The Metropolitan Opera has proposed bringing in a mediator to facilitate talks with its unions, a move that could delay a lockout that management had threatened for Friday. Opera officials broached the idea in a negotiation session Wednesday with the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents singers, dancers and stage managers. Union head Alan Gordon said his group would agree to mediation if the unions representing the orchestra and stagehands were on board. read
Here’s some good news for employers that want to use arbitration as a way to resolve employment disputes instead of relying on federal or state courts: Imposing a fair arbitration policy on applicants as a condition of employment is fine. Once the applicant “takes” the take-it-or-leave-it arbitration agreement by accepting the job after having a chance to review it, she’s stuck with it. read
The director of the Charleston County Aviation Authority said mediation is a possibility in the gender discrimination complaint filed by the former director of the county's three airports. "We can certainly mediate in good faith," said Airports Director Paul Campbell. "We want something that allows us to run the airport in a cost-effective manner." The resolution to the nearly year-old dispute with ex-airports Director Sue Stevens does not have to involve money entirely, Aviation Authority Chairman Andy Savage added. He did not elaborate. read
Norwegian oil workers and employers will start mediation talks tomorrow to bridge differences and avoid a strike that threatens to halt about 115,000 barrels of oil a day. The mediation deadline is set for midnight tomorrow and involves two unions that broke off wage talks last month over pensions, according to the parties involved. Talks frequently run beyond the deadline. “We naturally hope for a solution,” Sverre Simen Hov, a spokesman for the Norwegian Organization of Managers and Executives, said by phone on June 13. It’s “very difficult” to predict the outcome, he said. read
THE Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association (WCUA) has had a minor win in its bid to retain control of umpiring appointments and development in the region. WCUA officials revealed they had secured a mediation session with the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) over a dispute stretching back to April. The two organisations have been at loggerheads since the WDCA announced it would seize control of the management and training of umpires. read
North Shore Community Mediation Center may be a mouthful, but each word has meaning, according to the organization. As the organization enters its 20th year of bringing mediation services to the communities of Essex County, it said it has lots to celebrate. Community mediation is for anyone with a dispute: families, neighbors, students, consumers, even friends. As a community mediation center, NSCMC provides low-cost mediation services wherever they are needed: in schools, the workplace, and in the district, juvenile and probate courts on the North Shore. read
South Africa’s platinum producers and a union are due to resume talks on Monday in an effort to stop a four month long strike that has wreaked havoc in the sector. “Discussions will continue today (Monday),” said a spokeswoman for three top producers Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin. Last Friday the employers said three day talks mediated by the Labour Court had produced “no agreement” yet. Around 80,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools on January 23 demanding more than double the entry level wage. Workers want a 12,500 rand ($1,200, 875 euros) basic monthly salary before benefits, but employers are offering that as part of a total package and only from 2017. read
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking to extend mediation services to more workers, regardless of job profile and salary. The Tripartite Mediation Framework helps professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) settle disputes and grievances over salaries and contracts with their employers. Today, it is only available to managers and executives who earn up to S$4,500. However, there are plans to scrap this salary cap and include rank-and-file workers at the same time, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin at a labour movement event. The type of disputes the mediation framework can address could also be widened, for instance, to cover re-employment. Together with the recently announced proposal for a small claims employment tribunal, the expanded mediation framework, when ready, is expected to give workers access to more avenues of recourse when disputes arise. read
A recent article in the New York Times discussed a new law giving unpaid interns in New York the right to sue if they are harassed or discriminated against by an employer. The legislation takes effect in June, a time of year when interns flood New York City seeking opportunities for experience and hopefully paid employment down the road. The article was of particular interest to me, as I had just successfully mediated a matter where discrimination claims against a well-known clothing designer had been brought by 16 former employees. While the employees were not interns, they had brought unpaid wage and racial discrimination claims against their former employer. read
The Superior Court judge overseeing the legal battle over Rhode Island’s 2011 attempt to curb exploding public-employee pension costs ordered the combatants back into mediation on Monday after police rejected the proposed settlement nearly 2 to 1. Police were the smallest of the six public-employee groups voting on the proposed settlement that their union leaders hammered out with lawyers for Governor Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo during close to a year of court-ordered, closed-door talks. State employees and teachers were among those who tacitly approved the proposed deal, under an arrangement where any one of the 23,624 mailed ballots that was not returned counted as a “yes” vote. But under the terms of the settlement agreement, “if more than 50 percent of any one of the plaintiff groups vote to reject, the settlement process ends.” read
ABA / Straus Institute Survey (7/18/14) Tom Stipanowich One of the three recent surveys undertaken by the Straus Institute in 2013 as part of the Theory-to-Practice Research Project was a survey of corporate counsel co-sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Section on Public Utilities, Communication and Transportation (PUCAT) ADR Committee.
