Thursday, June 15, 3:00PM (ET)
How Neutral Third-Party Intervention Can Improve Retention in the Transit Industry
Culture change has been mentioned in transportation workforce literature for the last twenty years. However, the ability to implement that change has been elusive. The Covid pandemic has precipitated the ‘great resignation’ and pulled back the curtain to reveal a perfect storm: the impacts of some dysfunctional culture characteristics; and the physical and psychological toll on many transit and transit rail occupations. Addressing dignity in the workplace may be the missing element in the search for workforce retention tools. We look at third-party intervention in the US Postal System and the National Institutes of Health as examples of culture-reforming systems. Instituting a conflict resolution system that recognizes and honors the individual’s dignity and agency will improve employee retention, performance, and customer service in the transportation industry.
Presenter: Ed Watt, WattADR
Mr. Watt started his forty-year career in transportation as a front-line worker at NYCTA. He rose to the position of Financial Secretary of the largest transit local in North America. He has worked for the two largest International transit unions, Amalgamated Transit Union ATU and Transport Workers Union TWU. As Health and Safety Director for TWU, he worked with Rail, Transit, and Airline Divisions. As a charter member of the USDOT FTA Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety, he applied his firsthand knowledge and the current theory on safety to contribute to the many letter reports to the FTA Administrator. In his long career, Mr. Watt has served in many local, national, and international roles. In addition to his six years as the Labor representative on the NY MTA Board, he has served as Vice-Chair of the Urban Transport Committee of the International Transport Workers Federation, Human Resources Joint Steering Committee with UITP, and delegate to the International Labour Organization on Transport Safety. Understanding the critical role research plays in safety and union-management relations, Mr. Watt has facilitated research with the TRB, NIOSH, and Cornell University’s Institute for Workplace Studies. In addition to six years on the project selection committee of TCRP, he has been a panel member of fifteen projects. He is a Consulting Associate of the Mineta Transportation Institute. He holds a Master of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations, MSILR, from Baruch/Cornell. He is currently the Principal of WattADR, an alternative dispute resolution practice.
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