As a PIPSC steward, you will no doubt find yourself in discussions and consultations with different levels of management. The following are tips to ensure that these discussions are effective, respectful and move issues forward.
Approach Management with Confidence
Ensure that going into the discussion, you have the facts that you need in order to assist the member.
Be prepared, this includes doing your research in advance of the meeting by referring to policies, collective agreement and other references that help you to feel more confident.
Remember that as a steward, you are having these discussions, grievance hearings as an equal. When you are in a meeting with management representing members, you are a union representative.
Approach Management with Caution
Keep the lines of communication open; spend as much time listening as talking.
When proposals or offers are on the table, ensure that you don’t agree to things without first talking to an ERO and to the member.
Recap the discussion both at the meeting and after via email – this creates mutual understanding and provides a written record of the discussion.
Take notes of what is said for future reference.
Maintain your Credibility
Be professional and respectful
Keep calm, open and maintain effective communication
Stay focussed on the issues
Don’t be afraid of saying “I don’t know”
Avoid communication that is confrontational; this doesn’t help members and has an negative impact of PIPSC – this can also negatively impact you as an employee.
Remember that you are representing PIPSC when facing management, remain objective– your role is to help members.
Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Management
- Remind them of their rights, responsibilities and obligations
- Be friendly and open
- Be prepared to “give and take”
- Follow all of the rules
- Remind them of the common goals “the benefits”
- Give an opportunity to management to correct their behaviour
- Focus on results and effective communication
- Come to the table with problems and options
- Know the process, how to escalate issues including at consultation