Managing the Union/Employer Partnership

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 4.56.55 PMIf you haven’t seen this video, you should:

Our Public Library

It is very well done. It is professional, engaging, focused, supportive.

For the most part.

It states the case for the Toronto Public Library succinctly and forcefully and will no doubt be helpful in rallying support for the City’s library system.

In less than a month it has garnered almost 20,000 views.

All good.

But the message quickly turns from supporting the Library to bashing the Mayor and half the Council.  In a close vote by Council (21-20) proposed budget cuts did not move forward. Clearly work needs to be done with the Mayor (lame-duck so set him aside for a moment) and 20 councilors.

So anyone skilled in advocacy and lobbying knows that this is done through building positive relationships and making use of the first 80% of this great video to help to make the case, one vote at a time.

Why then must the Union stoop to creating a wall of shame for the 20 terrible councilors, all named, who are “kowtowing” to the mayor.

When did public shaming, insulting and name-calling lead to generating support? What am I missing here?

Why can’t unions (or at least this union) stop focusing on itself and its righteous indignation and focus on the real game: garnering Council support for the City Library?

When do we finally all get on the same page for such an important issue?




About Ken Haycock

Ken Haycock is currently Research Professor of Management and Organization at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, where he coordinates graduate programs in Library and Information Management.

2 Responses to Managing the Union/Employer Partnership

  1. Sybil Harrison December 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    I think this is an appropriate message for the union in the run-up to an election. If I was a voter in Toronto, the list of library-friendly councilors would help help inform my voting. It’s clear the message is coming from the union, so most discriminating voters would understand the context.

    I absolutely agree that library administration needs to be involved in relationship building,thoughtful advocacy etc. The unions, have a different role, and calling out politicians who supported such a ridiculous cut is a reasonable tactic in my view.

    • Ken Haycock December 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

      This is a useful distinction in roles and purposes. And your addition of the context (an election) is helpful.
      At the same time, I have never found much evidence for the “blame and shame” approach to increasing support and funding.
      Better I think would be the union encouraging its members to work on behalf of specific alternatives — approaches and people.