Human Resources Employment Opportunities

Senior Director of Labor and Employee Relations

Apply now Job no: 497876
Position Type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Boston
Department: Human Resources
Date opened: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close:

General Summary: 

In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Massachusetts Boston in the first tier of national universities for the third year in a row and by the Princeton Review as one of its Best in the Northeast colleges. The University of Massachusetts Boston Human Resources function is building a new senior management team. Under the direction of the Vice Chancellor Human Resources and in support of the Interim Chancellor’s strategic and operational priorities, the new leadership team and their departments will implement the University’s vision of the recruitment and retention of world-class talent, the delivery of outstanding HR customer service to the university community, the creation of an accountability culture and the development and execution of a long-term labor relations strategy.

Reporting directly to the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, with a dotted line reporting the relationship to the Provost, the Senior Director directs all aspects of the labor relations function at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  UMass Boston is a progressive labor environment at which about 92% of employees are represented by a union; this includes approximately 1015 full-time and part-time faculty (MTA/NEA), 11 librarians (MTA/NEA), 900 professional and classified staff members (MTA/NEA), 34 police officers, sergeants and dispatchers (NEPBA), 4 police lieutenants (Teamsters) and 840 graduate student employees (UAW).  The position provides strategic management direction and critical leadership in all areas of labor relations management; advises executive leadership on all labor relations matters; and manages the interpretation and administration of all aspects of the 8 campus collective bargaining agreements, including oversight of all related grievance, disciplinary and other processes. The Senior Director also serves as UMass Boston’s chief negotiator for collective bargaining, selects members of the management bargaining teams, and develops and implements the overall bargaining strategy for the campus, in consultation with senior leadership.  A key responsibility of the role is fostering a positive labor-management climate by promoting positive and forward-looking labor-management relations with all campus bargaining units.  The Senior Director directs and supervises the Labor and Employee Relations team in support of the goals and mission of the University of Massachusetts Boston and the overall University system.

Examples of Duties: 

  • Serves as the campus’s principal negotiator in collective bargaining. Works in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for HR, the Provost, deans, and other campus constituents to develop the campus administration’s position and proposals; designs bargaining strategy; manages public relations related to bargaining; keeps campus administrators informed about collective bargaining developments; and provides training for other campus representatives involved in negotiations;
  • Administers UMass Boston collective bargaining agreements and other related personnel policies, including meeting regularly with union representatives, informally resolving personnel disputes, and representing the campus in grievance proceedings and arbitrations;
  • Works closely with the University’s General Counsel’s Office to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.  Acts as a key advisor to senior campus executives on all labor management and employee relations matters, including providing informational sessions on labor and employment laws, contracts and policies;
  • Contributes to the development and implementation of campus personnel policies; advises senior leadership and other faculty and staff on matters related to campus collective bargaining agreements and related policies; offers regulars workshops on such issues; interprets union contracts and related personnel policies;
  • Collaborates with University system office and campus labor relations managers to coordinate and align campus labor relations initiatives;
  • Contributes to the development and implementation of campus personnel policies; advises on matters related to campus collective bargaining agreements and related policies; offers regular workshops on such issues; interprets and makes determinations about requests for exceptions to the union contract and related personnel policies;
  • Provides ad-hoc advice to senior leaders and other managers regarding the administration of collective bargaining agreements and related personnel matters;
  • Collaborates with other campus administrative offices in advancing the effective development and implementation of personnel policies and responding to complaints of discrimination and harassment;
  • Strategically evaluates best practices for HR/employee/labor relations on the University campus and provides input to senior management on proactive strategies to foster growth on campus;
  • Works closely with the HR and provost’s office leadership teams to provide guidance and consultation to insure integration of goals and objectives of ongoing programs embedded in collective bargaining agreements, such as salary administration programs, performance management programs, periodic multiyear review, and various professional development programs;
  • Functions as hearing officer for higher level union issues/grievances and act as advisor for lower level issues;
  • Plans the implementation of collective bargaining negotiation strategy working closely with senior management on collaboratively developing campus-specific collective bargaining objectives that accomplish both administrative and academic affairs goals;
  • Researches human resource policies in similar university settings evaluates on-going effectiveness of current UMB policies and procedures to implement methods for improvements, develops or revises policies;
  • Serves as the subject matter expert on University system-wide labor/employee relations matters, promoting consistent application of policies, collective bargaining and fair labor practices across all 5 campuses;
  • Assists in drafting local personnel policies and procedures to support Trustee policies and applicable federal and state laws and regulations;
  • Based on goals established by working with senior management, works cooperatively in developing and implementing effective strategies for training on labor/employee relations subjects for departments and on management and staff development;
  • Serves as a member of the Human Resources and Provost’s Office senior management teams;
  • Effectively leads, manages and supervises a labor relations team that currently consists of 2 professional staff;
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: 

Bachelor's Degree, and a minimum of 9 years of progressively responsible experience in labor/employee relations, preferably in a higher education setting, is required. Experience as a lead negotiator required.  Significant experience in and demonstrated knowledge of public sector labor law.  Substantial experience in conducting collective bargaining and contract administration is required. 

Preferred Qualifications:

A Master’s Degree in a related field or JD is strongly preferred.  Excellent negotiating and conflict-resolution skills, ability to nurture collaborative approaches to problem-solving.  Team-oriented and collaborative work style. Ability to effectively navigate a complex organizational environment. Thorough knowledge of organizational needs assessment, succession planning, and leadership development.

Application Instructions:

Please apply online with your resume, cover letter, and list of three references. 

Review of candidates will begin following the application closing date.

Salary commensurate with skills and experience. 

This is a non-union position. 

Applications close:

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All official salary offers must be approved by Human Resources.

The University of Massachusetts Boston provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, genetic information, pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, or membership in any other protected class. The University of Massachusetts Boston complies with all applicable federal, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the university operates. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment.

The University of Massachusetts Boston is committed to providing a safe and secure environment that is supported by qualified employees for all of its students, faculty and staff to carry out the University's teaching, research and public service missions. As a condition of employment, the University will conduct appropriate background check reviews. For more information, please see the University of Massachusetts Boston campus policy and procedures for employee background reviews.

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