IAOM Conference Presentation May 1, 2015

The International Association of Operative Millers asked me to put together a presentation for their 2015 Conference in Palm Springs, CA. At the bottom is a link for those wanting to hear the recorded presentation. I am also attaching my PowerPoint presentation for your reference and review.

I presented a three part program entitled, ‘An Arbitrator’s 7 Tests for Your Workplace Discipline.’ This program was for both union and non-union workplaces.      
Part 1 covered an overview of workplace management of discipline which included discussions about problem solving, mediation, arbitration and law suits.
Part 2 covered the actual seven tests of Just Cause and
Part 3 reviewed how workplace discipline forms are a key part of training your workforce about discipline and following the seven tests of Just Cause.

Presenting at the IAOM Conference was a great experience for several reasons.

First of all I was very impressed with the professional organization of the conference. The management of speakers of materials and of professional recordings was all well thought out and executed without a hitch. The more organized an event the less one even notices the amount of work that has gone into it. Planning alone must be done many months ahead of time in order to not only get the location and rooms reserved but also to give enough notice to attendees about the conference so that they can begin to organize their calendars in order to attend the event.    

Second, it was very useful working with the conference committee in preparing the program. As a professional arbitrator I have to be very careful to present materials that provide meaningful information without giving attendees false impressions about there being a ‘formula’ to workplace discipline.
Simply providing information on the 7 Tests of Just Cause is designed to provide parties with a general understanding of the principles behind the theory of ‘Just Cause.’

As expressed in the presentation, I always encourage parties to debate and negotiate and determine their best settlement on workplace discipline. The reason is that the parties are the best evaluators of the ‘right decision’ because they know the workplace and its members better than anyone. Further, the parties have the flexibility to be creative and form settlements that are more like solutions. For example, if an employee has an anger or addiction problem, the parties can provide options of training programs and set goals that must be kept in order for the employee to have a path back to work. An arbitrator on the other hand is given a simple task by the parties. This task is often to determine if the company had Just Cause in terminating an employee. This task is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ task. It doesn’t allow for any flexibility in tailoring a solution specific to the employee or the parties. So the flexibility the parties have in crafting solutions in their workplace should be an important motivation to reach settlement before going to arbitration.  

Lastly, I was very touched by the various participants that stayed for the three parts of the program. I even commented on the one participant that sat in the very back of the room as if she was getting ready to bolt out the door at any moment but stayed the entire time. On Part 2 of the program the participant moved up to sit in the middle of the room and by Part 3, she was sitting in the front of the room.     

Thank you to the IAOM conference committee and all the members of the association for your invitation, support and hospitality. I hope my presentation was helpful to improving your workplace for both employees and managers. Best regards going forward to all of you.     
Please let me know if you have any comments, I'd be happy to discuss this program. All the best, JC