Original Date: 02/24/1997
Revision Date: 04/14/2003
Information : Labor Relations
There are 65 separate labor bargaining units throughout the Army Industrial Operations Command (IOC). Since 1995, IOC has been encouraging its installations to adopt a new process, Partnership Councils, to improve communication between labor and management. Prior to this process, relations between labor and management at most installations were generally adversarial. Negotiations concerning any prospective changes in work rules or conditions were usually conducted in a climate of conflict and distrust. The Partnership Council process was developed to provide an effective way for management and unions to work together. The impetus for Partnership Councils came from the National Performance Review which encourages partnerships between management and unions.
Partnership Councils are comprised of representatives from the union, or unions, and management. They meet to jointly consider and approve or disapprove changes to employee working conditions. The process facilitates communication and gives each side an equal share in reaching an appropriate decision. Unlike the adversarial setting for negotiations, this approach is effective because it facilitates buy-in and ownership of the outcome by both management and labor. Changes in work rules using this process are usually much easier to obtain and implement. Avoiding negotiations, mediation, arbitration, and labor rulings saves time and money.
Many installations in the IOC have adopted Partnership Councils and have achieved significant improvement in labor relations. In 1995, the Red River Army Depot in Texas received the President's National Partnership Award. Letterkenny Army Depot and Tobyhanna Army Depot were runners-up for the award that year. Installations using this process have learned that labor-management partnerships can be very effective if both parties are committed to the process.
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