Labor Relations Director - Remote
Job Posted: 11 November 2022
Company: University of California Office of the President
Closing Date: 9 February 2023
Location: Oakland, CA


Link to application and full position listing

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At the University of California (UC), your contributions make a difference. A world leader producing Nobel and Pulitzer prize recipients with over 150 years of groundbreaking research transforming the world. Choose a career where you can leverage your knowledge, skills and aspirations to inspire and support some of the greatest minds in the world, and those who will follow in their footsteps. Working at the University of California is being part of a unique institution, and a vibrant and diverse community. At the University of California, Office of the President, we propel our mission through impactful work locally, in government centers and systemwide. We are passionate people, serving the greater good.

The University of California, one of the largest and most acclaimed institutions of higher learning in the world, is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and public service. The University of California Office of the President is the headquarters to the 10 campuses, six academic medical centers and three national laboratories and enrolls premier students from California, the nation and the world. Learn more about the UC Office of the President


Office of the President Labor Relations (OPLR), also known as Systemwide Labor Relations is responsible for negotiating and administering 15 systemwide labor agreements and 22 local agreements with 17 unions covering over 134,000 academic and staff employees across the UC system. This includes bargaining on first contracts, successor contracts, accretion, impacts and effects bargaining, mid-term modifications and the sunshine process. Administering the systemwide and local collective bargaining agreements also involves contract interpretation, contract implementation, grievance processing, handling formal requests for information, collaboration and coordination with Systemwide Human Resources departments, union communication, and providing training, advice and counsel to local labor relations staff across the system. Other key components that fall within the scope of OPLR include monitoring and ensuring compliance with bargaining agreements and legislation regarding contracting out services. OPLR collaborates closely with key partners within UCOP including the Office of General Counsel (OGC) on labor-related litigation activity, the Office of State Governmental Relations (SGR) in representing the University’s position on legislative, budgetary and policy matters concerning labor relations and collective bargaining, and the Strategic Communications and Media Relations team to respond to media inquiries and develop messaging on labor relations and collective bargaining matters for internal and external stakeholders.


Reporting to the Executive Director of Systemwide Labor Relations, this incumbent is a high-level Labor and Employee Relations supervisor who provides expert labor relations support and guidance to labor relations professionals in the Office of the President, Labor Relations (“OPLR”) and throughout the system.  Incumbent supervises, directs, and evaluates a team of Associate Directors who also serve as chief negotiators for the University’s systemwide collective-bargaining agreements. Incumbent also regularly interfaces with labor organization/union leaders, and utilizes advanced and specialized labor relations expertise to direct and supervise chief negotiators, and other labor relations staff as needed.  The incumbent  provides  active oversight of collective-bargaining negotiations, and strategic planning and preparation for negotiations and other bargaining-related responsibilities.  The Incumbent  regularly partners with the Executive Director and other leadership in identifying  and resolving e highly complex labor relations issues in meaningful and effective ways that are consistent with the University’s values and overall labor relations priorities

Expected to be a self-starter and to work at a high-level independently and/or with little direct supervision as well as possess the ability to identify and offer creative solutions to complex issues. Works in an effective and collaborative manner with diverse stakeholders (internal and external) across the organization. Able to lead by example in the supervision of high-level labor relations staff; effectively manage relationships, time and workload in-person and remotely; and effectively execute job duties (producing superior outcomes) both in person and remotely. Advanced oral and written communication skills (including an understanding and command of labor relations terminology and legal concepts) are essential to this role.



CONTRACT NEGOTIATION AND ADMINISTRATION - Play a lead strategic role in overseeing collective-bargaining negotiations (planning, preparation, and execution) both in-person and remotely. Interact directly with union representatives at and away from the bargaining table as needed to support chief negotiators.  Supervise a team of chief negotiators  who provide guidance to constituents as to contract negotiation, interpretation, application, and administration.  Provide guidance to OPLR staff as needed in responding to grievances particularly where outcome of the  grievance hinges upon the interpretation of contract language. Ensuring that the Executive Director is fully apprised of matters with significant organizational or economic impact. Interprets collective-bargaining agreements and advises labor and employee relations professionals at all levels in all aspects of labor and employee relations matters. Provides guidance and leadership with respect to labor relations matters and dispute resolution to campus clients and OPLR staff.  Manage the University's compliance with collective-bargaining agreements, applicable Regents policies, and University policies and programs. Serves on various University committees as the systemwide Labor Relations subject matter expert and representative.


