In today’s economic climate, many employees are fearful of losing their jobs, and employers know the difficulties associated with finding quality replacements when a good employee exits the company. At a time when both labor and management genuinely want to hold on to what they have, working together has never been more important, nor held such promise.

According to Dr. Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the American worker is shifting gears. “There also are more grateful employees in a downturn, and this can lead to productivity gains. In fact, the level of productivity in the U.S. has risen in the past few months. It is not that business wants to see economic stress visited on their employees and others, but when times are too good and for too long, the culture of work changes, and not always in a good way.”

Is Dr. Kuehl actually saying that in really good times, workers get lazy? And, in really bad times, workers try harder? No. It couldn’t be!

If it is true, then now is a perfect time for employees and owners to sit down and map out a better future together - a more productive future.

When the going gets tough … the American people change. We have recently seen gasoline consumption decline; automotive companies are even imploring the American public to drive less. Yes, we know how to change with a downturn in the times.

If this is indeed a time for rebalancing the American economy, then it may be a good opportunity for labor and management to work together even more closely.