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Factors promoting and hindering collaboration in labor-management relations

Dissertation
Author: Francis G. Lamagna
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to further the understanding of labor-management relations and the conditions necessary to achieve a collaborative environment. These issues were examined from both the lenses of labor and management. The focus of the research was to better understand the factors that promote and inhibit a collaborative relationship between labor and management in an effort to promote collaboration between the two groups. Personnel from labor and management in an educational setting were invited to tell stories of their experiences in labor-management relations and reflect on the factors that had both promoted and inhibited movement toward collaboration. A qualitative thematic analysis incorporating in-depth telephone interviews was used in this study. Results of the study indicated adversarial conditions are still prominent in labor-management relations. Participants cited trust, open communication, and sharing information as foundational ingredients to support an amicable relationship. Analysis of the findings revealed the data pointed to three primary areas: descriptions of the labor-management relationship, barriers to collaboration, and facilitators of collaboration. Although many of the participants cited their relationship as adversarial, the potential outcome to move to a relationship of collaboration indicated this was plausible due to their long-standing association in that they were willing to work toward a relationship which yielded benefits for labor and management. Developing an on-going labor-management forum for an exchange of information and ideas is one way to address concerns about collaboration. Discussing these concerns begins the process of dialogue. Through dialogue participants engage in open communication addressing topics of trust, sharing information, and mutual respect. Recommendations are presented for labor and management personnel, the organizations they work in, and for further research.

Table of Contents List of Tables.....................................................................................................................vi CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION........................................................................................1 Researcher’s Background in Labor and Management.........................................................3 Statement of the Problem.....................................................................................................7 Purpose of the Study............................................................................................................8 Significance of the Study...................................................................................................10 Research Questions............................................................................................................10 Methodology......................................................................................................................11 Assumptions.......................................................................................................................11 Definition of Terms............................................................................................................12 Organization of the Remainder of the Paper......................................................................12 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW...........................................................................14 Background........................................................................................................................14 A Brief Overview of Labor’s Interaction with Owners and Management........................18 The National Labor Union...............................................................................18 The Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor........................................20 The Molly Maguires........................................................................................22 The United Mine Workers...............................................................................24 The Industrial Workers of the World...............................................................27 The International Association of Machinists...................................................30 The National Education Association...............................................................32 The American Federation of Teachers.............................................................34 The New York State Teachers Association.....................................................35 The United Federation of Teachers..................................................................36 Summary..........................................................................................................38 Industrial Era Management Theorists................................................................................39 Conditions Building and Cultivating Trust between Labor and Management..................43 Saturn and the United Auto Workers...............................................................48 Harley Davidson and the IAM and PACE.......................................................51 Yale and the GESO, HERE, and the SEIU......................................................55 Southwest Airlines and the IBT, IAM, TWU, SAEA, and SAPA...................57 The Dynamic of Collaboration..........................................................................................61 Collaborative Work Systems.............................................................................................63 Barriers to Collaboration....................................................................................................76 Changing Corporate Culture..............................................................................................78 Summary............................................................................................................................82 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................84 Research Design.................................................................................................................84 Delimitations......................................................................................................................85 Limitations.........................................................................................................................86 Interview Process...............................................................................................................88 Participant Group Size.....................................................................................88

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Research Selection Criteria and Procedures....................................................89 Confidentiality and Consent Procedures..........................................................91 Interview Procedures.........................................................................................................92 Design..............................................................................................................92 Administration.................................................................................................94 Data Analysis...................................................................................................96 Validity and Reliability....................................................................................97 Summary............................................................................................................................97 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS...................................................................................................99 Descriptions of the Current Labor-Management Relationship........................................100 Barriers to Collaboration..................................................................................................109 Facilitators of Collaboration............................................................................................114 Summary..........................................................................................................................118 CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION...........................................................................................121 Discussion of Key Findings.............................................................................................121 Current Level of Trust between Labor and Management..............................121 Barriers to Collaboration and Trust...............................................................124 Fostering Collaboration and Trust between Labor and Management............128 Recommendations for Creating Conditions for Collaboration........................................131 Open Communication....................................................................................131 Teamwork......................................................................................................133 Trust...............................................................................................................136 Mutual Respect..............................................................................................136 Directions for Additional Research.................................................................................138 Summary..........................................................................................................................139 REFERENCES................................................................................................................141 Appendix A: Letter of Confirmation to Interview Participants.......................................150 Appendix B: Consent to Participate in Research.............................................................151 Appendix C: Interview Script..........................................................................................154

