The Lifecycle of Labor Relations: It’s All About Relationships

By Sue Weiler-Doke, Director – Industrial Relations North

really the heart and soul of successful Industrial Relations. Labor Relations is a multi-dimen-


sional model that includes relations, negotiations, interpretation, and governance, but the key behind all successful labor relations is relation- ships. Tese relationships build trust – trust between management and labor as well as trust between management contractors. Trust between management and

labor allows the two sides to come together for the good of the industry. Negotiations can include a “working together attitude” to benefit both the employers and the union members. Interpretation of the master labor agreements can be discussed openly to find resolution before a matter has to go to the formal grievance process. Governance of trust funds and fiduciary responsibility can be

abor Relations is the major component of strong Industrial Relations. Good labor relations is

discussed and debated through lively conversation rather than adversarial discourse. All of this is accomplished through the cultivation and mainte- nance of relationships. Contractors, too, benefit from

the relationships made with other contractor members. Te peer-to-peer connection that is made by being a member of the negotiating craft committee, a board of adjustment panel member for a grievance hearing, or a trustee on one or several trust funds, can prove invaluable. Tese connec- tions foster goodwill and provide for a growing network of professionals that can be called upon for expert advice, legislative support, and industry knowledge. Te Union Contractors’ Council

(UCC) of Northern California will be spending time at each of the UCC meetings in 2017 diving into each of the four sectors of Labor Relations. Te January meeting kicked off part 1 of this 4-part educational series with Bill Koponen of Syblon Reid and Chair of the Northern California Laborers Craft Committee leading a lively

discussion. One topic of the discussion was about ways to enhance relation- ships through regularly scheduled Labor/Management meetings, State of the Industry conferences, and holiday mixers. Each of these provides an opportunity to stay in touch with industry needs, union concerns, and contractor questions. Building effective relationships is

both deliberate and intentional. An appropriate amount of time must be dedicated to fostering a relationships’ growth or it will not thrive. Decide that it is worth the effort. Commit to dedicating the time. Succeed in growing relationships that are great for everyone involved. When you are ready to get involved

please contact Sue Weiler-Doke for more information. For more information about AGC’s

Industrial Relations services, please visit our website at industrial relations/ or contact the IR Department South at (626) 608-5800 or North at (925) 827-2422. 

The 6th

annual AGC/Northern California Laborers State of the Industry meeting was a big success with more than 60 attendees from labor

and management gathered to discuss key issues. The meeting was one of several that AGC’s Northern and Southern IR Departments have held with Labor organizations recently to advance those relationships, including the AGC/Operating Engineers Local 3 Annual Holiday Mixer and the AGC/Northern California Cement Masons first annual State of the Industry meeting last fall, among others. Associated General Contractors of California 21

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