Senior Consultant, Employee & Labor Relations 
Job Posted: 9 January 2020
Company: University of Chicago
Closing Date: until filled
Location: Chicago, IL


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About the Unit

The Employee and Labor Relations Unit is a highly responsive Center of Expertise within Human Resources (HR) that delivers the full spectrum of employee and labor relations consultation to the UChicago campus.

Job Summary:

1) The Senior Consultant, Employee and Labor Relations (ELR) independently advises HR Partners (HRPs), managers and supervisors in academic and administrative units regarding the full scope of employment decisions and employment-related issues for union and non-union staff employees, with occasional direction on more complex matters from the Executive Director of ELR.  In addition, the Senior Consultant is responsible for the administration and interpretation of staff policy and labor agreements.

2) The Senior Consultant performs various employee and labor relations duties including giving advice on corrective action (including termination), workplace behavior problems, performance management, conflict resolution, restructuring and layoffs.  The Senior Consultant has a thorough technical understanding of employment laws, including Title VII, ADEA, FMLA, ADA, FLSA, NLRA and state-specific employment laws as well as an in-depth understanding of UChicago policies. 

3) The Senior Consultant works directly with Unit HR Partners to interpret these laws and policies and to apply them in a wide variety of employment situations.  

4) The Senior Consultant works both independently and as a member of the ELR team to build positive, respectful relationships with clients throughout the University, with employees, and unions representing University employees. The Senior Consultant is a member of the broader ELR team, which functions as a cohesive and collaborative group.  All members of the team are expected to exhibit good judgment and cross-check their thinking with one another as issues, both straight-forward and complex in nature, are addressed.

5) Consult with University Units (HRPs, Managers, and Supervisors)

  • Advise on work-related problems to determine if issues are employee or labor relations driven.
  • Independently use discretion to interpret UChicago HR policies, labor agreements and apply them to the facts when providing advice to HR professionals, managers, supervisors and employees, ensuring consistency.
  • Analyze, design and recommend solutions, utilizing data and information gathered as well as professional experience.
  • Conciliate and/or mediate to resolve employee relations issues.
  • Assist HRPs in developing counseling and corrective action documents, performance appraisals and work rules.
  • Ensure consistent and proper application of corrective action procedures.
  • Advise on employment policy, labor agreements and bargaining unit issues.
  • Analyze proposed reorganizing plans.
  • Independently partner with units to investigate, formulate, and resolve complaints and issues using collaborative problem solving.
  • Conduct workplace investigations, prepare investigatory reports and responses to administrative agencies and university officials.
  • Refer HRPs to other HR Centers of Expertise as appropriate.
  • Provide information to employees regarding HR policies and employment law, directing them to support resources.

6) Serve as an Advisor to Colleagues in other HR Centers of Expertise, Providing ELR Expertise

  • Help review and analyze a variety of HR issues (e.g., policy revision proposals, internal procedures and protocols), providing advice to colleagues from an ELR perspective.

7) Provide Training to the HR Community on ELR Issues

  • Design and present ELR-related training programs for the broader HR community.
  • Plan and facilitate information sharing programs on relevant ELR topics for HRPs, managers and administrators.
  • Play a lead role in developing and managing large scale, enterprise-wide employee and labor relations programs.

8) Support Labor Relations

  • Serve as second chair on UChicago collective bargaining teams for assigned labor agreements, and occasionally serve as first chair with appropriate direction from the Executive Director.Ensure completeness and accuracy of the collective bargaining record.
  • Draft labor agreement language and represent management in meetings with union representatives.
  • With appropriate direction from the Executive Director, preside at grievance meetings and assist the University advocate in preparing for and conducting arbitration hearings.

Unit Preferred Competencies


  1. Demonstrated skill in analyzing information, problems, situations, practices and/or procedures to define the problem or objective, identify relevant concerns, identify patterns and relationships, formulate logical and objective conclusions, and recommend alternatives and their implications.
  2. Simultaneously work on multiple complex matters for departments with varying missions across campus.
  3. Experience in conducting formal investigations within unionized and non-unionized environments.
  4. Excellent oral and written communication skills with varying levels of personnel, including colleagues, managers, etc.
  5. Proven skills and abilities in conflict resolution; excellent decision making, judgment and discretion skills; manage multiple tasks and assignments simultaneously and set priorities; work in a team environment.
  6. Work independently under pressure and to efficiently complete assignments in a timely manner.
  7. Strong critical and creative thinking skills.
  8. Interpret and apply University policy, procedures and management goals; conceptual and oral communication skills to explain University and local policies and procedures.
  9. Expertise with Microsoft Office Suite, proficient PC skills. 
  10. Familiarity with higher education and the issues unique to these settings.
  11. Knowledge of UChicago labor contracts, policies, practices and procedures.

Education, Experience, and Certifications

  • Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.
  • Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Preferred Qualifications


1) Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Management, Business Administration, or related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience.


1) Five or more years of experience performing labor and employee relations duties with progressively increasing responsibilities or equivalent combination of experience.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.