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List of Tables Table 1: Current Relationship......................................................................................102 Table 2: Changes in Trust and Collaboration..............................................................105 Table 3: Ideal Management-Labor Relationship..........................................................107 Table 4: Barriers to Collaboration................................................................................111 Table 5: Facilitators of Collaboration..........................................................................115

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Chapter 1: Introduction This dissertation presents a qualitative thematic analysis research study that explores the quandary of labor-management relations with the objective of understanding what conditions need to be present to move from a historically adversarial relationship to one of collaboration and trust. Considering labor had no rights at all in labor-management relations during the late 1800s, historical interactions between laborers, managers, unions, organizations, teachers, and administrators have been wrought with turbulence and, at times, bloodshed. An us versus them approach has characterized this relationship. While Industrial Era management ruled with fear and intimidation, labor leaders utilized strikes, boycotts, and collective bargaining to assert the interests of common workers. It was in this arena of labor-management relations that strike-makers and strike-breakers became more entrenched in their respective ideologies (Lens, 1985). The relations between the common worker and the business titan, forged during this era of unrest, are also embedded in the labor-management relations found in current work environments. Gompers (1920) stated: The National Association of Manufacturers was organized in 1885 to promote trade, commerce and markets, and to eliminate restrictions and barriers; but not until 1900 or 1901 did it adopt its policy of extreme hostility to organized labor under the domination of David M. Parry, who had been elected president. Immediately the organization was diverted to a union-crushing institution. Finding unionism too strongly established in the economic field, the effort to destroy it was carried over into the legislative, judicial, and political. As was indicated in the beginning, big business has depended upon political favors for advantages rather than upon its own superior ability. Big business was made by politics and has always been in politics. Big business owns most of the political bosses, hence the right to dispose of political favors is a natural result. (p. 51)

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Early unions emerged in response to workers’ sense that their interests deserved both consideration and effective presentation in light of growing employer demands and profits. Laborers traditionally fought management in an effort to make life easier for their families. Many thought unionism was the device necessary to battle business owners to gain a more equal footing in labor-management relations. Throughout the 1900s labor experienced gains and setbacks in dealing with management. Unions were the vehicle driving forward the workplace equality laborers sought. Today’s competitive workplace presents similar workplace demands, but the efficacy of workplace equality has become the purview of both unions and organizations that face an uncertain future armed with histories that have conditioned both to approach the labor-management relationship as adversaries. Today’s marketplace demands that an organization’s workforce compete globally during times of lean manufacturing, just-in- time management, one-piece flow lines, and zero inventory. This competitive pressure creates an enormous psychological strain on employees left in the wake of down-sizing, restructuring, and reorganizing. Management and union cooperation is critical to ensure organizations are competitive globally. This research addresses an important question of how organizations and unions might undertake steps necessary to improve that collaboration. Recent collaborative examples do exist. Saturn, for example, forged a new relationship with labor by making the United Auto Workers’ union a full partner in its Spring Hills, Tennessee plant adopting a consensus decision-making process (Guilford, 2004; Guzda, 1993; LaBar, 1994). Harley Davidson developed a joint vision process with the idea of involving labor and management in teams to decide the future of the company (Teerlink

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& Ozley, 2000). John Pepper of Yale University quickly involved the unions representing Yale workers when the university wanted to out-source work, which eventually led to the implementation of a best practices initiative (Anand, 2006). This new practice essentially involved workers affected by strategic out-sourcing (Conniff, 2005; Yale Practice, 2009). Southwest Airlines promulgated the ideal to involve the employee with respect to shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect (Gittell, 2003). Unions have as much at stake as organizations because their survival depends upon their ability to protect the jobs of American workers. Is it possible for labor and management to work collaboratively while maintaining their identities? Achieving an amenable commitment is required from both sides. Management will have to embrace labor as a partner instead of an adversary; labor will have to change from being reactive and negative to a proactive and positive force for collaboration. Researcher’s Background in Labor and Management As a labor leader for 14 years who recently made the transition to management, the researcher has first-hand experience with several negotiations between labor and management, including one which resulted in a sanctioned strike by union members. The following is the account of my tenure as a labor leader and brief time as an organizational manager. It in no way represents an official account of union or of management views pertaining to industrial labor relations. It is merely my opinions and observations. Prior to becoming a member of management, I was a labor leader. For nine years I was actively involved as a shop steward and, for five years, as vice-president of the local lodge of a major international union representing workers in the aerospace industry. Both labor positions were acquired through membership elections. My primary

