AUPE members who want to learn more about how a joint consultation committee can help improve their workplaces now have a new resource available at their fingertips. Read on to learn how to access AUPE’s new online learning environment and get informed about these important committees.

EMAC – What is it?

The Employee Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) can be known by different names, including labour-management committees or joint consultation committees, but at its core it is a joint committee made of equal membership of both the employer and workers to help address workplace issues. The right to create these committees can be negotiated in the collective agreement during collective bargaining.

Some workplaces have benefited from these committees for some time, such as members of Local 039 at SAIT, who have had the right to establish one enshrined in their collective agreement for more than 15 years. The union’s representatives are chosen by the members to ensure fair representation. By holding regular meetings to discuss ongoing challenges, these committees can be an important part of a union’s advocacy by helping to identify emerging conflicts or other issues in a workplace so they can be addressed quickly and appropriately.

How does it work?

Many AUPE members will be familiar with the union grievance process, which can be used when an employer breaks one of the rules outlined in the collective agreement. While there is a purpose and time for the formal grievance procedure, it has a ‘win-lose’ nature that is sometimes not the best way to address workplace challenges in a cooperative way.

Instead, a worker who has a concern can bring it to one of the workplace committee representatives, who will in turn bring the issue to the table for discussion. Both the employer and labour representatives will have the opportunity to address the concern before it escalates.

Ultimately, joint labour management committees can play an important role in solving problems, by working together to try to improve the workplace environment, with the added benefit of improving employer-labour relations overall.

Want to learn more?

AUPE has developed a new online resource within our Education department offerings to help members better understand these joint workplace committees, their roles within them and the types of issues that can be brought to the committee table. The ‘Labour-Management Committees’ online learning environment is different from a traditional course because the online portal will stay open and accessible until 2021 to allow AUPE members registered for the course to continue to access resources and materials throughout that time.

The course is open to all levels – whether you’ve got experience on a committee or are curious about how they could work in your workplace. It also provides discussion forums for registered members to learn more about how to get involved or which types of issues can be brought to worker representatives on the committee. For more information, visit the AUPE website.