Wire maker, union models of cooperationIn November...


August 13, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff writer

Wire maker, union models of cooperation

In November, federal mediator Daniel L. Brodsky saw trouble when he was called in to mediate contract negotiations between Maryland Specialty Wire Inc. and its 185 unionized workers.

The Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Local 8-2 had gone on strike a few years previously, and the two sides were still embittered.

"There was a real lack of trust," he said.

But today, the Cockeysville company and the union will be the first labor-management team in Maryland to receive the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services' certificate for cooperation.

After hammering out a three-year contract last fall, Mr. Brodsky persuaded the two sides to try the FMCS' free "relationship by objective" training.

He set up a 12-person labor-management committee that met to decide upon common goals, and start achieving them.

"There are still some pockets of employees out there who say, 'I've seen this all before,' " and are skeptical, Mr. Brodsky said. But six months of training has made some small, but important, improvements.

Paul Terry, employee relations manager at the company, agrees.

Although the program has not resulted in a drastic increase in productivity, he has seen some improvement in morale, and improvements to things such as the company newsletter.

One committee, for example, is starting to train workers and managers to meet new international standards so the company's wires and brushes can be sold overseas.

Building a new relationship between managers and workers "takes years," Mr. Terry said.

"Different people turned around at different speeds. But more and more people are getting on board" as the committees start taking visible actions, he said.

Businesswomen find success on the greens

Women who want to really succeed in business: Consider a combination of golf and etiquette lessons.

A survey by New York-based Research & Forecasts Inc. found that women executives with better golf scores earned more than female duffers.

But be warned: The survey also found that one out of six women golfers had run into trouble with men whose "egos can't handle good women players."

Chris Owens, a Towson attorney, says she has done a lot of business on Maryland's golf courses since she learned the game five years ago.

Ms. Owens, founder of the Baltimore chapter of the Executive Women's Golf League, says businessmen have been drumming up clients on golf courses for years, and businesswomen are just now realizing the benefits of networking on the greens.

Her group, started this spring, already has 300 members, she noted.

"It has been very helpful for business," she said. "People who play with you get to know you . . . and feel confident" in sending deals your way -- as long as your behavior on the course warrants trust, she said.

"The way you play golf is very revealing" about your character, she said.

Like most women golfers, Ms. Owens has sometimes slacked off on her game to assuage the egos of male potential clients.

PD "The men's egos are a lot of trouble if a woman is playing well."

Prospective workers flock to Southwest

As soon as Southwest Airlines announced last month that it would begin serving Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the airline was inundated with resumes from Marylanders eager for the $6.35-an-hour agents' jobs.

In fact, Ann Rhoades, Southwest's vice president for people (that's really her title), received so many resumes that she didn't have to run any help-wanted ads for the 60-plus full-time jobs she expects to fill here in the coming months.

Dallas-based Southwest has been touted as one of the 10 best employers in the United States.

Ms. Rhoades and several workers spent last week interviewing 140 people out of the several hundred who had applied.

They chose 22 people for jobs, even though some workers were afraid they wouldn't find their "type" here in Baltimore, she said.

"In some cities, we have had a problem finding our type of employee. . . . We want people with a good sense of humor, who are very, very productive, have a strong ability to make decisions and have Southern hospitality," Ms. Rhoades said.

Those Marylanders selected after two interviews, drug tests and background checks "came in smiling. They had done their homework and knew about Southwest. Their attitudes were so positive," she said.

The 41 initial openings will be filled with current Southwesemployees who wanted to transfer to Baltimore, she said.

But the company will hire locals as Southwest expands beyonits currently scheduled 11 flights a day to Cleveland and Chicago, she said.

=1 Southwest's service from BWI starts Sept. 15.

Holding the phone is a big time-waster

The average executive spends nearly eight working days a year on hold on the telephone, a survey has found.

A survey for Officeteam, a California-based staffing company, found that the average executive wastes 15 minutes a day on hold. That adds up to more than 62 hours a year.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.