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responsibility was representing the membership at a large manufacturing facility in the Northeast. When employees could not or refused to bring up situations with their immediate supervisors, many utilized union representation in the grievance procedure. Situations occurred when an employee did not feel comfortable bringing up a complaint with his or her immediate supervisor because, often, the complaint involved the supervisor, and the employee believed the situation would not be dealt with fairly. For this reason alone, it was necessary to acquire the services of a shop steward to act as the voice of the employee. In my role as shop steward it was important to gather information from the employee concerning the situation. Once this was completed I would interview the supervisor to obtain his or her side of the story. Often the two sides presented opposing scenarios and, somewhere in between, the truth emerged. At this point I would analyze each interview and attempt to determine which individual, the employee or the supervisor, appeared to have more credibility concerning the grievance. Situations arose periodically in the grievance procedure where I was unable to develop an amenable solution with the supervisor. In such situations, the grievance had to be moved to the next step in the procedure. Generally, this step involved the employee, the steward, the employee’s supervisor, and the supervisor’s immediate manager. The advantage of taking this step was that it brought a new viewpoint from the manager, who was more removed from the original situation. This led me to consider that collaborative efforts between labor and management were plausible. In my role as vice president, grievances previously brought forward by a shop steward were often quickly resolved through direct communication with management.

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This was particularly successful when I was able to provide reference to past practice or previously resolved grievances similar in nature to the one at hand. As vice-president I experienced conditions conducive to an amenable working relationship with middle management, as well as with first line supervision to resolve most situations in a fraction of the time that it would have taken to resolve a formal grievance between a shop steward and a supervisor. Although many situations can be resolved between a vice president and a middle manager, some cases need to follow the steps outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. This is intended to protect the member and the union and is compliant with the duty of fair representation. If all union procedures are followed, the union member is assured of the best possible outcome. In my role as a labor leader I observed that distrust between the leaders of the local union lodge and the organization was evident in the workplace. Some of this distrust stemmed from a strike in the 1960s (Nagy, Remez, & Moran, 2001), when the workforce was divided between union and non-union workers concerning working conditions and wages within the machine shop. Union members attempted to coerce non- union workers to join the union. Although wage increases and a safer workplace were gains in this strike, unifying the workforce as union members was not. The laborers and managers of the 1960 strike are all but gone from the workforce; however, the legacy of the strike remains. For example, employees who crossed the picket line were forever ostracized, and the sentiments that resulted from the strike are deeply embedded. In 1993, the company urged the union and the government of the State of Connecticut to concede approximately $30 million each or the company would move its

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operations out of the state. The state government offered tax incentives in the requested amount. Members of the union voted to give back wages in the amount of approximately $30 million as well. In return for the wage cuts, the union demanded a workplace guarantee. The result was an addendum to the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), known as Letter 22, Workplace Guarantees. The company decided to move work out of the state in 2000 to the Midwest region of the United States to non-union facilities. The union filed a lawsuit against the company, stating that the company made no effort to preserve this work within the state, pursuant to Letter 22 of the CBA. The company also planned on reducing the workforce through involuntary layoffs. The judge’s decision (United States District Court, District of Connecticut, 2000) was in favor of the union, which prevented the company from transferring work to non-union facilities or out of the state. Per the court’s decree, the company had to return the work back to the Connecticut facility. During the 2001 negotiations, the company wanted to dismantle Letter 22 of the contract, which guaranteed that specific work be done by workers, as per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The company stipulated that Letter 22 violations could not be arbitrated, brought up as a grievance, or filed in court. When the union workers went out on strike in December 2001, it was a plea for job security and union viability. In my role as quality manager, I am now responsible for the hourly workforce that I was part of as a union member and with which I was involved during my tenure as a labor leader for 14 years. During the strike in 2001, some of the hourly employees crossed the picket lines. Some of these hourly workers are now part of a workgroup that I supervise. These individuals may have experienced some apprehension when I became

