64th Annual Conference of the Association of Labor Relations Agencies

Minneapolis, Minnesota | July 18 – 21, 2015

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    updated 2015/06/28

    SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2015

    1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Workshop ALRA Academy

    This workshop will provide newer members of ALRA and first time attendees with touchstone information about the ALRA organization, its benefits and value for members. It will also provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on the principle of neutrality and how it translates in practical terms for members and staff of labour relations and mediation agencies. This workshop offers a forum for comparative analysis of US and Canadian labour law frameworks and an opportunity to learn from practices in various jurisdictions relating to mediation and adjudication of labour disputes.

    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Welcome Reception

    SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2015

    8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. | Breakfast

    9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Concurrent Roundtable Discussions

    Join a group of member agency practitioners facing similar challenges: exchange views and share practical advice.

    1. Mediators’ Roundtable
      In this Roundtable, experienced mediators will facilitate discussion around the following topics:
      • Transparency in Government – Pressures on Public Knowledge of Collective Bargaining Negotiations in the Public Sector and the Impact on Mediation Practice;
      • Mediation Transformed – Telephonic and Internet Based Mediation – Does Lowering Cost and Burden of Negotiation/Mediation Necessarily Reduce Process Effectiveness?
      • Professional Development for Mediators – What do Agencies need to provide in order to insure the continued effectiveness of their mediation staff?
      • Career Cases – When does the mediator or the Agency say “stop” to the mediation process? The ethical dilemmas associated with recessing or stopping mediation on the motion of the mediator or the Agency will be discussed.

    2. Board and Commission Members’ Roundtable
      Board and Commission members will discuss the impact that change in government policy direction has on the agencies’ ability to ensure stable and predictable dispute resolution approaches and services. How can decision-makers and adjudicators effectively use their past and best practices to set the future?

      The group will also explore what best practices exist within the agencies for the training and support of newly appointed Board members.

    3. General Counsel Roundtable
      It is often difficult to manage change, whether in the area of labor relations, administrative law or in any other domain. In this round table, facilitators will draw on the observations of counsel to explore legislative changes, jurisprudence, and other areas and how to manage them.

      The discussion will focus on change in the following four different areas to assess their impact and possible opportunities or best practices to approach them:
      • Demographic change and how it is being managed for the present and future. (For example, there is a significant shift in the railroad industry’s workforce which may result in almost 70% of the workforce having less than 10 years of seniority by 2020). What do these statistics tell us about work of the future, the potential consequences and risks?
      • Political changes, such as changes in administration or control of legislatures. How do these changes affect the work of labor relations boards?
      • Legislative change in Canada and the United States and its impact on the work of neutrals. Recent changes in Federal labor relations statutes in Canada have had a significant impact on labour relations and are worth noting.
      • Recent jurisprudence in Canada and the United States, which at the present time may indeed seem contradictory in direction and scope.
      By examining the above areas and inviting participants to address other changes through the questions above, it is hoped that a round table dialogue will contribute to understanding of current and future trends.

    4. Administrators’ Roundtable
      Those responsible for the administration of labor relations agencies can take this opportunity to share challenges and best practices focused upon communicating results and success stories to the clientele and the public generally. Administrators will also be able to focus their discussion on latest developments and initiatives involving implementation of new technologies from those who have taken steps to implement new case management systems, e-filing modules or e-case files.

    11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. | Brunch
    Minnesota Labor History presented by Peter Rachleff, Professor of History, Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Plenary

    A year in review – Highlights of key developments or initiatives having a significant impact on labour relations – A panel of representatives from various jurisdictions, will discuss current developments and trends emanating from the State and Federal levels as well as recent developments in Canadian law that are worth noting and observing as precursors or indicators of a broader shift in labor policy.

    3:30 p.m. | Organized activities

    MONDAY, JULY 20, 2015


    Please refer to separate Program

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Professional Development for Delegates - Concurrent Workshops

    (Health Break at 10:15)

    Mediator Training Program
    Best Practices in Mediation: If This Were Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It!

    Experienced Mediators from FMCS Canada and the FMCS US have developed a highly interactive Professional Development session designed to address the “nut and bolts” of the mediation process as well as the complex problems practitioners confront. Utilizing short presentations, participant discussion and exercises designed to focus on mediator skill building; the session will include the following elements:

    • Pre-mediation: making initial contact count and connecting with the parties
    • Opening the mediation: setting the stage for success
    • Tools and strategies to manage mediation challenges during the process
    • The top 10 mediator mantras

    Adjudicator Training Program
    Navigating the Increasing Challenges to the Adjudication Process

    This session will be devoted to the adjudicators and focus on how agencies are meeting the increasing challenges to the adjudication process.

    • Managing the Hearing Process | Hear how agencies are managing the hearing process in an environment of increasingly complex hearings - from filing to final decision in such a way that helps move the case to decision in the most orderly, efficient and effective manner: includes production and pre-hearing processes.
    • Dealing with Challenging Clientele | Agencies find themselves more often dealing with challenging clientele - from the increase in self represented litigants, litigants with mental health issues, challenging advocates and advocates with little to no experience in labor law or your agency’s processes.
    • Decision Writing | What are agencies doing to issue clear, sound decisions?

    11:45 a.m. | Luncheon
    Ethical Considerations in Mediated Settlements – A View from the Bench

    1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. | Plenary
    Ethics and Basics

    Through the use of case scenarios, participate in discussions and reflection regarding questions of public perception, potential biases and ethical considerations that mediators, adjudicators and practitioners may face in their professional and social interactions.

    2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Annual Business Meeting


    MONDAY, JULY 20, 2015


    7:15 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. | REGISTRATION/BREAKFAST

    8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. | OPENING REMARKS and WELCOME
    Tim Noonan | ALRA President and Executive Director, Vermont Labor Relations Board
    Governor Mark Dayton

    8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. | "The Fissured Workplace: Consequences for Employers and Workers"
    Dr. David Weil | Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor

    Dr. Weil’s discussion will focus on issues related to the “fissured workplace”—the increasingly complex, diffuse, and precarious employment relationships that now characterize many low-wage jobs. It will feature: (1) the history and current state of the fissured workplace; (2) how WHD has grappled with protecting workers’ rights in the face of these evolving employment relationships; (3) enforcement strategies to address violations of workers’ rights in this context; and (4) increased outreach to workers and their advocates to explain their rights and employers to explain their responsibilities under federal labor law.

    9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. | Collective Bargaining and the Changing Workforce: New Challenges and Opportunities
    M. Patricia Smith | Solicitor of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor

    10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. | Health Break

    11:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Collective Action Alternative Campaigns Panel
    Jennifer Abruzzo | Deputy General Counsel, U.S. NLRB (Moderator)
    David S. Birnbaum | Attorney, Jones Day, LLP
    Judith A. Scott | General Counsel, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

    The panelists will discuss the specific use of collective action alternative campaigns to focus on worker issues, particularly in the service and fast food industries; the evolving definitions and roles of employers, employees and labor organizations in this context; and the strategies, remedies, and desired results.

    12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Luncheon
    Update from the Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board
    Richard Griffin | General Counsel, U.S. National Labor Relations Board
    The NLRB’s General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. will provide an overview of recent NLRB case law developments and initiatives.

    1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    1. Recent Developments in Higher Education Collective Bargaining
      William Herbert | Distinguished Lecturer, Hunter College, CUNY and Executive Director, National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions
      Mario Maisto | President of the New Faculty Majority
      Jeffery Frumkin | Associate Vice Provost and Senior Director, AHR, University of Michigan
    2. Labor-Management Cooperation in Minn. Construction Industry Success Story – The Viking Stadium and other Tales of Labor/Management Cooperation
      Moderator: Thomas R. Cherioli | Commissioner, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, U.S.
      Panelists: Michele Kelm-Helgen | Chair, Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission
      Representative of Mortenson Construction, General Contractor for the project
      Dan McConnell | Business Manager, Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council
      Andrew A. Smoka Jr. | Principal Safety Consultant, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

      The Vikings Stadium project is on schedule and budget half-way through construction. The panel will discuss the role that labor-management cooperation plays in successful construction projects.
    3. Digital Surveillance – Evidentiary Considerations
      Steve Hoffmeyer | Interim General Counsel & Executive Director, MN PERB
      Sharon Imes | Arbitrator
      Jeffrey Jacobs | Arbitrator
      This panel will discuss the issues advocates and arbitrators must deal with when faced with social media and surveillance cases.

    3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. | Health Break

    3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. | Closing Plenary
    Allison Beck | Acting Director, U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

    4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Wrap-Up
    Tim Noonan, ALRA President

    4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Reception for Advocates and Delegates

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