Unions and Employees
Transformation of the Department resulted in one union losing some 200 members while another gained about 75 with the new case-manager positions. To avoid excessive union pressure, the management team made sure the unions were always informed of upcoming decisions before their members so that they could claim some control over the situation. The unions might easily block the project agenda by filing complaints or grievances with the Labour Board. This is what the management team wanted to avoid by maintaining good communications with the unions, frequently consulting them and treating the laid-off employees generously.
Nonetheless, the resistance to change of some HRD-NB staff members, and the anxiety and nervousness created by the uncertainty or loss of a job were negative psychological factors that were difficult to eliminate from a project the size of the Alliance for Change. Nearly all employees were replaced, trained or assigned to positions in keeping with their skills. In general, jobs were enriched and salaries increased. All this unfolded rather smoothly. The two unions were sold on the advantages of this type of project for their members and were involved at every stage of the reorganization by upholding and protecting the rights of their membership.