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Hi everyone,

My union has been on strike for and I'm looking for advice on reconnecting with my team when I finally get back to work.

Some background:

I supervise about 20 employees. My team this year has 6 new members.
The team leaders have leaked out some information to me about what they're doing to support the new people. I emailed to thank them and to tell them I trust their judgement. They know I won't violate my picket line, including providing advice over email.

My team members will have suffered considerable inconvenience. Some are very pro-union and some probably are anti-union, so I'm concerned there may be divisions forming within the team.

When I get back, I'm wondering how/if to broach the topic of the strike. Should I share my opinions on the strike and/or ask for theirs? Should I ask how they were affected? Should I just focus on getting everyone trained and performing their duties effectively?

I'd appreciate any opionions or experiences you're willing to share on the matter.

Thanks.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

If they don't bring it up I think the best thing to do is not bring it up. Don't ignore it, just don't make an issue of it. If they do bring it up just give them a brief explanation of why you believe you were justified in going on strike. Don't defend it, just state why you believe it was justified in a way that makes it clear that whether they agree with you or not thats OK. It was your decision, not thier's.

Stephen

LouFlorence's picture

R-

If you don't bring it up, the strike will be the elephant in the room and could leave a lot of unresolved feelings simmering.

As a union member, it would be extraordinary for you to cross the picket line, regardless of your own feelings about the issues. You can share that with the team, along with a sincere apology for the inconvenience of your absence. While you did nothing wrong, being gone at a critical time made it harder for the team; an apology will help put that right. I would also express appreciation for their professional demeanor and dedication during a difficult time, hope that it is a long time before it happens again and that's it. The best time to do all this would be during your first regular staff meeting after you get back.

Regards,
Lou

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Rach

I went through a similar situation as faculty on strike at one of the local colleges.

Some students asked me questions and I simply said that I was not informed enough about the issues to comment or give them information.

When the strike was over, I apologized for the inconvenience and said there was nothing we could do about it and my classroom was not the place to debate strike positions. We should simply get on with our learning and have as positive an experience as we could.

*RNTT

rthibode's picture

Thanks guys! The strike ended a couple of days ago and I'm delighted to be back at work. My crew have been very welcoming so far. If they ask me about the strike I briefly tell them my opinion and turn the conversation to how they were affected and what support they need to get back on track.

Our next meeting is the 28th, so I'll apologize to the group in person then. I've already sent a quick email apologizing for any inconvenience and thanking them for patience and skill.

Mark's picture

I saw this thread and am glad the strike is resolved. Sorry for any inconvenience you and your team went through.

I'm unlikely to be very good at giving advice regarding managers who go out on strike. I recognize the value and benefit of unions, and also find management serving one master hard enough. Having to serve two - the union and the employer - makes me shudder.

I'm just not that good.

Mark