“I have a voice now. I speak up for my members when representing them,” explained Sharon Thomas, 1199SEIU delegate and Patient Care Technician when asked how she benefited from a leadership training series that Labor Management Project (LMP) consultants provided to delegates at the Maimonides Medical Center (MMC). Tessaann Campbell, a delegate and Information Specialist, agreed. “The training helped me speak up, voice my own opinion and represent members,” she said.
Thomas, Campbell and other delegates spoke to Partnership Matters at a recognition ceremony celebrating those who had completed the LMP’s 14-hour training series in meeting, facilitation and conflict resolution skills during the winter and spring of 2018. Thirty delegates received certificates of completion, enjoyed a delicious lunch and cheered each other for their accomplishment.
Delegates also heard from labor and management executive sponsors. Paul Stuart, Vice President of Human Resources, congratulated delegates and emphasized the importance of what they bring to MMC. “These are skills the hospital needs. The hospital requires smart, skilled leaders like you,” Stuart said. Coraminita Mahr, 1199SEIU Vice President, added that leadership is essential to promoting labor-management cooperation, “Whenever we need labor-management relations, you are going to be the ambassadors. I thank you for stepping up.”
Since the completion of the training, delegates have taken ownership of all aspects of delegate meeting management, including agenda development and facilitation. Between May and August of 2018, 21 delegates facilitated a delegates’ meeting.
The LMP’s training and coaching has increased attendance and engagement at delegates meetings, according to Thomas. “Delegates are getting more engaged and more productive,” she noted. “Everyone gets a turn to facilitate our meetings. It feels positive.”
Several delegates reported that they are leveraging their new competencies when representing members in meetings with management. Daniel Rein, Pharmacy Technician, said that the training taught him to be more “diplomatic” in such meetings. Delegate John Luongo, a Child Life Specialist, noted that the training has given him the confidence to lead conflict resolution sessions.
Luongo also lauded the ongoing, post-training coaching that LMP consultant Scott Hubbard has provided delegates. “It’s better than a one-off training,” said Luongo. “It’s actually a continuing part of the training.” Hubbard observes delegate meetings and gives performance feedback, such as suggestions on how to improve facilitation or manage meetings more effectively.
Labor-management sponsors would like to see emerging delegate leaders play vital roles in all parts of the organization, working together to advance joint labor-management objectives. The Union is also planning to expand the training to Departmental Labor Management Committee participants across MMC.