Successfully Managing in a Unionized Work Environment

Schulich Executive Learning Centre

How long?

  • 2 days
  • online

Schulich Executive Learning Centre


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Who should attend

  • Managers new to a unionized work environment
  • Front-line supervisors responsible for creating positive working relationships with unionized workers
  • Managers and Directors of public sector departments, municipalities, educational institutions, unionized agencies and healthcare organizations
  • HR supervisors and labour relations leaders overseeing skilled trades professionals

About the course

Changes to collective agreements, labour laws, human rights codes, grievance and disciplinary procedures make it very challenging to maintain a cohesive, trusting and motivated workforce.

This popular program takes the guesswork out of managing unionized employee groups. The skills-laden course is team-taught by a top labour relations expert and a world-class authority on leadership. Gain both legal and leadership perspectives. The program covers leadership, employment-related laws and proven ways to achieve a progressive work environment. Hundreds of public- and private-sector organizational leaders have benefited from this program.

What You Will Learn

  • Create a strong management-union relationship that better understands the competing interests of the union and the employer
  • Discover how to deal professionally with disgruntled employees and union challenges
  • Master effective leadership skills to lead unionized staff
  • Manage legal issues by accurately interpreting the collective agreement
  • Motivate staff and manage poor performers using discipline appropriately
  • Set proper performance expectations that are supported with constructive feedback
  • Represent the interests of management professionally
  • Learn strategies to build a high-performance climate
  • Effectively respond to grievances
  • Maintaining respectful relationships with union representatives

Additional Course Materials

  • A pragmatic workbook with over a dozen forms you can use to set-up a formal performance improvement program with unionized staff
  • A bonus copy of Cy Charney’s bestselling book Just-in- Time Management


1. The Labour Relations Act

  • Process of certification/decertification
  • Differences between public sector and private sector organizations

2. The Collective Agreement

  • Articles of importance – hours of work, scheduling, union access to facilities,rules of conduct etc.
  • Collective bargaining
  • The grievance procedure
  • Disciplinary process and penalties
  • Suspension pending investigation
  • Proving just cause
  • Investigation of facts

3. Controlling Absenteeism

  • Culpable vs. non-culpable absenteeism
  • Attendance improvement programs

4. Managing Disciplinary Issues & Process

  • Ensuring problems are dealt with the first time
  • What to say in a disciplinary document
  • Effective disciplinary planning: place, time, preparation
  • Conducting the interview process: controlling the agenda, presentation of facts, invitation to respond, evaluation of evidence
  • Follow-up procedures

5. Linking your Industrial Relations to Your Business Plan

  • From vision, mission and values to practice
  • Creating an industrial relations strategy to assure achievement of business objectives

6. The Daily Challenges of Managing Unionized Staff

  • What managers expect from their employees
  • What employees expect from their boss
  • The “two-bucket” theory of effective relationships
  • How to represent management while meeting your staff’s needs
  • Relationship building with staff

7. Effective Leadership: Setting Expectations and Improvement Goals

  • Applying coaching skills to get staff to take ownership for performance
  • Creating a high-performance culture
  • Applying seven key strategies of successful coaches
  • The impact of expectations on performance
  • A system of goal setting to get buy-in to challenging goals
  • Using measurement to track performance and increase accountability
  • Promoting change through recognition and rewards
  • Making difficult conversations easy

8. Motivating and Coaching Your Staff

  • Your leadership profile and its impact on morale
  • Balancing humanistic and goal-oriented behaviour
  • When to instruct and when to listen
  • Listening and its impact on morale
  • Creating a new vision moving forward


Cy Charney

Biography Cy Charney is one of the Schulich School of Business, York University’s top instructors. As a leading Canadian thought leader in the area of organizational performance, Cy has developed a variety of unique interventions to help organizations in both the private and public sector become ...

Bernard King

Bernard King is a labour relations specialist with more than 15 years’ experience in industrial relations, conflict resolution and workplace mediation. His areas of expertise include facilitative leadership, organizational training, performance management, employee engagement, workplace accommoda...

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Successfully Managing in a Unionized Work Environment at Schulich Executive Learning Centre

From  CAD 2 650$2,138
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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

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