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.
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.
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.
Apprenticeships and other joint labor-management programs can help improve collaboration between both parties, enhance production and positively affect the workplace. Consider the following examples:
- The Culinary Academy: The Culinary Academy is a labor-management trust that provides training for entry-level and union hospitality industry workers in Las Vegas. The academy has partnerships with the Culinary Union Local 226, Bartenders Union Local 165, and 35 major properties on the famous Las Vegas Strip. This initiative seeks to provide high-quality training to prepare workers for successful careers with a living wage, benefits, employer-provided insurance and advancement opportunities. Since 1993, the Culinary Academy has trained more than 55,000 individuals. The academy's student body is diverse; in 2018, 55 percent of students were Hispanic/Latinx, 18 percent Black, 11 percent White, and 11 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders. Male and female graduates were almost evenly divided.
- 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.
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:
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