Associate Director/Chief Negotiator - Labor Relations
Job Posted: 15 April 2022
Company: University of California Office of the President
Closing Date: 14 July 2022
Location: Oakland, CA


Link to application

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Systemwide Labor Relations is responsible for negotiating and administering 14 systemwide labor agreements and 20 local agreements with 9 unions, covering over 94,000 academic and staff employees across the UC system. 


This incumbent plays a key role in furthering the University’s mission and labor relations goals, which includes fulfillment of its collective-bargaining obligations under the California Higher Education Employee-Employer Relations Act (HEERA).  The incumbent represents the University of California as the primary spokesperson in labor negotiations for system-wide collective-bargaining units, leads in the interpretation and administration of system-wide collective-bargaining agreements, and serves as the OPLR liaison to UC campuses and medical centers concerning the negotiation and administration of local collective-bargaining agreements. Incumbent is responsible for fostering and maintaining effective and collegial relationships with internal and external stakeholders – including labor unions - while pursuing the University’s strategic goals and objectives.  Incumbent will apply sound judgment, critical thinking, problem solving, and independence in managing difficult negotiations, contract implementation, contract administration, and developing solutions to a variety of complex issues.  The incumbent will have a high level of independence and accountability in the performance of all responsibilities.



Collective-Bargaining: Serves as the University’s lead spokesperson and bargaining team lead in system-wide collective-bargaining negotiations including, but not limited to: first contract bargaining, successor contract bargaining, mid-term contract bargaining, decisional and impact bargaining, and accretion bargaining.  Develop and apply appropriate bargaining strategies to a wide variety of difficult, omplex or highly adversarial situations, demonstrating the University’s continuous good faith in negotiations and compliance with HEERA. In regular consultation with the OPLR Executive Director or designee, identify the University’s bargaining goals and objectives before and during negotiations and – when necessary- impasse procedures. Compile, research, analyze, and prepare bargaining data and parameters. Coordinate with appropriate campus and system-wide stakeholders to develop appropriate bargaining goals and strategies, parameters, and proposal language. Identify University objectives/initiatives, union issues and possible UC responses – both in advance of negotiations for strategic planning and during negotiations as new issues arise or bargaining dynamics require. Proactively develop, recommend, and prepare a bargaining strategy for each contract negotiation.  Apply a high level knowledge of policies, operational needs, salary and budget issues for cogent and persuasive presentation at the bargaining table, calling in subject matter experts as necessary to influence negotiations. Ensure that unions are timely notified and any applicable bargaining obligations are met concerning updates or changes to terms and conditions of employment or other important matters as determined by the OPLR Executive Director. Timely and appropriately respond to union requests for information in connection with bargaining. Identify, at the earliest possible stage, issues which are contrary to the University’s goals and strategies, and timely apprise the OPLR Executive Director with the issue, options for resolution, and recommended courses of action.


Contract Implementation, Administration, and Dispute Resolution: Implements and administers collective bargaining agreements to ensure alignment with University objectives.  Plays a lead role in ensuring that the University complies with its obligations under HEERA and its collective-bargaining agreements for which the incumbent is responsible.  Working with appropriate Labor Relations staff, provides guidance to constituents as to the interpretation and application of collective bargaining agreements.  Assists appropriate Labor Relations staff in responding to grievances and requests for information. In collaboration with Labor Relations staff review Step 3 grievance decisions to ensure compliance with and appropriate application of collective-bargaining agreements.  In complex grievance cases, assist with drafting decision memoranda with recitation of the facts, applicable CBA provisions, analysis of the issues, and recommended courses of action.  Drafts reports and memoranda to the OPLR Executive Director and other key leadership on a variety issues including, but not limited to: dispute resolution, grievances, arbitrations, settlements, and local parameter requests.  Provides appropriate guidance, assistance, and support concerning local collective-bargaining agreements.  Review and provide recommendations for local parameter requests.  Timely escalate issues with significant risk or impact to the OPLR Executive Director.  


Collaboration and Coordination: Collaborate with other University divisions including, but not limited to, campus and medical center personnel, UC Legal, Communications, State Government Relations, etc. ensure the furtherance of the University’s labor relations and collective-bargaining objectives. Provides OPLR guidance, instruction, feedback, and updates to internal stakeholders. This includes, but is not limited to, collaborating on responses to media or legislative inquiries, legislative actions, and correspondence from internal and external stakeholders.  Serves on University committees as assigned and chairs/co-chairs meetings with or on behalf of the OPLR Executive Director.  Facilitates and leads discussions with labor unions toward the resolution of disputes and ensuring healthy labor-management relations. 


