“This is Stressing Me Out!”: How Union Representatives Can Respond Constructively to Concerns of Workplace Drama and Dysfunction

Training for Union Representatives/Shop Stewards

One of the most complex issues for union representatives to address is interpersonal conflict, bullying and harassment amongst team members or between specific employees and their team leaders or managers.

No employee – at any level of the organization - enjoys coming to work if they – or those around them - are entrenched in drama and dysfunction. In fact, the most common complaints about unhealthy organizations stem from dysfunctional interpersonal and team dynamics.

One “challenging” colleague, leader, client or customer – who behaves and communicates with little consideration for those around them – creates disruption and disharmony for many others. Day-to-day conflict results in destructive gossip, sick leave, low morale and disengagement amongst those who are involved in the dysfunction directly or are bystanders who must deal with the fallout including the ongoing pressure to “take sides”.

Many human rights, anti-discrimination and health and safety tribunals recognize the significant destructive effects of dysfunctional behaviour on the psychological health and safety of all individuals in the workplace. As a result, they have implemented clear expectations and directives on how everyone (including front line staff, supervisors and others) should act in order to build and sustain a culture of mutual respect.

Commonly, dysfunction continues because individuals, including union representatives, do not have the tools or education necessary to better understand and objectively evaluate the many layers of dysfunction that might be affecting the overall environment. During this workshop, Marli Rusen will provide practical advice and strategies to union representatives/shop stewards on steps they can – and should – take to more effectively respond to members’ complaints of workplace dysfunction and disrespect.

Half-Day Workshop:

The union representative/shop steward workshop is a half day workshop: this allows for time for questions/answers. If there are no questions, participants will be given a brief “case scenario” to work through.

Full-Day Workshop:

A full day workshop is also available with the addition of "applied scenarios". Marli will take union representatives through several scenarios to show them how to put the principles learned into practice.

Both the half and full day course can also be customized to meet the needs of your particular team or organization.

To learn more about this workshop, use our contact form or call us at 1. 877. 590. 8153.


MFR Resolutions
Marli Rusen
#301-1321 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC  V8W 0B6


  • “We have had the pleasure of working with Marli Rusen for many years and have been extremely pleased with the professionalism she brings to her work.  Marli has provided our staff with training on a variety of workplace topics and she is an...
    Lori Rilkoff
  • “Marli has delivered a number of workshops on Performance Management/Workplace Conflict to our management teams throughout Vancouver Island. In a formal evaluation of a recent session, 100% of the participants indicated that their performance...
    Deborah Edwards
  • “Ms. Rusen conducted third party investigations for the School District and was also retained to resolve numerous and complex workplace conflict issues. Ms. Rusen quickly gained the respect of both union and managerial personnel which enabled...
    Robert Flood
  • “Marli Rusen provided our management team with an engaging refresher on legislative updates related to employers, and respectful workplace practices for employees. Given our organizational priority to be an employer of choice, the workshop was...
    Chad Rintoul
  • “Testimonials/Comments from Marli Rusen’s May 6, 2016 Employee-Focused Workshop. “Hire her again.” – Ela “Fortunately, I work with a team of people who get along very well and have had no issues with other staff. However, I thought her...
    School District 35


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The MIRROR Method

How To Resolve Workplace Conflict? Learn more about workshops and courses using Marli Rusen's MIRROR Method - 6 steps to building respectful workplaces that are practical & defensible! Click here!