Chief Negotiator, Human Resources
Job Posted: 10 February, 2021
Company: Renton School District
Closing Date: 19 February, 2021 for first consideration, open until filled. 
Location: Renton, WA


Reports to: Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources
Bargaining Unit: Non-unit Administrator, Executive Director A
FLSA Status: Exempt

Position Summary

The Renton School District seeks a dynamic leader to serve as Chief Negotiator for our richly diverse and progressive district. This leader champions the District’s core values of service, excellence and equity in all aspects of the work, with the mission of assuring that each student graduates with options and is prepared to participate in our democracy. This leader reports to the Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources and partners with the high performing executive leadership team to coordinate all labor relations activities involving certificated, classified/support staff and non-represented units. The Chief Negotiator leads and directs the critical functions of labor relations and collective bargaining for the certificated and classified units. This leader is responsible for negotiating and interpreting collective bargaining agreements and works with the School Board, executive team, and union leaders to implement and manage agreements. The Chief Negotiator works collaboratively with union leaders to improve and align labor relations with the District’s core values, mission, and vision.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serves as the District’s Chief Negotiator for the certificated and classified/support unions. In collaboration with the Superintendent and executive leadership, establish bargaining targets and parameters and arrive at equitable and collaborative agreements. Interprets collective bargaining agreements for management and the public.
  • Serves as a strategic advisor and technical expert to the Superintendent and executive leadership regarding collective bargaining, employee relations, compensation, and employee investigations.
  • Provides technical expertise and information regarding union relations, contract interpretation, investigation best practices, and participates in the formulation of policies, procedures and programs; advises on trends or challenges and recommends appropriate courses of action.
  • Provides direction and expertise in the employee grievance process. Advises management on grievance trends and works with administrators on specific issues. Conducts pre-arbitration mediation.
  • Oversees, strategically guides and fosters collaborative and positive labor-management relations, contract negotiations, and contract administration.
  • Leads and fosters interest based labor management and bargaining philosophy and actions consistent with a continuous improvement and learning model.
  • Works with leadership to assure that disciplinary actions and decisions are contract and due process compliant, with systemic consistency; directs and oversees prompt and effective investigations into employee complaints and disciplinary matters. Serves as a leader and catalyst for a supportive, respectful, culturally competent work culture.
  • Provides leadership and technical support to district leaders in conducting effective and supportive performance evaluations that are legally and contractually compliant;
  • In collaboration with executive team partners, guides and supports district leaders in their evaluations to retain high performing staff and to address poor performers.
  • Performs ongoing assessment of District’s labor relations positions and agreements. Provides recommendations and support for management decision-making processes related to collective bargaining agreements.
  • Serves as a member of the Human Resources Management Team.
  • Maintains connections with individuals outside the district including frequent contact with PSESD and OSPI officials, Human Resources officials from other school districts, and legal counsel
  • Delivers presentations to District management and the Board of Directors, on District negotiations and labor relations.
  • Facilitates meetings, workshops, seminars and inservices; represents the District at local, state and national organizations.
  • Coaches, develops and grows the District bargaining team representatives by providing feedback and developing a strong culture of collaboration and growth.
  • May provide support to the Human Resources Department in responding to public records requests.
  • Builds a district culture that is inclusive, representative of the populations of students served, and reflective of the district’s mission and values.
  • Articulates and builds a culture that promotes and embraces diversity at all levels, managing formal and informal programs to promote a culturally thoughtful and responsive workforce.
  • Develops and conducts ongoing training sessions for leadership and staff in relevant policies, evaluation protocols, and contractual compliance matters.
  • Responsible for minimizing litigation and other potential losses relating to human resource matters.

Other tasks and responsibilities are assigned to be responsive to meet organizational needs

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree from a 4-year accredited college or university (a degree in Human Resources, Organizational Development, I/O Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, or related field is desirable).
  • 5 or more years’ progressive experience in a role with direct responsibility related to labor law, labor relations/union negotiations.
  • Experience managing, developing and leading high-performing teams towards successful outcomes.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree from a 4-year accredited college or university degree in Human Resources, Organizational Development, I/O Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, or related field desirable.
  • 6 or more years of experience leading negotiations/labor relations in a full service school district, municipal, state or Federal public agency.
  • PK-12 public education experience.
  • Demonstrated success implementing and leading complex and collaborative leadership projects.
  • System thinker with the ability to develop and strategically implement specific, tangible plans.
  • Proven ability to work effectively with racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse staff, students, and community to bring groups together towards common goals.
  • Experience in project management, including the ability to identify, develop and deploy resources across multiple initiatives.
  • Demonstrated culturally responsive leadership and communication skills. Ability to build consensus and resolve conflict; exhibits willingness to have difficult conversations.
  • Demonstrated ability to skillfully navigate existing political structures/systems.
  • Skilled at re-envisioning, building and managing a team, especially in a time of growth and change; excellent at identifying talent and building skills and contributions to team effort.
  • Exceptional communication ability, both written and oral. Ability to listen and accept feedback constructively.
  • Possess high emotional intelligence skills. Experience with Change Management Strategies.
  • Unwavering personal integrity with demonstrated commitment to District’s core values.
  • Ability to lead in a fast paced, demanding, constantly changing environment.

Working Relationships

This leader reports to the Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, and works collaboratively with the Deputy Superintendent. This leader interacts regularly with district and school administrators and union leaders as well as maintaining connections with individuals outside of the district including frequent contact with PSESD and OSPI officials, Human Resources officials from other school districts, and legal counsel. This leader maintains professional development through appropriate professional associations.

Working Conditions

The daily work of this position is performed in an office setting and at various sites within the district. This leader is often required to be exposed to computer display terminals for prolonged periods; work long hours beyond the normal workday; and meet externally imposed and inflexible deadlines. Additionally, this leader is sometimes required to attend evening meetings or activities; sit for prolonged periods and deal with distraught, angry, or hostile individuals.

Apply here.