In consultation with the OPLR Executive Director (or designee) and UC Legal, collaborate with internal stakeholders on grievances, arbitrations and Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) proceedings. Play a principal role in advising locations and their legal representatives on grievances and litigation/settlement strategy in arbitrations and PERB proceedings involving those collective bargaining agreements for which incumbent is responsible. Testifies as University witness in arbitration and unfair labor practice cases.  In connection with systemwide bargaining - communicates with PERB regarding impasse details, prepare and submit impasse position statements, represent the University during impasse proceedings, and assist in the selection process for Mediator and Factfinder. Serve as UC advocate or Fact-finding Panel member during fact-finding procedure.  When necessary assist UC Legal and/or outside counsel with the presentation of the university’s case before PERB, arbitrators, and any other adjudicative body as determined by the OPLR Executive Director.


Required Qualifications


  • Master’s degree in Business Administration, Human Resources, or related area and minimum 10 relevant experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Ten years of experience in labor relations in the public or private sector, preferably in a large, multi-faceted organization.
  • Minimum five (5) years of experience in collective-bargaining negotiations, three (3) of which as chief negotiator.  
  • Three (3) years experience administering labor grievance and arbitration procedures, including dispute resolution.
  • Three (3) years of experience drafting collective-bargaining proposals,  contract language, and letters of understanding


  • Strong critical thinking and analytical skills to assess and competently engage in on-going problem solving including those that potentially impacting the University’s strategic goals, budget and/or mission, and to effectively address the most complicated issues/problems.
  • Strong negotiation skills as demonstrated by the ability to articulate a specific position and persuade as necessary, presenting ideas and proposals in a convincing manner to influence negotiations outcome.
  • Excellent analytical, research, and writing skills as demonstrated by the ability to develop, assess, and synthesize information and recommendations from a wide variety of sources on a broad range of issues to formulate program, policy, and service recommendations.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of principles and practices of human resources programs and associated legal and procedural requirements and federal and state rules and regulations; thorough knowledge of labor and employment laws and collective bargaining terms.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills as demonstrated by the ability to articulate complex information and issues clearly, concisely, and persuasively using appropriate grammar, vocabulary, and business style.
  • Strong interpersonal skills as demonstrated by the ability to interact collaboratively and productively with diverse staff within UCOP, at the campuses, medical centers and with other universities and higher education associations, and proven ability to represent University positions effectively to external constituencies and other colleagues. Ability to develop and maintain positive and respectful working relationships with union leadership, including during adversarial situations.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team in a collaborative environment, build consensus and promote the exchange of ideas among project team members, project management staff, and internal units.
  • Project management and organizational skills to plan and independently execute projects/tasks within specific and sudden deadlines, and successfully assess, balance, and prioritize numerous competing concerns; ability to teach, motivate, and influence others in order to accomplish a goal.
  • Demonstrated ability to function in a complex institutional environment. Ability to apply judgment and political acumen in problem solving; ability to understand interrelated needs of campuses, UCOP, and/or bargaining unions while being conscious of alternatives and their consequences.
  • Proficiency with MS Office Suite and other standard office software; experience with databases and web-based applications.

Preferred Qualifications

  •  A juris doctorate degree is strongly preferred.
  • Three (3) years health care experience.
  • Three (3) years of experience in higher education labor relations
  • Human Resources Professional Certification (SHRM-CP or PHR).
  • Senior Human Resources Professional Certification (SHRM-SCP or SPHR)


Salary: The recommended hiring range is $140,000.00 to $180,000.00.  Commensurate with experience.

Benefits: For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University visit: Benefits of Belonging


This position is primarily remote (for California residents) with occasional onsite LR meetings in Northern and/or Southern California.


Please be prepared to attach a cover letter and resume with your application.


The first review date for this job is April 8, 2022.  The position will be open until filled.


Background Check Process: Successful completion of a background check is required for this critical position. Background check process at UCOP

Smoke Free Work Environment: The University of California, Office of the President, is smoke & tobacco-free as of January 1, 2014. UC Smoke & Tobacco Free Policy

August 2021 Update:  The University of California has issued a policy requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID -19 before physically accessing the University location or programs. Upon hire into a UCOP position, you will be provided detailed instructions on how to comply with this policy including access to the COVID vaccination at no cost. New hires to UCOP who work onsite or will come onsite for any activities at a UCOP or other UC location must comply with this policy within 8 weeks after their start date. The policy allows for employees to request approval for an exception or deferral. UC COVID-19 Vaccine Policy


The University of California, Office of the President, is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. EEO/AA Employer UC Nondiscrimination Policy

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