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the quality assurance manager of this workgroup. They may have wondered whether I would treat them with the same equality and fairness as those employees who did not cross the picket line. This would normally be part of the transition from labor leader to quality manager, both for the manager and the hourly workforce. The hourly workforce would step back and observe my leadership style and would form an opinion as to my effectiveness. They would decide whether to work collaboratively with me or to relegate the relationship to that of adversaries. After approximately four years as quality manager, the hourly workforce has come to recognize that my goal is to foster a collaborative environment, a goal that I held even before taking this position. Whether we are labor leaders or organizational managers, the betterment of the workforce, as well as benefits to the customer, should be our focus. Statement of the Problem The adversarial roles assumed by labor and management have long-limited their ability to foster trust between them. Inherent mistrust between labor and management impedes each from viewing the other as anything other than adversaries, reducing the relationship to one of us vs. them. The prospects for an equal work environment wane as labor and management attempt to one-up or control each other, and trust is likewise abandoned. Greater trust in the workplace can create more opportunities to repair relationships and address both new and long-standing issues. Shaw (1997) posited that trust is a positive resource in developing collaborative relationships. A collaborative relationship helps the organization stay focused on their mission as it supports

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management and employees in working toward a common purpose. Shifting from an adversarial relationship to a more collaborative relationship requires labor and management to abandon past relationships and begin forging a new relationship based on trust. Schachat (2003) stated, “a low trust organization takes its toll eventually, leading to dysfunctional behavior, negativity, and a spiraling decline of trust throughout the organization” (p. 61). This behavior is one of blaming the other for inherent problems in the workplace. Shifting behaviors should include a commitment from all levels of labor and management to foster collaboration and trust. In organizations where mistrust is evident may indicate that unions are still needed to ensure labor is able to bargain effectively to maintain equilibrium with management. Southern (2005) posited: Fear and powerlessness fuel blame and breakdown relationships. When this culture takes hold, open communication, truthfulness, and trust cease to exist. A culture of blame results in a suspicion of intent. Even though other people may be doing their best and doing what they believe is right, their actions may cause others to believe that they do not have the best interests of the organization in mind. As distrust grows, people begin to take more independent and defensive action, thus reinforcing and continuing to damage relationships, inhibit collaboration, and erode organization potential. (p. 42-43)

Therefore, improving relations with each other begins with a commitment to forge new ground in labor-management relations. Building a collaborative relationship requires a paradigm shift in beliefs that encompasses increased effective communication and a willingness to step out of the box, that is, a willingness to play a part in risk-taking. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to explore a current relationship in a union environment, determine the level of cooperation existent between labor and management, and discover ways to promote collaboration between these two groups. That is, through the interview process, themes emerged to provide the researcher with a better

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understanding of their stories and how labor and management relate to each other. The interview process was a conversation between the researcher and participants about a theme of mutual interest in labor-management relations where knowledge evolved through dialogue. The research focused on the concept of cooperation or lack thereof in the context of an organizational work environment and what it meant to the participants to interact with each other on a daily basis. Teachers and administrators familiar with negotiations were recruited to participate based on their interactions with each other in a labor relations arena meaning that the participants were able to provide relevant data. A semi-structured interview was utilized in this study which allowed the researcher to guide the interview conversation according to a desired set of topics while offering the participant the freedom to respond and illustrate concepts. Interview questions were constructed to capture the factors that either promote or hinder collaboration between labor and management and assess the provided insight into the conditions necessary to achieve a collaborative labor-management relationship through the lenses of both labor and management. The concept of trust and cooperation was active in some labor-management relationships, but labor and management as entities may be unsure how to proceed in developing it further. This study examined beliefs and assumptions of labor and management to determine the level of cooperation between them and their willingness to move toward collaboration. Working at the level of beliefs and assumptions holds the potential for transforming relationships and patterns of behavior. The research provided a starting point and new approach to promote collaboration at the research organization.

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Significance of the Study This study was important because it examined beliefs and assumptions in organizations in order to determine patterns of behavior and communication that promote trust between labor and management, as well as to determine those that hindered it. Both organizations and unions can benefit from understanding the factors that contribute to adversarial relationships and the conditions that support collaboration. This study was significant to the study site as it allowed labor and management to examine their beliefs and assumptions concerning their working relationship. This may also assist labor and management in assessing their individual beliefs and assumptions and their beliefs and assumption about each other. Research Questions The research questions were developed from two different perspectives. The first perspective was developed during a period when the researcher was a labor leader, serving as a shop steward for nine years and as vice president for five years of a local lodge comprised of 2,400 workers and affiliated with a major international union. My role as labor leader provided me with insight of managers’ perceptions of workers and, conversely, employees’ perceptions of managers. The second perspective was developed during the recent transition of the researcher from a labor leader to a manager. The research was to focus on the factors that either promote or hinder collaboration between labor and management. With this in mind, the following research questions were developed: 1. What is the current perception of trust concerning collaborative relationships between labor and management?

