If you have been reading the blog, we hope we have convinced you of the advantages of having an effective, problem solving Labor-Management Committee. The organization, union, and individual members benefit from cooperative teams. Customer service improves and grievances and other manifestations of traditional behaviors diminish.
An effective committee depends on the commitment of its members. An important key to building a cooperative committee is selecting the right people to serve. You need to have people on the committee who want to work in a collaborative manner. Some people believe the other side is responsible for everything wrong in the organization. They thrive on jabbing at the other side and engaging in an adversarial process. They may have a long history in the organization and been in leadership roles on their side, but they are not the right people for a cooperative committee.
The members of your LMC should be committed to working together to solve problems. They may not be part of the leadership structure, but want to be involved in improving the workplace.
Some other considerations for LMC membership are:
Be sure there is a clear understanding of who appoints LMC members – The more effective your committee becomes, the more people will be interested in becoming members. Everyone needs to know how they can be considered to join the team when vacancies exist. Each side selects its own members, but there needs to be a defined process for how appointments are made.
Have a clearly defined membership term – Members may be appointed for a set number of years, for the length of the current contract, the duration of the president’s term, or some other system. They need to know their term before they become members to prevent resentment when they are told they have to leave the committee. Having terms expire at different times also provides continuity to the team.
Decide whether members can be reappointed when their team ends – You may want members to continue, especially if they have been effective participants. The committee should determine whether this is permissible and the number of times members can be reappointed.
Have a new member orientation process – Before new members attend their first meeting, be certain they understand the history of the committee and its mission, ground rules, and boundaries. Be sure they know what the committee is working on as they join and what is expected of them as members. You should consider having the orientation done jointly by labor and management to demonstrate the commitment to cooperation.
Be certain committee members are representative of the organization – As much as possible, all departments, locations, and shifts should be represented by labor and management on the committee. The structure of the organization or the nature of the committee may not permit this, but the team should directly represent as much of the organization as possible.
These are just a few things to consider when selecting committee members. Let us know your ideas about membership selection and we will use them in a future blog.