LEADERSHIP AND SUPERVISION – Lead by example and provide regular guidance, supervision, and direction to Associate Directors who manage the University’s relationship with various labor unions, serve as chief negotiators for systemwide contracts, and serve as advisers and liaisons to campuses in connection with local collective-bargaining negotiations.   Supervise Associate directors with respect to their role and responsibilities regarding contract interpretation and administration at the systemwide and local levels.  This includes: contract contract compliance, grievance processing, responding to union information requests, dispute resolution, labor-management relations, and parameter requests. Ensure that all departmental process and procedures are consistently followed. Identify professional development, training, and mentoring opportunities and solutions for Associate Directors and other OPLR staff.  Evaluate, train, and counsel Associate Directors and, as directed, other OPLR staff  Plays a lead role in planning, developing, and executing comprehensive labor relations policies, procedures, programs and strategies. Drafts and reviews strategy documents, reports, briefings, and other high-level documents as necessary or assigned. Responsible for overseeing day-to-day contract negotiations and providing appropriate guidance and instruction to Labor Relations Staff.


LABOR-MANAGEMENT SUPPORT - Advises labor and employee relations professionals on bargaining strategies, contract administration, contract compliance, grievance processing, risk mitigation and dispute resolution. Attends meetings with Union leadership on behalf of the Executive Director when necessary and appropriate. Ensures timely notification to Unions and internal stakeholders on various matters as necessary, required or instructed. Chairs meetings with Labor and Employee Relations professionals across the system. Serves on various Systemwide


COLLABORATION AND COORDINATION Collaborates and coordinates with other divisions within the Office of the President including Office of General Counsel, Communications, State Government Relations, and Academic Personnel as necessary and directed by the Executive Director. Works in a highly collaborative manner with people of diverse cultures and at all levels to effectively advise location managers and human resource professionals on highly complex labor relations and employment law implications relating to individual and location issues or courses of action and to build consensus with other organizations regarding labor relations objectives, writing contract language, developing bargaining strategies, addressing concerns of employees, and maintaining effective relationships with the unions.


PROCESS IMPROVMENT Working with the Executive Director in the development of departmental processes and procedures for the effective and efficient management of work and caseload. Ensures that process and procedures are consistently followed throughout the department. Plays a lead role in developing and delivering highly-specialized labor and employee relations education and awareness programs for all management levels; plans and directs training programs on labor relations, CBA administration, and contract compliance.  Plays a role in operational decision making concerning matters including, but not limited to: recruitment, retention, budget, and personnel matters.

Required Qualifications

  • 7-10 years experience in labor relations as a chief negotiator. 3-5 years of experience supervising labor relations staff whose regular duties included negotiating collective-bargaining agreements as first-chair, administering collective-bargaining agreements, labor-management relations, and regularly interfacing with labor unions
  • Strong critical and creative thinking skills to assess and competently engage in on-going problem solving of multifaceted issues including those that are directly at odds with the University’s strategic goals, budget and/or mission, and to effectively address the most complicated issues/problems; applies strategic thinking approaches to solving problems with the ability to see interrelated needs of stakeholders and plan members.
  • Ability to effectively assist, manage, direct, and evaluate several high-level labor relations professionals. Ability to inspire others and encourage collegial and professional working relationships. Ability to effectively introduce and execute positive change.
  • Excellent analytical and research 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 (e.g., HEERA, NLRA, FLSA, PRA, FMLA, Title VII).
  • 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 diverse 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. Requires advanced knowledge of the principles of advocacy, and applicable state and federal laws and court decisions.
  • Ability to work and supervise effectively in a remote, in person, and hybrid work setting. Proficiency with teleconferencing software (including but not limited to Zoom and Microsoft Teams), MS Office Suite and other standard office software; experience with databases and web-based applications.

Required Education

  • Master of Public Administration, Master of Industrial and Labor Relations, or Juris doctorate degree or an equivalent combination of professional experience and education. 7-10 years experience in labor and employee relations.  3-5 years of experience supervising labor relations staff whose regular duties included negotiating collective-bargaining agreements as first-chair, administering collective-bargaining agreements, labor-management relations, and regularly interfacing with labor unions

Preferred Qualifications

  • Juris Doctorate degree strongly preferred
  •  Healthcare industry experience desired
  • Higher Education experience desired


Salary: The recommended hiring range is $198,000.00 to $215,000.00.  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 November 22, 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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