Attacking Injustice LO67 LO6807

Barry Mallis (
19 Apr 1996 12:48:29 -0400

Reply to: RE>Attacking Injustice LO6769


You ask some provocative questions about the process of unions "attacking"

My first reaction was that collaboration is an answer for this problem as
it is for so much else. Is it not collaboration among humans which leads
to the ultimate mediation of conflict? I use conflict in the broadest
sense. Let's try this:

Conflict situations are situations in whcih the concerns of two or more
people appear to be incompatible.

Conflict is inevitable as long as different people have different values,
interest and capabilities.

Conflict is neither "good" nor "bad". It can be destructive, but it can
also be a source of energy and creativity within a group. The goal isn't
to eliminate conflict, but rather to manage it.

When a union perceives mistreatment, it reacts. When any human perceives
potential mistreatment, there is a natural wonder at the very least, a
surge of strong feeling at worst.

The history of human exchanges across ostensible boundaries of place,
culture, religion, etc. is one where mass movements of the physical and
the emotional provide less room for collaboration than interactions
between the few. Examples are rife. So there seems to be a paradox in
how unions protect the many from abuses, and, together with management,
engender an "attack" mentality.

The best unions (I think of the Auto Workers at the Saturn plant in the
recent strike) are forward looking and collaborative. What of the rest?
And most of us?


Barry Mallis

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