Case Study: The Mediating Manager (7/18/14) Katherine Graham Sian is the Communications Manager for a UK charity and has recently appointed James, a designer whose job required frequent contact with production officer Helga, who had worked with Sian for over 3 years. Sian had a sinking feeling that things were not going too well between James and Helga, but Sian was busy and, optimistically, had put the tensions down to early teething troubles and hoped she could leave them to sort out their differences ‘as adults’.
Conflict Systems at Work in Startups (6/20/14) Mark Baril Behind most disputes is a system that perpetuates the problem. Uncovering the system will reveal why these negative conflict outcomes keep coming back, and, hopefully, how to fix them for good.
Settlement Conferences and the Price of Contempt (6/06/14) Mary Novak In a settlement conference, what is the value of having someone present with full authority to settle? If one party lacks the authority, it can result in aggravation, wasted court fees, and lost time for trial preparation. American Family Insurance (AFI) recently learned this to their cost in a dog-bite case in Washoe County, Nevada. Because Judge Janet Berry did not believe the insurers had complied in good faith with her rules on authority to settle, she found the company in contempt and sanctioned them $50,000.
Quick Tip: Hostage Negotiator's Tone of Voice (6/03/14) Jeff Thompson Crisis and hostage negotiator's are involved in situations that are tense, stressful, and anxiety-filled. In order to try to reduce the overwhelming emotions being experienced by the person they are trying to help, the negotiator's tone of voice is an important tool that can help move the conversation toward a peaceful resolution.
Employment Disputes (5/23/14) Joe Markowitz Given the huge numbers of settlements, in contrast to adjudications, we should perhaps think of the DFEH not so much as a law enforcement agency, charged with putting teeth into statutory prohibitions against discrimination, but rather as a conflict resolution service offered by the government to assist parties in dealing with all manner of employment disputes.
Can Mediation Work When Harassment is Alleged? (5/16/14) Katherine Graham Lucy and Andrew are senior professionals in a small department within a major IT company. Lucy reports to Andrew, but the relationship is an unhappy one. Andrew comes to Karl, the Head of HR, because he’s had enough of Lucy’s behaviour which he describes as difficult, negative, undermining and disloyal. He sees putting her through the Disciplinary process as his only option.
I’m Ready to Resolve! (and you’re not) (5/16/14) Vivian Scott In my line of work we talk about the importance of process. People like to know that we’re following a process; we know that everyone needs time to process, and some say it’s all about the process. Individual journeys are, well, individual and just because you’ve decided you’re ready to apologize or tell someone a thing or two doesn’t mean that they’re at a place in their own journey in which they’re willing to sit on a park bench with you and hear you out.
Workplace Violence - Part 2 (5/09/14) Ken Johnson From 9/11/2001 to 9/11/2013, approximately the same number of Americans died in the workplace due to violence as did American soldiers overseas fighting terrorists. Bullying, stress, domestic disputes, and other considerations account for this. Some researchers have suggested a new mental condition, similar to PSTD, called PTED, which workers may exhibit. Out of control catabolic (harmful) conflict poses a serious problem for both businesses and workers. This two-part series looks into this issue and suggests how ADR practitioners can work to better help businesses make the workplace safer and more productive.
