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Career profile Labor Relations Specialist

Also known as Business Agent, Business Representative, Field Operations Coordinator, Grievance Manager, Labor Relations Specialist

Labor Relations Specialist

Also known as Business Agent, Business Representative, Field Operations Coordinator

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
  • Social
Pay Range
$19,520 - $128,600 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Law and Government
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
  • Monitor company or workforce adherence to labor agreements.
  • Present the position of the company or of labor during arbitration or other labor negotiations.
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What does a Labor Relations Specialist do?

Labor Relations Specialists resolve disputes between workers and managers, negotiate collective bargaining agreements, or coordinate grievance procedures to handle employee complaints.

What kind of tasks does a Labor Relations Specialist perform regularly?

Labor Relations Specialists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
  • Monitor company or workforce adherence to labor agreements.
  • Present the position of the company or of labor during arbitration or other labor negotiations.
  • Write letters related to labor relations activities, such as letters to amend collective bargaining agreements, letters of dispute or conciliation, or letters to seek clarification of contract terms.
  • Draft contract proposals or counter-proposals for collective bargaining or other labor negotiations.
  • Call or meet with union, company, government, or other interested parties to discuss labor relations matters, such as contract negotiations or grievances.
  • Interpret contractual agreements for employers and employees engaged in collective bargaining or other labor relations processes.
  • Assess the impact of union proposals on company or government operations.
  • Investigate and evaluate union complaints or arguments to determine viability.
  • Recommend collective bargaining strategies, goals, or objectives.
  • Prepare evidence for disciplinary hearings, including preparing witnesses to testify.
  • Propose resolutions for collective bargaining or other labor or contract negotiations.
  • Mediate discussions between employer and employee representatives in attempt to reconcile differences.
  • Review and approve employee disciplinary actions, such as written reprimands, suspensions, or terminations.
  • Assess risk levels associated with collective bargaining strategies.
  • Advise management on matters related to the administration of contracts or employee discipline or grievance procedures.
  • Select mediators or arbitrators for labor disputes or contract negotiations.
  • Review employer practices or employee data to ensure compliance with contracts on matters such as wages, hours, or conditions of employment.
  • Draft rules or regulations to govern collective bargaining activities in collaboration with company, government, or employee representatives.
  • Train managers or supervisors on topics related to labor relations, such as working conditions, safety, or equal opportunity practices.
  • Provide expert testimony in legal proceedings related to labor relations or labor contracts.
  • Identify alternatives to proposals of unions, employees, companies, or government agencies.
  • Develop methods to monitor employee satisfaction with policies or working conditions, including grievance or complaint procedures.
  • Research case law or outcomes of previous case hearings.
  • Schedule or coordinate the details of grievance hearings or other meetings.

The above responsibilities are specific to Labor Relations Specialists. More generally, Labor Relations Specialists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Labor Relations Specialist salary?

The median salary for a Labor Relations Specialist is $73,240, and the average salary is $74,870. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Labor Relations Specialist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Labor Relations Specialists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Labor Relations Specialists earn less than $19,520 per year, 25% earn less than $46,440, 75% earn less than $99,940, and 90% earn less than $128,600.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Labor Relations Specialists is expected to change by -4.4%, and there should be roughly 6,400 open positions for Labor Relations Specialists every year.

Median annual salary
$73,240
Typical salary range
$19,520 - $128,600
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-4.4%

What personality traits are common among Labor Relations Specialists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Labor Relations Specialist are usually higher in their Enterprising, Conventional, and Social interests.

Labor Relations Specialists typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Labor Relations Specialists typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Labor Relations Specialists typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Labor Relations Specialist tend to value Achievement, Relationships, and Support.

Most importantly, Labor Relations Specialists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Labor Relations Specialists strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Labor Relations Specialists strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Labor Relations Specialists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and analytical thinking.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Labor Relations Specialists, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Labor Relations Specialists need?

Many Labor Relations Specialists will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Labor Relations Specialists usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Labor Relations Specialists

  • 1.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 8.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 17.6% completed some college coursework
  • 8.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 45.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 17.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 2.0% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Labor Relations Specialists

Labor Relations Specialists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as personnel and human resources, law and government, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Labor Relations Specialists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Personnel and Human Resources
Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Labor Relations Specialists

Labor Relations Specialists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Labor Relations Specialists need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Labor Relations Specialists, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Labor Relations Specialists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Labor Relations Specialists frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Labor Relations Specialists, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Negotiation
Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.