Collective bargaining and other labor-management partnerships enable businesses of all sizes to work with their employees’ unions to address job training, safety and health, technology and other key issues. Learn more about the benefits of labor-management collaboration, and how successful labor-management partnerships help workers and employers.
In this photo, former Secretary Walsh and Acting Secretary Su met with truckers, the Teamsters union, trucking companies and port officials at the Port of Los Angeles about the benefits of having a collective bargaining relationship between truck drivers and employers at the port.
A Labor-Management Partnership allows both parties to strategically work together to improve their workplace. With an ongoing mutual commitment, a LMP collaboratively improves the labor-management relationship and can benefit the employer and their product or services while employees’ workplace experience is enhanced.
Read more about how labor-management partnerships have made a positive impact on workers:
Katelynn Coney – California
Growing up in the foster care system as a child and the justice system as a young adult I never knew that I would be able to access the same opportunities as others. I used to tell my adopted parents that when I grew up, I was going to be a bus driver just to make them mad, because I knew they wanted me to go to college. Which I did, as a single mother, I earned a BA in Psychology and still decided public transportation was where I wanted to be. I started at [my transit company] in 2015, right when they were starting their apprenticeship program through [my] college. I love the labor management partnership that they offer. This program has allowed me to master operations, become a mentor, and now one of the coordinators for the program. Having been homeless and addicted to drugs I always felt my glass ceiling was predetermined and set super low. I now realize the doors are always there, you must be brave enough to walk through them.
Patricia Murray - California
I've been a transit employee and an ATU Local 265 member since 2013. As a single parent of four children, I knew I needed a good job with good benefits so I could provide and sustain a financially stable foundation for my family. I was working in the medical field prior to becoming an operator and I was just not making it. Through the Joint Workforce Investment Program (JWI Program), a Labor Management Partnership, I received a mentor right out of Technical Training. My mentor provided me with the soft skills I needed to be successful in my new career, helped me pave my own path, encouraged me to be involved with our union and inspired me to become a mentor the first chance I had. I wanted to give back to the program by assisting new operators with guidance I had received; I wanted to pay it forward. I have always enjoyed helping others. My experience coming to VTA and being an ATU Local 265 sister has been amazing, and I will be forever thankful for the opportunity I was given to do what I love to do.
United Steelworkers and Talon Metals
The United Steelworkers (USW) and Talon Metals entered into a partnership in 2021 to work together to contribute to the domestic battery supply chain with a new underground nickel mine in Minnesota and a mineral processing facility in North Dakota. USW and Talon will work together to recruit and train a diverse workforce in both states to produce high grade nickel, iron and copper needed in electric batteries. This partnership will help bring high quality mining and manufacturing jobs to rural communities and help build secure domestic supply chains for the energy transition.
AFSCME District Council 37 and the City of New York
District Council 37 (DC37) is New York City's largest public employees' union. In 2019, DC37 developed the Green Jobs Initiative, a workforce training program to serve as a bridge in the labor market demand from New York City Agencies trying to fill positions requiring "green skills". With funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Green Jobs Initiative provides basic and advanced study in multiple career sectors, including renewable energy, green technology, and energy conservation. Training is focused on priority populations (e.g., low-income, single parents, veterans, individuals with disabilities, previously incarcerated) and disadvantaged communities. Participants can earn professionally recognized credentials from the Building Performance Institute, the Urban Green Council, and the Association of Energy Engineers.
Apprenticeships and other joint labor-management programs can help improve collaboration between employers and unions, enhance production and positively affect the workplace. Consider the following examples:
- Culinary Academy of Las Vegas: The Culinary Academy of Las Vegas is a nationally recognized nonprofit hospitality training institute offering 16 different programs in hospitality work, digital and employability skills training, and language instruction for entry-level and union hospitality industry workers. The Culinary Academy is a labor-management trust with partnerships with the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, Bartenders Union Local 165, and 36 major properties on the famous Las Vegas Strip. The organization trains people for successful, family-sustaining careers with a living wage, benefits, employer-provided insurance, and career advancement opportunities. Through partnerships with public and private agencies, the Culinary Academy provides tuition assistance and supportive social services to over 90 percent of applicants and works with students to create pathways from public assistance programs to self-sufficiency and financial independence.
- Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership Agreement: Established in 1997, Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and the Alliance of Healthcare Unions have maintained a Labor Management Partnership. Their LMP is guided by a Founding Agreement that lays out core principles, structures and commitments. A 2021 Alliance National Agreement renewed both parties' commitment to working in partnership. The Kaiser Labor Management Partnership is regarded as a national model for businesses and unions interested in establishing their own cooperative partnerships. A case study of the partnership's early years offers useful insights for business and labor alike.
- 1199SEIU Funds Labor Management Project: The 1199SEIU Funds Labor Management Project supports the partnership of labor and management healthcare teams to achieve positive work environments, excellence in care and overall community well-being. The project has been operating for more than 20 years, and works today with hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory sites, and community-based healthcare organizations in New York, Maryland and Florida. The project offers a broad range of strategies to foster labor and management cooperation to develop cost-effective and high-quality strategies and promote communication and collaboration and shares resources on its website.
- St. Louis Construction Cooperative-Building Better Together: The need to build better led to the establishment, more than 40 years ago, of the St. Louis Construction Cooperative. The cooperative brought labor, management and consumers together and they became one voice. This cooperative partnership aspired to create a collaboration to settle disputes, solve issues and grow greater St. Louis' construction industry. Today, the St. Louis Construction Cooperative remains a leading model in jobsite safety, training and workforce diversity.
- Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Code of Excellence: A series of accidents once placed Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One facility among the nation's lowest-rated nuclear power stations. When Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One power plant potentially faced a forced shutdown -- and the loss of 900 direct jobs -- union workers and employers collaboratively made significant changes, including a commitment to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' Code of Excellence and quality job training. Seven years later, the facility officially ranks among the best.
Cooperative partnerships offer benefits for employees, unions and employers. Labor-management partnerships can transform adversarial workplace relationships into collaborative relationships where both parties are committed to improving business operations and building employee loyalty. These cooperative agreements have the potential to enhance productivity, increase worker satisfaction and strengthen collective bargaining. With more workers seeking to organize and begin collective bargaining to improve their working conditions, businesses and employers should consider the benefits found in partnering with labor.
To help overcome the challenges for women and people of color in today’s workforce, LMPs can play an important role in closing racial and gender pay gaps, and occupational segregation. Experts have found that successful Quality Workforce Partnerships help promote workers’ rights and offer proposed policies toward a more equitable workforce.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is an independent federal agency that helps American business 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. Working with FMCS, representatives can learn to partner together, talk about mutual problems constructively and begin to plan a successful labor-management committee.
Planning for Progress: Labor-Management Committees offers guidance on establishing labor-management committees in the workplace.
Building Better Working Relationships discusses how FMCS's Relationship Development and Training services can help labor and management improve their relationships at no cost.
The Federal Labor Relations Authority is an independent federal agency that administers the labor-management relations program for 2.1 million non-postal federal employees worldwide. The agency's Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Office helps build cooperative labor-management relationships throughout the federal government. CADRO training and facilitation services help representatives of agencies and labor unions manage conflict, prevent conflict from erupting into disputes, and develop and maintain constructive problem-solving relationships.
High-Road Training Partnerships Project | Promising Practices from the Labor Center at the University of California at Berkeley. The Labor Center's High-Road Training Partnerships Project supports the California Workforce Development Board's HRTP Initiative in modeling and expanding workforce training partnerships that are worker-centered, industry-led and aligned with key policy goals of equity, job-quality and sustainability. The center conducts analysis and provides technical assistance to sustain and grow the reach of these high-road partnerships. It also develops resources and training to build an infrastructure based on practitioners' collective expertise to help workers, employers and communities build high-road partnerships in more industries and across sectors and regions. The HRTP Project's resources include:
- HRTP Promising Practices: Industry-Led Problem Solving
- HRTP Promising Practices: The Partnership Itself Is a Priority
- HRTP Promising Practices: Incorporate Worker Wisdom Throughout the Partnership
- HRTP Promising Practices: The Industry Partnership Drives Training Solutions
The Transit Workforce Center helps transit agencies, labor unions, and partner organizations facing skill shortages and other workforce development challenges to attract, recruit, train and retain the transit workforce's next generation. The TWC has worked with its partners to develop toolkits and other resources, and to implement new initiatives. One such initiative, American Transit Training and Apprenticeship Innovators Network was created for transit agencies and labor unions to explore new apprenticeship programs or enhance existing programs for their workforce. The TWC website has many resources for those interested in learning strategies for labor-management collaborations:
- Strategic Workforce Planning in Transit: Developing, Supporting, and Strengthening Your Incumbent Workforce
- Strategic Workforce Planning in Transit: Recruiting and Developing Today's Transit Workforce
Transit Cooperative Research Program| Labor-Management Partnerships for Public Transportation
The Transit Cooperative Research Program promotes labor-management partnerships between public transportation management and labor union leaders. They produce resources and tools to establish, manage, and improve labor-management partnerships in transit. These resources may also be useful in other industries' workplaces.
U.S. Department of Labor links:
- The Labor-Management Partnership Program (LMPP) is an OLMS initiative that highlights examples and demonstrates the importance of employers and employees working collaboratively to address complex organizational issues.
- Unions in workplaces make a positive difference for worker safety; those workplaces are less likely to have an OSHA violation compared to nonunionized workplaces —Learn more about the the connection between unions and worker safety.
- Read how labor and management work together in the transit industry through the Joint Workforce Investment, Santa Clara Valley, Calif.
- Ingeteam and IBEW Local 2150 are working together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to advance the clean energy transition.
- To assist management and labor in improving their relationship so they can learn to work together on issues of mutual interest, as a team instead of adversaries, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service offers a range of mediation and conflict resolution services.
- The Federal Labor Relations Authority, Collaboration and Dispute Resolution Office dispute resolution services help federal agencies and labor organizations representing federal employees more effectively perform their missions through improving quality of work life, mending institutional workplace relationships, and creating opportunities to successfully resolve disputes.
- The national Labor and Employment Relations Association provides a unique forum where the views of representatives of labor, management, government and academics, advocates and neutrals are welcome.
- The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and education conducts research and education on issues related to labor and employment, job quality, and workforce development issues.
- The ILR Scheinman Institute at Cornell University conducts leading research that advances the field of conflict and dispute resolution and addresses a variety of real-world issues.
- The Transit Workforce Center is the Federal Transit Administration's first ever national technical assistance center for transit workforce development.
- In this video produced by the Federal Labor Relations Authority, learn about Labor-Management Forums, how they can be integrated into the collective bargaining process using Pre-Decisional Involvement, and on ways they can improve labor-management relations in the federal government.
- Pennsylvania State University's Healthcare Labor-Management Partnership Initiative provides training, research, and consulting to healthcare systems and healthcare unions interested in building or improving labor-management partnerships.
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 organization providing such information. For more information, please visit https://www.dol.gov/general/disclaim.