Leadership is Defined as a Relationship, Not a Person (5/09/14) Maria Simpson I have always maintained that, if people weren’t so afraid of the process of disagreeing, they would have much better outcomes and more creative solutions to problems. Now, Mark Gerzon in Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities, provides sound arguments for why leaders need conflict and how to use it to their advantage to build relationships and organizations. This book is well worth your time.
Workplace Violence (5/02/14) Ken Johnson From 9/11/2001 to 9/11/2013, approximately the same amount of Americans died in the workplace due to violence as did American soldiers overseas fighting terrorists. Bullying, stress, domestic disputes, and other considerations account for this. Some researchers have suggested a new mental condition, similar to PSTD, called PTED which workers may exhibit. Out of control catabolic (harmful) conflict poses a serious problem for both businesses and workers. This two-part series looks into this issue and suggests how ADR practitioners can work with other various professionals to better help businesses make the workplace safer and more productive.
Leadership is Defined as a Relationship, Not a Person (4/18/14) Maria Simpson ediation has become so closely associated with the legal system recently that its value in all areas of discussion and leadership has been overwhelmed. Gerzon points out the value of the approach in public areas of concern, education, business and international relations. Now, if we could only get people to learn how to use it.
The Importance of Mediation in Family Business Management (4/04/14) Joseph Berljawsky Managing a business can be difficult enough—but when your in-laws are the board of directors and your sister is the CEO, management of a family business can also become a contentious issue. Problems related to leadership and ownership of family businesses arise in a variety of situations. Sometimes there is a power struggle, other times people feel they have been treated unfairly or do not get enough of a say in the company.
At Work, Our Mental Models of Conflict Matter (3/21/14) Nick Redding The way we think about conflict matters. These “mental models” of conflict influence the strategies we employ when we are engaged in conflict. Our models are influenced by our personality, life experiences, and general orientation to the world around us. In turn, they impact how others will react to us, influencing the likelihood of reaching more or less constructive outcomes.
A Practical Guide to Comprehensive Conflict Management Systems (3/07/14) Carole Houk, Deborah Katz Many organizations have embraced alternative dispute resolution. Yet, they continue to search for more comprehensive approaches that help them not only to resolve conflicts that have escalated into disputes but also to manage risk, manage relationships and manage their bottom line. Is the answer to this search integrated conflict management systems (ICMS)?
Conflict from Workplace Behaviors (2/14/14) Maria Simpson Years ago a wonderful little book appeared called Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It was mostly about basic consideration for others such as taking turns, sharing, and not wrecking other people’s possessions.
Mediate is Top Ranked Mediation Website (2/04/14) Mediate.com Mediate.com is ranked the top mediation and dispute resolution website by Alexa in its February 1, 2014 global website rankings. In business since 1996, Mediate.com has over 15,000 searchable mediation articles, blog posts, news items and videos. Mediate.com also hosts the most used mediator directory and offers mobile friendly website development, professional promotional services and cloud-based case management systems.
Do You Really Want This Job? (1/17/14) Maria Simpson More people need to know that mediation exists and how to access it, because most of these documents include a mandatory arbitration agreement that precludes your right to your “day in court” if a dispute arises. In general, these agreements are not to your advantage.
Be Sure To Check the Facts (1/03/14) Tim Kingsbury A female middle manager complained she had been bullied by her male senior manager, who she had described as aggressive and demanding. One of the allegations related to an occasion when she had gone into his office for a discussion, which had become heated on both sides and, according to her, he had started to shout and swear at her and continued to do so as he followed her out of the room.
The Hidden Costs of Workplace Conflict (1/02/14) Steve McGuire This article basically sets forth the underlying costs to an organization in terms of loss productivity, processes and actual dollar cost in lost investment, replacing workers, and the consequences of unattended conflict. This helps employers decide when a conflict is serious enough that they should be proactive. 2 Comments
Tips for Working with Multiple Bosses (12/27/13) Vivian Scott When companies consolidate departments or lay-off employees, the action often results in administrative support staff working with multiple bosses. Though the strategic goal is to save money, the act can backfire if the new normal doesn’t quickly fall into place.
