I've worked with union plants in the past very successfully - unions
which had histories of violence like shootings - and didn't find it
particularly different than working in non-union places. Us/them is
hardly unique to union situations.
I find working with an organisation that includes significant union
activity is easier. There is a pathway for impacting a culture that
is independent of the formal culture and that provides additional
openings. The largest problem in working in unionised places - when
it is a problem - is that the us/them between the workforce and the
union management is as great as the other us/them.
A hint at an approach is offerred by Dave's analysis of different
interests. If these or other more localised interests are taken as a
starting point then it is really quite simple (not always easy for
reasons of attachment and righteousness) to create a breakthrough.
Simply commit to the realisation of the "other side's" interests.
If you can't do that, look at your own attachments to winning, to
being right, to being better, etc.
More than a hint is offerred by John Warfield's post. I read John's
post as a wake-up call. There are ways through, they are not
mysterious and they are replicable. As soon as we get detached from
our own "the way it is" we can begin to do what works. Until then,
we are merely "whinging" - a good English term - to justify
-- Michael McMaster Michael@kbddean.demon.co.uk