. Each side blames the other for unemployment, declining wages, productivity issues, and other problems in the workplace. They attack the other side and approach each issue with one goal in mind – defeating the other side at all costs.

When this happens the conflict escalates. Solving problems becomes secondary to winning. Problems continue and worsen while the conflict continues.

While the ultimate goal is victory, the parties lose sight of a basic fact – the other side is not going away. When one side wins the battle of the day, the outcomes ripple through the workplace with negative results. The losing side becomes more interested in showing they are right while planning how to win the next time.

We waste time, resources, and careers fighting battles using methods that keep our organizations from growing.

Beyond just labor and management, we see the same battles happening other places in our lives. Did you watch the coverage of the health care arguments before the Supreme Court?  It is a win-lose game, as it has been from the beginning of the development of the health care act. Not only have the enemies been doing battle, the hyenas on the sidelines have been howling wildly. What has been lost throughout the process has been the more important question, “What is the best way to be certain Americans can afford quality health care?”

At CALMC, we work to help organizations move beyond the struggle between enemies. We help them work together, using the collective wisdom of everyone in the organization to make the work system stronger. We’ve seen it work to help companies retain and expand jobs and products. It’s not as easy as the fight between enemies, but the outcomes are much more satisfying.

About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at
This entry was posted in Employee Involvement, Job Retention, Labor-Management Cooperation. Bookmark the permalink.

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