Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
- Developed strategies to address employees’ return-to-work following a multi-week strike
- Developed a training program for frontline supervisors
Reputation Partners was enlisted to lead one of the nation’s leading defense contractors’ labor communications initiatives as the company found itself in the middle of an eight-week strike by more than 3,600 members of the International Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union (IAM). Our work focused on strategies to address employees return-to-work. After decades of a union-dominated environment, the company wanted to reinforce expectations around safety and work rules (e.g., cleanliness, attendance/vacation policies, overtime, food and drink in the workplace, etc.). The company also wanted to empower and equip frontline supervisors to enforce the new expectations and rules with their union workforce – not a simple task after years of union control.
Our team conducted extensive due diligence and facilitated eight focus groups with various levels of management to learn about the culture, employee sentiment, union/management dynamics and the underlying causes of the prolonged strike. Armed with the research findings, we developed immediate and long-term recommendations on ways to improve internal communications, employee morale and overall relations between the union and management. We also developed a training program to educate front-line supervisors about communications best practices and empower them to effectively lead and manage the returning union employees. This required a delicate balance between encouraging them to be stern managers, yet being empathetic to the financial and emotional challenges many of the unionized workers faced while on strike.
More than 3,600 employees returned to work, and through our efforts, the company was well-equipped to communicate and engage with both union and non-union employees. Frontline supervisors felt empowered to reinforce safety and work rules, thereby improving overall productivity and compliance with key policies.