Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?
Here is a work of fiction based upon a real conversation between a union president and the owner of a company during labor contract negotiations.
I hope you enjoy the brief exchange.
Negotiations were going nowhere. Jimmy, the union president, met privately with Dwayne, the company’s founder and CEO. They sat stoic in Dwayne’s office.
“Listen, Dwayne,” Jimmy said. “We got to compromise if this contact is ever going to get approved. So meet me half way.”
“I’m gonna tell you a little secret, Jimmy,” Dwayne said. “Cause I like you and I want you to see where you and the union stand. I didn’t build this company on compromise. I never compromised when it came to production, expectation, and quality. I set a high and low before I walk into a meeting with anyone. You got my high and that’s it.”
“We’ll walk than,” Jimmy said.
“Than walk,” Dwayne said.
“What about the stockholders?” Jimmy said.
“Don’t care,” Dwayne said. “I’ve made my money. I can get out at anytime.”
“Can you at least see things from my perspective?” Jimmy said.
“Let’s be honest, you can only see things from your own perspective,” Dwayne said. “You will never see my perspective. I can rush across the street to see what you see, but it‘s still my eyes, my brain, and my prejudice.”
“So what is the solution?” Jimmy said.
“It’s all perspective. We meet in the middle of the street,” Dwayne said. “And once you are there with me half the battle is won. Now I can drag you the rest of the way.”
“That’s not perspective,” Jimmy said.
“It sure is! Dwayne said. “From your perspective you’re meeting me half way to shake hands and compromise. From my perspective we’re meeting half way and as for you offering a hand, well that’s like pulling a man about to get hit by a speeding car. Don’t tell me it’s not perspective.”
Jimmy smiled. “I got the feeling you’re even driving the car.”
Yeah,” Dwayne said. “51 Hudson Hornet, straight six, 305, won the Daytona two years in a row, built and looked like a tank.”