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VLERA Webinar: Labor-Management Partnership in Practice: How to Establish and Maintain a Positive Labor Relations Culture

VLERA Webinar: Labor-Management Partnership in Practice: How to Establish and Maintain a Positive Labor Relations Culture

October 20, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Virtual Chapter of LERA (VLERA) will continue their webinar series with a presentation on "Labor-Management Partnership in Practice: How to Establish and Maintain a Positive Labor Relations Culture." The event will take place on Wednesday, October 21 at 8:00-9:15 p.m. 


The benefit of positive labor-management partnerships has been discussed, debated, and studied. But what is the real story? Webinar participants will hear practical advice from parties who have lived through significant labor-management conflict and found their way to a collaborative culture of openness, respect, and transparency that benefits both sides. These labor and management practitioners will discuss how they repaired a fractured relationship, built a solid partnership, and transformed the labor relations culture of labor relations at American Water.


Thomas Anton Kochan – George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management; Professor, Work and Organization Studies; and Co-Director, MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research


  • Fred Myers, VP of Labor Affairs, American Water
  • Shawn Garvey, National Union Representative, Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO
  • Robert Smith, National Union Representative, The National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, District of 32BJ SEIU
  • Lu-Ann Glaser, Director of Labor Relations, American Water

SHRM/HRCI Recertification

  • 1.25 Recertification Credits 


  • No cost for members
  • Non-members: $5.00 (introductory fee)


Both members and non-members, please use this link to register for the webinar:

Zoom Link

The Zoom link will be distributed to VLERA members and registered participants after payment.

Continuing Education

This webinar has been approved for SHRM & HRCI Recertification Credits and CEUs


  • The past as prologue: the history of the parties’ fractured relationship and the evolution of partnership
  • The mutual benefit of a strong and positive labor-management culture
  • The key elements that make a labor-management partnership work and survive even the tough issues
  • The crucial role of LM partnership in dealing with the pandemic
  • The culture of bargaining and why a positive labor-management relationship doesn’t require that you relinquish your role as a strong advocate

Presenters Biographies

Fred Myers is the VP of Labor Affairs and Engagement for American Water. Prior to his work at American Water, Fred was the founder and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. While heading up the USA, many regarded Fred as the heart of the organization, described by Fred as having the purpose of “providing millions of union members who hunt, fish, shoot, and spend time in the outdoors with their own outdoor organization.” At American Water, Fred is a key liaison between American Water, its external communities, and the national unions representing their employees.

Shawn Garvey is a National Representative for the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO. He has been a member of the Utility Workers Union of America for more than 31 years. He joined Local 365 when he went to work for the water company in 1989. He was elected as Shop Steward in 1990, then to the Local’s Executive Board in 1993 and President of Local 365 in 2001, a position he held for 9 years. In 2007, Shawn was elected to the Utility Workers Union of America’s National Executive Board and in 2010 was appointed to the position of National Representative for the UWUA. Shawn was promoted to his current position as Sr. National Representative in 2014.

Robert Smith is a National Representative for the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, District of 32BJ, SEIU.  Robert began his journey in the labor movement as local president of Chapter 131 of the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, working at the Indianapolis Water Company. Smith joined the union staff fulltime in 2001 as an organizer and was later promoted to organizing director of the union in 2010, where he helped lead a multi-union statewide organizing campaign for Kentucky State employees. In 2016, Smith became Business Manager of Chapter 5, 131, 320, and 321, where he oversees operations for union members employed at over 40 different companies in 6 states. In September 2020, Robert was appointed by the NCFO’s executive board to Secretary-Treasurer, effective October 1, 2020. He currently serves as an executive board member of the Kentucky AFL-CIO, the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, as well as SEIU Local 32BJ, which is the parent union of NCFO.

Lu-Ann Glaser has over three decades of Labor Relations experience on all three sides of the table. Currently, she is the Director of Labor Relations for American Water. In this role, LuAnn is responsible for labor strategies across the business, including relationship-building/partnerships with the Company’s 15 labor unions and over 75 contracts. Prior to this role, she served as a union representative with the American Postal Workers Union at the local, state, and national advocate levels. She also served for 14 years as a labor relations neutral for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. At FMCS, Lu-Ann oversaw a multi-divisional department which included both domestic and international services in the areas of industrial and labor relations, alternative dispute resolution, training, conflict systems design, digital media strategies, and program management.

Thomas A. Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a faculty member in the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research as well as a member of the steering committee for MIT Sloan’s Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative. Kochan focuses on the need to update America's work and employment policies, institutions, and practices to catch up with a changing workforce and economy. His recent work calls attention to the need for a new social contract at work, one that anticipates and engages current and future technological changes in ways that build a more inclusive economy and broadly shared prosperity. Through empirical research, he demonstrates that fundamental changes in the quality of employee and labor‐management relations are needed to address America's critical problems in industries ranging from healthcare to airlines to manufacturing. His most recent book is Shaping the Future of Work:  A Handbook for Action and a New Social Contract (Routledge, 2020).  He is a member of the National Academy of Human Resources, the National Academy of Arbitrators, and past president of the International Industrial Relations Association and the Industrial Relations Research Association.  Currently, he is a member of the MIT Task Force on Work of the Future. Kochan holds a BBA in personnel management as well as an MS and a PhD in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin​.

October 16, 2020

VLERA Webinar: Labor-Management Partnership in Practice: How to Establish and Maintain a Positive Labor Relations Culture