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2. What are the beliefs and assumptions that exist among labor and management that promote or hinder trust? 3. What would foster collaboration between labor and management? Methodology This study employed a qualitative thematic analysis research methodology. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with teachers and administrators based on their interactions with each other in a labor relations arena. The site selected for this research project was an elementary school with levels ranging from kindergarten through the sixth grade. This site was chosen due to the uniqueness of having long-term, continual relationships between teachers (labor) and administrators (management) of twenty to thirty years. It was also unique in the labor relations arena in that teachers were unable to utilize the threat of strikes as a bargaining ploy during negotiations. Teachers and administrators involved in the negotiation process were invited to participate in the research. Approximately two-thirds of the interview participant group was comprised of labor employees and the remaining third was comprised of management employees. Interviewees who had a daily interaction with labor-management relations were assumed to have a good working knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement and have a general overall knowledge of industrial relations in a union setting. Every effort was made to assemble a participant group that represented a range of tenure. Assumptions It was assumed that labor and management prefer to work collaboratively for the betterment of the worker rather than relate as adversaries. The ability of labor and

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management to work collaboratively may result in benefits to the worker and to the organization. Definition of Terms Collaboration is a cooperation of efforts between perceived adversaries (i.e., labor and management). It is the understanding between labor and management to forge new ground in labor-management relations to improve the working relationship. It is a desire to work jointly to address issues between labor and management. Cooperation is a joint effort between labor and management for the betterment of the worker. Cooperation is a common effort between labor and management to agree on a certain course of action to improve the relationship between them. Labor refers to the employees governed by a collective bargaining agreement under representation by a labor union. Management is the personnel responsible for the working conditions in the workplace and the activities of the workforce. Trust is a belief in honesty or reliability in one’s ability to separate right from wrong. It is the acceptance of allowing one’s action to affect others. It is the willingness to accept the influence of one individual over another. Organization of the Remainder of the Paper This chapter provided an introduction to and overview of the dissertation. The second chapter contains a review of the literature, which provided a brief history of American unions from the 1880s to the present, including labor-management relations. Prominent labor leaders are featured, along with Industrial Era and Post Industrial Era theorists of labor-management relations. Conditions creating or inhibiting trust in the

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workplace is examined through psychological models of mistrust in the workplace and through examples of trust between labor and management. The third chapter, Methodology, concerns the semi-structured interviews and the process involved in the data analysis. The dissertation’s fourth chapter, Results, provides the findings of the semi-structured interviews in respect to the barriers and facilitators to collaboration. The final chapter, Discussion, offers discussion of the key findings to the current level of trust between labor and management, along with factors that foster or hinder collaboration between the two. Labor and management both agree that developing open communication would enhance the ideal of collaboration in the workplace. The final chapter also provided recommendations and direction for additional research in that it would be beneficial to explore further the perceived beliefs and assumptions of the roles labor and management play in their relationship.

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Chapter 2: Literature Review This chapter reviews the literature relevant to labor-management relations beginning in the late 1800s through the Industrial Era. This chapter is organized into four general categories. First, a brief overview is presented of pertinent research literature relating to the plight of unions and their labor leaders while forging new ground in the arena of labor-management relations. This section highlights prominent issues and tragedies taking place during this era. It also depicts the struggles of labor and its leaders. The second section considers conditions creating or inhibiting trust in the workplace. The third section reviews trust and collaboration in the workplace. Several examples of organizations and unions achieving varying degrees of mutual trust and collaboration are highlighted. Finally, current research on collaborative work systems reviewed transitions from teamwork to collaboration. Background Employers had required workers to labor in the coal mines, machine shops, textile mills, and rail yards for extended hours under adverse conditions. Early labor leaders utilized political and economic means to advance the rise of unions during the Industrial Era in order to provide workers relief from employers who exhibited little regard for worker welfare. Unions sought workplace equality. Workers wanted a voice in what happened in their workplaces, and unions envisioned a workplace in which employees would be involved in the decisions that affected their jobs and personal welfare. Among their earliest causes was that of workday length.

