Top Ten Moments in Labour Relations (h/t @Buzzfeed)

Winnipeg General Strike, 1919

Winnipeg General Strike, 1919

Yeah, OK. So sometimes I go for the cheap clicks. Sue me. Who am I to argue with a successful formula?

Ben Hur – Row well, and live

Jack Hawkins susses out Chuck Heston in less than a minute — and then lays down the law. As the uppity employee, Chuck gets a quick lesson in shop-floor culture, and how to maintain his focus.

Ten Commandments – Blood makes poor mortar

Chuck had the chops. Here, as a manager, he displays a pragmatic approach to workplace conflict, and finds a way to combine compassionate leadership with efficient use of resources.

Blazing Saddles – Give us a song

It’s not clear whether this is a union shop, but as a de facto leader, Cleavon Little finds a way to motivate his comrades and keep up morale in the face of unenlightened and clueless managers.

On the Waterfront – John Friendly, come out of there

In spite of it all, I’ll allow that unions, even though they’re democratic institutions, can occasionally become unresponsive or fail to advance their members’ interests. Here, Marlon Brando and Lee J. Cobb demonstrate the proper way to hold union leadership to account.

Game of Thrones – It is done

Sooner or later, any workplace will have to adjust to new ownership and / or new management. Some adjustments are more successful than others; the key, always, is attitude and open-mindedness.

Mutiny on the Bounty – He’s been drinking sea water, sir

As this exchange between Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard illustrates, conflicts aren’t necessarily limited to management versus staff. Sometimes, the lines of communication between middle managers and executives become strained. While this may be an extreme example, it can happen in any workplace. (Also, judging from Trevor Howard’s smile, this company didn’t have much of a dental plan.)

Swimming with Sharks – You. Have. No. Brain.

As Kevin Spacey shows, effective managers take the time to ensure that new employees are properly oriented and understand their roles, and that the expectations of them are clearly spelled out.

A Christmas Carol – You’ll want the whole day off tomorrow, I suppose

Sometimes managers can be decent and compassionate of their own accord, but wouldn’t you rather not have to gamble on it? If it’s a choice between an organized workforce or visits from spirits, well, I know which way I’d go.

Glengarry Glen Ross – Third prize is you’re fired

Bullying. Intimidation. Unhealthy competition. Unrealistic performance expectations. A toxic work environment. Alec Baldwin may believe he’s got the key to motivating the staff here, but really, would you want this guy for a boss? Guy needs to dance with Bucky Dornster.

WKRP in Cincinnati – I’ll join the union if you can tell me where Jimmy Hoffa is

OK, I got nothing here. Les Nessman was always the intellectual heart of the show, and goddamnit, he’s got a point here.

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