Relationship Enhancement Program

A Program Designed to Assist Employers and Unions in Establishing and Maintaining a Productive and Positive Relationship.

The Relationship Enhancement Program (REP) is intended for employers and unions who are experiencing difficulties in their ongoing relationship and who are interested in establishing and maintaining a more productive and positive relationship.  The program focuses on the specific issues and concerns associated with the parties’ current relationship and on establishing mutually agreeable and achievable steps for improvement.

At the joint written request of an employer and a union, a mediator will be appointed to meet with   the parties to design a program that is specifically tailored to the parties’ needs.  The mediator (or a team of mediators) will facilitate a one to three day working session of representatives of the employer and the union.

Participants at the working session normally range from executive management to first line supervisors on the employer side and from senior full-time officials to shop stewards on the union side.

The program will only succeed if both the employer and the union acknowledge that their relationship needs improvement.  In addition, they both must be prepared to commit the time and resources required.  It must be strongly emphasized that support for the program by the key personnel from both the employer and the union is essential.

The initial working session is normally conducted away from the workplace, so that the participants are better able to give their full attention to the task at hand.

 Generally the REP proceeds as follows:

Initial sessions include skill development in communication and interest based problem solving.  The union and employer representatives then meet separately with the mediator(s) to discuss specific suggestions on how to improve the relationship.  Each party is asked what it “could” do to improve the relationship and what the other party “should” do to improve the relationship.

Subsequently, union and employer representatives meet together to review the suggestions for improvement.  Common objectives are established based on the “should” and “could” lists developed in Step 1.

The final step in the process involves the development of mutually agreed specific action steps to be taken to achieve each objective.  Each action step includes a description of the required action, identification of the individuals responsible for implementing the action step, and a time frame for the commencement and/or completion of the action step.

Following the working session, a summary document is drafted by the Mediation Division containing all of the information generated during the process.  This summary is issued jointly by the parties to all those who will either be involved in, or will be affected by, the action steps.

The product of the working session is an agreed upon list of common objectives and action plans.  The action plans reflect the parties’ commitment to work diligently to achieve their mutual objective to improve their relationship.

The REP working session provides the employer and the union with a clear plan of action and creates the momentum to drive the change in their ongoing relationship.  But it is crucial that the REP participants continue that momentum by ensuring that the various action steps are moved along to completion.

In the months following the REP working session, the Mediation Division will periodically schedule follow-up meetings with representatives of the employer and the union to monitor progress and to assist them in resolving any issues arising in implementing the various action steps.

Employers and unions who are interested in learning more about the REP program should contact: 

Grant McArthur, Director - Mediation
Labour Relations Board
Suite 600 Oceanic Plaza
1066 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC  V6E 3X1
Tel:  (604) 623-6575
Fax:  (604) 660-1892

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(Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau)