Scheinman Institute Program Director Spotlight: John August
Name: John August
Current position at Scheinman/ILR: Program Director, Healthcare Labor Relations and Partners Program
Education: B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison; graduate studies in Sociology and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Areas of expertise: Labor Organizing in most sectors of the economy, including healthcare (hospitals, nursing homes, and home care), social services, transportation, warehousing, agriculture, public employment, and manufacturing, Collective Bargaining, Healthcare Public Policy, Performance Improvement Science, Innovations in Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations, including Interest Based Bargaining, Interest Based Problem Solving, Conflict Resolution in labor settings, Leadership, Workforce Planning and Development.
Career highlights at Scheinman/ILR: Development of Collaboration Councils (Labor-Management Councils made up of Attending Physicians and Executives and Chief Quality Officers) at all 21 facilities comprising the largest public health system in the nation, New York City Health and Hospitals and the union of the doctors, Doctors Council SEIU; Development of an internal union strategy for SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania to transform relations with employers toward collaborative relations and frontline performance improvement; Assisted in strategic effort for Steward Health and 1199SEIU/Massachusetts to create a labor management partnership through intensive interest based bargaining; participated in research project and field work with senior faculty of ILR to study Integration of clinical and organizational services in the Staten Island Preferred Provider System, part of New York State Medicaid Reform; participated in research study regarding hiring and deployment of Licensed Practical Nurses in Greater New York City region; Development of labor-management partnership between second largest health system in Rhode Island, Care New England and SEIU Healthcare 1199 New England; provide regular contributions to ILR Scheinman website; served for five years as a member of the Payment and Oversight Panel, State of New York, Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program
Please discuss one of your most interesting clients, the services provided and the impact it made: Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and the Union, SEIU Healthcare 1199 New England. I was contacted by the Union leadership in January, 2017, and continuing to the present. I have worked with labor and management to transform a 40 year traditional and hostile relationship to one of measured efforts in collaboration to achieve financial stability, career security and the management of change processes that reflect the interests of both parties. I provided coaching to both executives of the hospital and the union to create the environment for collaborative, problem solving dialogue; I provided interest based facilitation to departmental change which resulted in improved patient services and financial savings without lay-offs; I provided facilitation of collective bargaining for a full renewal collective bargaining agreement using interest based bargaining; facilitated discussions which led to financial savings and stability for a hospital with a long history of financial success, but over the past 5-7 years suffers from the lowered birth rates and lower reimbursement rates as women and child cases shifted to one of the highest Medicaid-eligible patient mixes in the country; facilitated on-going joint dialogue to maintain stability through merger discussions in 2018 and currently.
Advice you would give to students in the conflict resolution field: Learn as much as possible about labor organizing and collective bargaining. The world of work is often overlooked as among the largest sectors in which conflict resolution can have broad impact on social relations and social progress.
Additional thoughts: It has been a great opportunity to have support from and make contributions to the Outreach Division of ILR. After a lifetime of experience as a union leader, it is a testament to the leadership of ILR to support the work of practitioners like myself who can bring real world experience to the public and private sectors, and participate in the mission of the School for public service. ILR provides great hope to our increasingly polarized political culture through its leadership in teaching, research, and practice in all aspects of conflict resolution and its emphasis in the world of work. There is much society can learn from the resolution of conflict in the workplace that results in improved quality of products and services, affordability of those products and services, while creating the conditions for the best places to work.