Solving Labor-Management Problems On Our Own

Labor-management disagreements often end up in courts or before arbitrators. While these processes are supposed to provide fair, impartial solutions, things don’t always turn out that way.

I believe any resolution that can be achieved by the parties is likely to be preferable to one imposed from the outside. We can live with consensus-based decisions about our disputes, while those given by outside parties may be influenced by their own biases, political views, lack of understanding, or a need to maintain an appearance of impartiality.

Labor-Management Committees provide the parties an opportunity to resolve problems. They can gather information and determine appropriate remedies based on their understanding of the workplace and the interests of the parties. The team can implement their decisions and monitor their effectiveness. Modifications can be made in the solutions if necessary, unlike the binding decisions provided by outsiders.

I recently read an article from the April 2, 2013 Harvard Law School Program on Negotiations, Negotiate, Don’t Litigate. The article cites the dangers inherent in using the courts to resolve disputes, concluding, “When you or your organization is embroiled in a dispute, how can you avoid the possibility of an erroneous but binding court decision? Negotiate instead!”

The article recommends the same process CALMC does, Interest-Based Problem Solving.  They note that doing so “allows the parties to focus on the underlying interests, both financial and nonfinancial, that have motivated you and your counterpart to pursue the dispute.” We also concur with the article when they note, “Most judges are honest people who strive to reach fair decisions. To say they misjudge is to say they are human – that their decision-making, like all of ours, is imperfect.

“But because judicial decisions carry so much weight, the research on misjudging offers a sound reason to negotiate, rather than litigate, whenever possible.”

We could not agree more. (It’s always nice to agree with the people at Harvard.) The interest-based process enables us to engage employees to find the best possible solutions through a cooperative labor-management process. We can develop solutions for the benefit of everyone.

You can read the entire article at

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 Engagement, Employee Involvement, Labor-Management Committees, Labor-Management Cooperation, Problem Solving, Teamwork and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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