LABOR MANAGEMENT PROJECT - FMCS
Submitted by MONTANA UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
Date Effective: MAY 2001


  Summary

This Labor-Management project will not interfere with the collective bargaining process in any way. In fact, the collective bargaining process is dependent upon this project to meet needs and goals addressed through labor negotiations. Agreement to a new classification and compensation system is subject to collective bargaining and is currently being addressed. However, implementation of such a broad-based and innovative program, as well as improving overall communication between supervisors and staff, is not conducive to collective bargaining. Implementation requires ongoing oversight, continuous communication, and the ability to intervene in specific departments or work units where progress is inadequate.

In order to ensure adherence to relatively aggressive deadlines identified on the Milestones Chart, implementation planning and preliminary work will be undertaken by the currently appointed Classification Task Force. This should assure a smooth transition in the event this Labor-Management Committee Project is approved.

This Labor-Management project will include 1,624 staff members represented by four bargaining units and employed on seven University System campuses.

Implementation of the Montana University System Achievement Project and creation of Labor-Management Committees have the potential of serving as the foundation to modify the organizational culture of the University System. Based on comments from the above-referenced focus groups and questionnaires completed by employees who have resigned, the current culture, as described by staff, is summarized in the following chart. Also included on the chart are the envisioned changes to

MUS Achievement Project (MAP)

PURPOSE

Is MAP simply a new classification and pay system or does it represent a change in organizational culture?

Components of Organizational Culture

Current Staff Perception

Vision

What type of job performance is rewarded?

No differentiation - unsatisfactory job performance rewarded the same as stellar job performance.

High job performance standards are communicated and rewarded.

Who makes decisions and how?

"Management" with focus on dollars and superficial staff input.

Collaborative decision-making during which both individual and University goals are given consideration.

Is one-way or two-way communication the norm?

One-way. Top-Down.

Honest, constructive feedback provided by both staff and administrators.
What emphasis is placed on opportunities for individual growth and development? No emphasis as an institutional value. Recognition that individual development is critical to the success of the University.
What is the degree of support, openness, and trust? Distrust is high, support is inconsistent, honest, and open communication is rare. High degree of trust in communications and decision-making process.
Do people compete with each other or work collaboratively? Strong degree of competitiveness. Make decisions and resolve problems in the best interests of the University - not individual offices and units.

Changing Institutional Culture

Five Key Elements

1. Create an unwavering performance ethic. Implement an effective performance management system that reinforces accountability and provides a consistent and fair reward and recognition system.

2. Establish and reinforce values that drive the University toward the realization of a shared vision.

3. Build a deeper understanding of what motivates individuals and enforce individual accountability.

4. Create an environment that encourages change and enables sharing of ideas and strategies.

5. Develop and communicate clear goals (University, department, and individual).

The ultimate importance of potential impact of MAP is best summarized by Sarah Stockton, former staff member at San Francisco State University and currently a freelance writer and editor. Excerpts from an article that appeared in the May 2, 2001 Chronicle of Higher Education accurately portray the perception of many staff members within the Montana University System.

"People on a campus can be divided into three groups: the faculty (which includes administrators), the students, and the staff. Faculty members are the providers, scholars, researchers, educators, academics, writers, and committee members (and administrators make policy and budget decisions). The students are consumers, learners, seekers, and participants. The staff are, well, employees.

When I was a staff member at a large, urban, public university, I worked for the state. Only secondarily did I work for the university. The state had final say over my work schedule, my pay, and my vacation, retirement, and health benefits - as well as my job security.

That control can be devastating to employees' productivity and morale if they aren't rewarded in other ways. You get no end-of-the-year bonus based on how many problems you solved, how many times you helped a student navigate some bureaucratic quagmire, or how often you walked a faculty member through a software program...

...I thought about how to find a place in the university that would suit my skills and talents so that I could serve its mission without feeling like - or being treated like - just an employee...

...I know of other staff members who have dedicated themselves to academe...

...On the other hand, I have seen several valuable employees leave academe, and not just for practical reasons like low pay or because they worked in offices or departments that were understaffed. The real reason they left is less tangible: They didn't feel valued or - even more important - included...

...One of the most valuable resources a university can have, its staff, is often overlooked, unrecognized, and undervalued...

Much discussion occurs these days about how to strengthen higher education's sense of purpose. Faculty members seek to find meaning in their teaching and research activities. Students find meaning in community service and in interdisciplinary approaches to learning that help connect them to the world outside the campus. Papers are written, conferences are held. The people who set up the chairs and the microphones for a conference on meaning in education may be seeking precisely that - meaning. The secretary who types the program, the graphic artist who designs the handouts, the dining-services employees who provide the coffee and bagels may all be doing those things not just as state employees, but also as members of a university. Why should anyone presume otherwise?"


[1] Source: Bureau of Business and Economic Research

[2] Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

[3] Source: Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Research and Analysis Bureau

[4] Source:  US Department of Commerce/Bureau of Economic Analysis

[5] Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

[6] Source:  State Salary Survey

[7] Source:  McEwen Survey

[NOTE:  Addenda not included at this time.]

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