Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author (s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
through Dennis De Peiza
The emerging trend towards limited participation of union members in the life of their individual organizations may suggest that this is the consequence of declining interest. The dynamism which once characterized the unions now seems to have given way to a state of docility.
One may wish to speculate as to why this state of affairs exists, but based on what is placed in the public domain, one can conclude that lack of trust and confidence are two defining issues.
While it may seem to some that there is a semblance of docility within the labor movement, there are those who claim that they are more concerned with the internal hostility that exists within it.
Looking at what is going on in society as a whole, it would appear that resentment and discord have become part of the way of life and behavior within institutions.
Trade unions, political parties and even the church have recently been found guilty of bringing their internal affairs into the public domain.
This action known as “washing dirty clothes in public” is never in the best interest of the organization, as it inevitably leads to discords, fractures and disruption of the work of the body.
When this inappropriate behavior occurs, it is often motivated by a disputed issue, disagreements
views that are promulgated and / or divergent positions taken on policy issues.
Much of this is also fueled by an individual’s stance on an issue or when a strong personality dominates. The crux of the matter may revolve around promoting an individual’s self-interest and ego.
It is not surprising that contentious issues contribute to the creation of tensions within organizations. However, it is unfortunate that such questions fall into the public domain.
This can create tensions and deepen fractures, as people without knowledge or facts about an issue undertake
expressing opinions, giving support to a position or to an individual.
Those who travel to place business in the public domain may be accused of seeking public sympathy and obtaining justification for their actions. Some may also be rightly accused of seeking to use the public forum for the purpose of creating an additional rift; especially when the discrediting of others occurs intentionally or unintentionally in the process.
Those in leadership positions in the trade union movement and other civil society organizations should be well aware that it is inappropriate to attempt to resolve internal conflicts in the public domain.
Those who engage in this practice are guilty of disrespecting and disregarding the rules, regulations, policies, procedures and practices that govern the operations of the organization.
In their effort to involve the public and attract support, it would seem that those who transgress in this way, are unaware of the damage that their action can have on the image of the organization, be it in the short, medium and long term.
While some may argue that the public has a right to know, this must be weighed against the likely damage that can result from the negativity that results from the blatant untruths that are communicated, the malicious rumors that are generated, speculation and d ‘possible personal injury.
It is difficult to imagine how the respect and trust in the people involved and the organization as a whole is not lost or challenged.
Winning at all costs has a price. It should be frowned upon, in the same way when there are intentional or calculated actions that aim to create harm.
Disgruntled members or leaders of trade unions and other civil society organizations should respect the process within the organization and do so as necessary to file a legitimate complaint or grievance.
It is fundamentally in bad taste as a first step to resort to the media, rather than following the established process within the organization to seek redress. It is this type of indiscipline that calls into question the integrity of the organization.
It is for this reason that those inside and outside tend to lose faith in organizations. Human nature being what it is, egos, fear of failure and refusal to accept defeat very often give free rein to what are called “sour grapes”.
The practice of scandalizing an internal election by finding loopholes in the voting system and procedures is simply not inspiring. It is fair to say that after the fact, possible irregularities can be identified.
In such a case, it begs the question of why these issues are not first identified and addressed internally, before claims are made in the public domain, without conclusive evidence to support them.
This level of mistrust contributes to destroying morale within organizations and driving out potential members. These are refused due to the implications of corruption, unfair practices and internal strife.
It goes without saying that mutual trust and respect are essential to the management of internal affairs. Compliance with guidelines and best practices should also be encouraged, as these will promote transparency and the maintenance of trust.
Dennis De Peiza is a labor and employee relations consultant in the regional management department Website des glaces inc. : www.regionalmanagement services.com