Careers at UMass Amherst

Labor Relations Specialist (Hybrid)

Apply now Job no: 522728
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Human Resources
Union: Non-Unit Exempt
Categories: Human Resources

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

Under the general direction of the Senior Director of HR Partnerships & Labor Relations, the Labor Relations Specialist is responsible for supporting the day-to-day administration of the University's collective bargaining agreements covering staff. This position serves as the first point of contact for routine labor relations issues including grievance processing and requests for information.


Essential Functions

  • Labor & Employee Relations
    • Builds relationships with employee representatives, including union leadership.
    • Supports union contract negotiations, including preparing documentation, coordinating scheduled dates and note taking, and drafting proposals.
    • Ensures compliance with collective bargaining agreements and employment policies.
    • Assists in training supervisors and managers on best practices in areas of performance management, discipline, grievance handling, and other LR matters.
    • Coordinates the grievance process, including serving as step 1 in the grievance process.
  • Analysis & Reporting
    • Processes and responds to low-complexity union grievances and data collection/coordination for Requests for Information (RFIs), preparing reports independently and assisting other Labor Relations team members as needed.
    • Gathers and reviews data, conducts research, coordinates with relevant managers, and prepares analysis, reports, and recommendations.
    • Conducts job analyses to identify competencies related to performance in various classifications.
    • Analyzes processes, policies, and procedures using human resources reporting and documentation to develop recommendations for changes in operations.
    • Analyzes employee related investigations, disciplinary actions, separations, and exit interview information to identify trends and inform reporting.
    • Analyzes human resources transaction documents and reports for employee appointments, promotions, demotions, reclassifications, flex class changes, separations, terminations, transfers, retirement, and information changes in operating agencies to identify trends, changes, and other relevant factors and inform reporting.
    • Analyzes leave and attendance documents, overtime reports and payroll, longevity, and performance evaluation processing documents in addition to other human resources transactions activities to identify trends, changes, and respond to requests for information.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving & Counseling
    • Counsels managers on performance and conduct matters. Provides a range of discipline options or alternatives.
    • Ensures that employment functions, policies, and procedures comply with state and federal regulations and assists with filing appropriate reports to government agencies.
    • Advises internal and external business partners on the appropriate application of departmental, state, and federal laws, rules, regulations, guidelines, policies, and procedures for human resources decision making to ensure compliance and effective business practices.
    • Assists internal business partners with investigations of employee relations issues according to departmental, state, and federal laws, rules, regulations, guidelines, processes, and procedures to develop an action plan for resolving the issue.
    • Provides guidance on contract interpretation and application.
    • Partners with HR colleagues to effectively implement cross-functional solutions to common concerns.


Other Functions

Performs other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor’s Degree, with three (3) years' experience or six (6) years of progressive experience in Human Resources or Labor Relations.
  • Knowledge of employee and labor relations practices and federal and state regulations pertaining to labor issues.
  • Knowledge of performance management practices.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work in a confidential environment.
  • Exceptional levels of professionalism and tact.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Master’s Degree in business, industrial relations, conflict resolution or related field or J.D.
  • Experience in labor or industrial relations.
  • Experience with the collective bargaining process.
  • Experience in drafting proposals in bargaining.
  • Experience in the public sector.
  • Experience in higher education.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical office environment.


Work Schedule

Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

This position has the opportunity for a hybrid work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where an employee’s work is regularly performed at a location other than the campus workspace for a portion of the week. As this position is non-unit, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Non-Unit (Professional/or Classified) Employee Personnel Policy.


Salary Information

Level 26.

Exempt Hiring Ranges.


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume. References will be checked at the finalist stage, please be prepared to provide contact information for three (3) professional references. Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis until the position is filled. 


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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