Kn/a HR Case Study - Joint Union and Management Wage Study

Kn/a HR Case Study – Joint Union and Management Wage Study

Employers and employees (employee groups and/or unions) want to ensure that wages are fair. Fair can be defined a number of ways, most often fair means as the wages relate to the market. When we say a job is being paid fair in relation to market, we need to consider two parts – “who” and “what”. “Who” is the market? “What” is the wage? For example, is the market for an administrative assistant, other administrative assistant positions within the city, province, or like organizations? Is market wage the middle (average or median) or in the top 75% of the market group? Determining the “who” and the “what” is necessary for others to accept the result of “market”. In our latest article we share a case study on a Kn/a HR union management joint wage study.

Close-up of hands giving dollar pay compensation from work. Give rewards as incentives for work, on office desk background.

Often Kn/a HR will get asked “what is the market wage for these jobs”? One solution is a customized study specifically for that organization. With a customized study, the “who” can be determined in advance of getting any data – you are in control of the “who”.. When we have the wages from the “who”, then if the “what” is predetermined, it can be calculated mathematically and if the “what” is not predetermined, we can focus on finding the “what” as we all have faith the “who” is right.


Joint Union and Management Wage Study

In this particular case, as a result of a Letter of Agreement from negotiations, a medium-sized organization and union were to conduct a wage review with the goal of understanding the organization’s wages for unionized employees. Kn/a HR worked jointly with the union and management during the course of the project.

To ensure a clear comparison of positions, Kn/a HR guided the organization and union in developing specific job summaries (benchmarks) for the comparator positions. We also guided the organization in the selection of the survey sample – the “who” – those that were asked to participate in the survey. The online survey was developed and a small group was invited to participate in the study. A 100% response rate was achieved. When you have a small sample, it is important to get a high response rate so the results are more reliable.

The Results 

The results of the study were presented to the union and management committee, ensuring that all partners of the project were treated equally and all had the same information. In addition to providing very specific information on each position, the study also provided general observations and trends, allowing the partners to see the bigger picture and the overall organization’s market wage position.

Both parties accepted the “who” sample that was used, were equal partners in the process and now had the same data to determine the “what”. Because the study was specific to this organization, both the union and the organization had the same data that demonstrated the current wages relationship to market. They could now discuss or negotiate the “what”.

Getting agreement on the “who” allows people to discuss the “what”. If there is no agreement on the “who”, it hard to get to the  “what” as the source is often not trusted or valued. The same applies for finding market for total compensation – a subject for another case study.


If you are interested in finding out more about our joint union and management wage study please contact us today. 

Young and old male partners shaking hands after signing contracts

Kn/a HR partners with you to build HR management capacity, tools, and strategies to create a healthy work culture and strong business results. We collaborate with organizations to strategically build the people side of business. Kn/a HR Consulting provides human resource management services to organizations across Canada, including, Manitoba, Saskatchewan Alberta, and British Columbia.

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