What is Your Organization’s Conflict Style? (12/27/13) Lauren Catenacci Prior research had explored conflict styles at the individual and group level, but had yet to explore whether organizations have distinct conflict styles. Recently, researchers using data from a large bank in the mid-Atlantic United States found evidence to suggest that three distinct conflict styles operate within organizational cultures: collaborative, dominating, and avoidant.
Task and Relationship Conflicts in Teams in WorkplaceMediation (12/07/13) Nick Redding Teams are an essential component of organizational life. In order for a team to get anything done, it’s members must find a way to work together effectively. Conflict practitioners commonly recognize three forms of conflict in teams: 1) task conflicts are disagreements over what the team is supposed to accomplish, 2) relationship conflicts occur when disagreements between members become personal, and 3) process conflicts
Was Your Board Meeting a Disaster? (12/06/13) Joanna Wares Everyone who has ever served on a board can relate to this question. Unproductive, one person dominated, a key person was not at the meeting, we never got to the most important part of the agenda, sound familiar? Navigating through important content, diverse personalities and time restraints can prove to be difficult in any circumstance but when consensus, disagreements over interpretation of the goals of the organization and personalities collide it can become a disaster.
Avoiding Conflict in the Workplace (11/15/13) Katherine Graham No employee wants to become embroiled in a workplace dispute. If conflict at work isn’t resolved, it can cause stress, frustration, loss of sleep, a bad temperament, illness or other issues for individual employees.
Information Please (11/08/13) Phyllis Pollack There is a study by Art Hinshaw and Jess K. Alberts about ethics in negotiations using practicing attorneys from metropolitan Phoenix and metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri who were asked how they would react in hypothetical situations during mediation. The results indicated that only about 62% of the attorneys would act ethically in a hypothetical negotiation while 19% indicated they would not act ethically, and the remaining 19% were not sure how they would react in the hypothetical situation.
The Not-So-Effective Vindication Decision (9/20/13) Beth Graham This article provides commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision relating to classwide waivers in arbitration clauses in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, and immediate reception of the Court’s decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In one of the most closely-watched classwide arbitration cases on the 2012-13 docket, the Supreme Court in Italian Colors Restaurant was asked whether the “effective vindication rule” required access to class arbitration in federal antitrust litigation where an individual plaintiff’s claim was too small to be litigated separately. In a 5-3 decision (with Justice Sotomayor not participating) a divided Court ? led by its conservative wing ? responded with a resounding “no.”
5 Top Business Boo Boos (9/08/13) Victoria Pynchon In a special free report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the smartest negotiatiators in the room offer their advice on the five top bargaining errors.
Income Inequality: Are Unions the Answer? (9/03/13) Joshua Javits If income inequality is the problem; are unions the answer? The middle class is being pushed into poverty at an alarming rate. Four out of five Americans will experience poverty at some point in their lifetimes - up from 4 in 10 only a few years ago. America's top 1% now owns 35% of the nation's wealth, leaving the bottom 80% to share only 11% of the pie. The "middle" has seen a $6, 218 decline in median household income over the last decade. As the gap continues to widen, the social fabric rends and a substantial portion of the population is relegated to desperation and despair. 2 Comments
A Tale of Three CEOs (8/29/13) Maria Simpson We know a lot about managing down, about supervising people who report to us and leading a team. We
know we have to make our goals and standards clear, we have to oversee the work without becoming
micromanagers, and we have to manage in a variety of styles that best suit the needs of staff members.
For those who like lots of structure, we provide that structure at the beginning of the project and save
time later by avoiding the mistakes and false starts because we missed a detail that took a staff member
down an expensively wrong path.
The Dysfunctional Board of Directors (7/26/13) Kendall Reed It has been said that a good board will not make a company, but a bad one will inevitably kill it. It has also been said that troubled boards outnumber functional boards by a wide margin. As such, it would seem there is both a deep need and wide opportunity for those who can assist “Boards” to function better. 3 Comments