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Demands made to Congress by the National Labor Union and the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor (Dubofsky & Dulles, 2004; Gompers, 1920; Green, 2006; Lens, 1973) for the eight-hour day were an early indication that labor and management viewed workplace issues differently. Adopting a less judicious approach, The Molly Maguires practiced intimidation of managers whose demands for increased workdays and coal production were unreasonable. In response to workplace harassment, the Molly Maguires physically harmed managers or supervisors who doled out that harassment, and in some cases, their beatings were fatal (Broehl, 1965; Dubofsky & Dulles, 2004; Lens, 1973). This secret organization gained notoriety after mine operators unilaterally cut wages below their negotiated rates. Trust or the lack of trust between labor and management appeared to center on the degree of equality perceived by employees in their workplaces. Workers sought input regarding daily workplace operations, as well as a measure of control over the futures those workplaces ensured. Chief among their concerns were safe working conditions, wages, health benefits, vacations, and pensions. The judicial actions of Commissioner Frank P. Walsh during his tenure of the United States Commission on Industrial Relations brought to light the imbalance of wealth between labor and the corporate hierarchy. Over 700 witnesses testified during the 1913-1915 hearings, presenting conflicts between labor and management. According to McCartin (1997) What the commission found was shocking. Only 2 percent of the nation owned 60 percent of its wealth. Sixty-five percent of the population owned but 2 percent of the wealth. And while one-third of the nation’s laborers took home less than ten dollars per week and most toilers in basic industries were jobless for more than two months each year, employers regularly used private detectives, spies, and blacklists to prevent workers from organizing. (pp. 24-25)

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Gompers (1920) also recognized the disparity in democracy in the workplace; he stated: Two codes of rules and regulations affect the workers; the law upon the statute books, and the rules within the industry. The first determines their relationship as citizens to all other citizens and to property. The second largely determines the relationship of employer and employee, the terms of employment, the conditions of labor, and the rules and regulations affecting the workers as employees. The first is secured through the application of the methods of democracy in the enactment of legislation, and is based upon the principle that the laws which govern a free people should exist only with their consent. The second, except where effective trade unionism exists, is established by the arbitrary or autocratic whim, desire or opinion of the employer and is based upon the principle that industry and commerce cannot be successfully conducted unless the employer exercises the unquestioned right to establish such rules, regulations and provisions affecting the employee as self-interest prompts. (p. 304) The disparity between labor and management continued into the 1920s and 1930s and was seen in the many strikes that found management emerging victorious. Lens (1985) depicted this era as one riddled with bloodshed: America was ablaze in class warfare those first few years of Roosevelt’s New Deal-and strikers paid a fearsome price for it. From August through October 1933, fifteen strikers were killed on the picket lines. (Another forty suffered the same fate in 1934, and forty-eight more in the next two years.) From mid-1933 to the end of 1934, troops were called out to quell strikes in sixteen of the forty-eight states. Eighteen thousand strikers were arrested from 1934 to 1936, and no one knows how many were injured. (p. 127) However, the tide began turning in favor of organized labor in the 1930s. Major strikes in 1934 were won by the longshoremen on the docks of San Francisco, who eventually established union recognition and a 30-hour week. The United Auto Workers gained prominence when workers in a Toledo auto plant stood up to management and the United States government in an effort to gain union recognition and a wage increase. In 1934, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters became a significant force in the transportation industry during the battle of Deputies Run (Lens, 1985). The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was formed as an alliance of national and international unions to take a practical approach to the reform of labor-related issues

Full document contains 165 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to further the understanding of labor-management relations and the conditions necessary to achieve a collaborative environment. These issues were examined from both the lenses of labor and management. The focus of the research was to better understand the factors that promote and inhibit a collaborative relationship between labor and management in an effort to promote collaboration between the two groups. Personnel from labor and management in an educational setting were invited to tell stories of their experiences in labor-management relations and reflect on the factors that had both promoted and inhibited movement toward collaboration. A qualitative thematic analysis incorporating in-depth telephone interviews was used in this study. Results of the study indicated adversarial conditions are still prominent in labor-management relations. Participants cited trust, open communication, and sharing information as foundational ingredients to support an amicable relationship. Analysis of the findings revealed the data pointed to three primary areas: descriptions of the labor-management relationship, barriers to collaboration, and facilitators of collaboration. Although many of the participants cited their relationship as adversarial, the potential outcome to move to a relationship of collaboration indicated this was plausible due to their long-standing association in that they were willing to work toward a relationship which yielded benefits for labor and management. Developing an on-going labor-management forum for an exchange of information and ideas is one way to address concerns about collaboration. Discussing these concerns begins the process of dialogue. Through dialogue participants engage in open communication addressing topics of trust, sharing information, and mutual respect. Recommendations are presented for labor and management personnel, the organizations they work in, and for further research.