James P. Wilkins
TITLE OF SESSION
Peace, Love and Harmony -- Even in a Collective Bargaining Environment
1. Keys to effective administration of a collective bargaining agreement
2. Effective preparation for collective bargaining negotiations
3. How to maintain positive employee relations even in a collective bargaining environment
Most employers strive for an employee relations environment characterized by peace, love and harmony. It is a common notion -- but also a misperception -- that harmonious relations are difficult or impossible to attain in a unionized environment.
There are certainly unique challenges associated with managing the HR function in a unionized environment. However, with deft administration of a collective bargaining agreement and proper preparation for labor negotiations, harmonious and effective labor relations are still attainable.
In this session, Jim Wilkins will share experiences from 34 years as a labor law attorney to help human resources practitioners effectively manage an organization's relationship with its unionized employees and the labor union that represents them.
This session will focus on effective strategies for day-to-day administration of a collective bargaining agreement. When disputes arise, it is important to understand and deftly handle the grievance and arbitration procedure to maintain good relations with employees and the union. At the same time, HR practitioners need to understand and be prepared to invoke "management rights" when a union tries to restrict the exercise of such rights.
A key to successful labor negotiations is proper planning and preparation. This includes how to identify and develop bargaining objectives and priorities, persuasively present the organization's proposals at the bargaining table, and anticipating and preparing for problems that can arise during negotiations. Anticipating the union's tactics and objectives can go a long way to avoiding conflicts, including the union's ultimate "hammer": a work stoppage. This session will explore the key steps HR practitioners should undertake to be prepared for all variables that can arise during collective bargaining.
James P. Wilkins is a shareholder in Kastner Westman & Wilkins, LLC, a boutique employment and labor law firm that represents management exclusively.
Mr. Wilkins received his B.A., with honors, from The College of Wooster and his law degree, with honors, from the National Law Center, George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is certified as a Specialist in Labor and Employment Law by the Ohio State Bar Association and has been practicing labor and employment law for over thirty years.
Mr. Wilkins' practice is devoted to advising employers on a broad variety of employment and labor matters. He represents both public and private sector clients in traditional labor matters, including labor negotiations, arbitrations, and representation and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and the State Employment Relations Board.
He regularly represents employers in defending charges of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and other state FEP agencies. He represents employers in state and federal courts in all forms of employment litigation. He counsels clients on compliance with the ADA, FMLA and wage-hour laws. He also provides training to supervisors and managers to help assure compliance with the full range of state and federal employment laws.