WATCH The Power of Partnership
To better understand how labor-management partnerships work and how they are beneficial for both workers and employers.
Through labor-management partnerships, employers of all sizes work constructively with the unions that represent their employees to tackle important workplace issues that are often outside the framework of traditional collective bargaining. The Office of Labor-Management Standards’ Labor-Management Partnership Program (LMPP) highlights examples of, and demonstrates the importance of having, employers and workers joining together and working collaboratively to address complex organizational issues.
A labor-management partnership is a strategy used by labor and management, acting together, to jointly improve their workplace. Through an ongoing mutual commitment, labor-management partnerships serve as a collaborative effort to improve the labor-employer relationship, often by tackling complex issues not easily susceptible to solutions through traditional collective bargaining. These partnerships are designed to benefit the employer and its product or services while providing employees with an enhanced experience in the workplace.
Showcasing examples of labor-management partnerships through the LMPP and the Worker Organizing and Resource Knowledge (WORK) Center encourages employers and workers to jointly tackle difficult organizational challenges. Through this “it’s not always a zero-sum game” approach, organizations can improve performance, enhance the quality of their products or services, create a more collaborative and quality work experience, and increase organizational effectiveness. These objectives fit squarely inside the Department’s stated mission which is “to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” We support and highlight labor-management cooperation by partnering with other agencies at the U.S. Department of Labor, other U.S. Government agencies, the private sector, and the public at large to address workplace challenges.
Labor-management partnerships exist across all industries and sectors of our economy – healthcare, communications, manufacturing, construction, and transportation, just to name a few. We are building a network of stakeholders in the labor-management partnership community to further showcase the positive effects they have on the workforce. By publicizing and promoting these available resources, employers, unions, joint labor-management cooperatives, and other federal and state agencies can gain the knowledge to participate in, create, and maintain successful labor-management partnerships.
Darnice Marsh serves as the Labor-Management Partnership Coordinator for the Office of Labor-Management Standards’ Labor-Management Partnership Program at the United States Department of Labor. In that role, she leads agency-wide efforts to foster and develop cooperative labor-management programs that promote the benefits of collective bargaining relationships and demonstrate the economic benefits to all Americans that can be achieved when workers have a meaningful, equitable, and consequential voice in the workplace. Darnice is an expert in coalition building, maintaining relationships, and bringing workers and employers together to jointly address organizational challenges, improve performance and enhance job quality. Prior to joining the Department of Labor, she held both union and management positions within the public and private sectors of employment. Darnice received her BS and MS from Old Dominion University and MBA from Saint Leo University.
Across the country, workers and employers are joining together to improve the benefits, working conditions, and safety measures that employees experience daily. Through a series of blog posts, we cover a variety of topics from highlighting successful labor-management partnerships to taking a holistic look at labor relations in the modern American economy. Make sure you subscribe to receive content related to labor-management cooperation.
The Worker Organizing Resource and Knowledge (WORK) Center provides information about unions, organizing, and collective bargaining, all of which are important tools for workers that help support the Department of Labor’s mission to protect workers. This online resource center is a one-stop shop for employers and workers to access information on labor-management partnerships, unions, collective bargaining, and more. For more information and updates on the WORK Center sign up for Organizing at WORK, a newsletter featuring our latest resources.
The WORK Center collects and highlights stories of labor-management partnerships. These stories exhibit how labor-management partnerships can benefit your business, and through our platform, demonstrate how employers working with labor improves outcomes for organizations, its workers, and the customers they serve.
Have a story? You’re invited to share your story through the collection forms. We would love to hear from you!
Any links to non-federal websites on this page provide additional Information that is consistent with the intended purpose of this federal site. But linking to such sites does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Labor of the information or of the organization providing the information. For more information, please visit https://www.dol.gov/general/disclaim.
U.S. Department of Labor links:
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Labor Partnerships Toolkit
SBA releases a first-of-its-kind guide for small businesses on worker organizing and employer responsibilities Labor partnerships and worker organizing.
- Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS)
An independent federal agency that helps American businesses and labor build successful Labor-Management Partnerships. FMCS offers no-cost mediation, training, and other resources for unions and businesses to build or restore cooperative partnerships.
- Federal Labor Relations Authority’s Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Office
Helps build cooperative labor-management relationships throughout the federal government.
- Labor and Employment Relations Authority (LERA)
Provides a unique forum where the views of representatives of labor, management, government and academics, advocates and neutrals are welcome.
- Labor Center, University of California, Berkeley
Conducts research and education on issues related to labor and employment, job quality, and workforce development issues.
- Pennsylvania State University's Healthcare Labor-Management Partnership Program
Provides training, research, and consulting to healthcare systems and healthcare unions interested in building or improving labor-management partnerships.
Last Updated: 8-09-23