What Does a Labor Relations Specialist Do?

A labor relations specialist resolves disputes that occur between management and employees at a company. They also play a key role in developing collecting bargaining agreements, creating procedures to handle employee complaints. Other essential tasks include handling labor-related issues such as wages and salaries, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.

Labor relations specialists are a bridge between labor and management and lead meetings between representatives from these two groups, facilitating negotiations. Specialists also draft the language used in collective bargaining agreements (CBA) and ensure that all actions by both sides adhere to the CBA.

Becoming a labor relations specialist is one option for those who graduate from an online Master of Science in Human Resource Management program. Labor relations specialist is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in HR.

Where Do Labor Relations Specialists Work?

Labor relations specialists (sometimes called labor relations managers) are needed across all industries. While they may work in one industry, most of them (77%) have jobs with labor unions. A smaller percentage work for the government or directly for management.

With fewer workers belonging to labor unions in recent years, many labor relations specialists now work with non-union employees. Some take jobs with employment placement agencies, professional employer organizations, and insurance benefits companies.

Others also work as consultants, hired by organizations or labor organizations to oversee a specific set of negotiations.

What Do Labor Relations Specialists Earn?

A labor relations specialist salary varies depending on the organization they work for and the location. Nationwide, the average salary in the profession reached $71,870 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

New York and California employ more labor relations specialists than any other state. Both also offer the best salaries – $81,560 in New York and $81,480 in California. The highest salaries in the country are in New Jersey ($111,570) and the District of Columbia ($99,080).

Because labor unions are more prevalent in the northern part of the country, no major southern cities are among the metropolitan areas with the most labor union specialists. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Indianapolis, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis employ the most specialists.

Most labor relations specialists have at least a bachelor’s degree. Those with a master’s degree in areas such as human resources and industrial and organizational psychology are often more attractive candidates for the best jobs in the profession.

How Touro University Worldwide Prepares Labor Relations Specialists

The MS in Human Resource Management prepares graduates to take on a variety of leadership roles in HR, including a labor relations manager. TUW designed the program for experienced professionals who want to take the next step in their career.

Coursework in the program covers such important HR topics as ethics, training and development, management culture, regulatory compliance, and organizational strategy. Faculty members have years of experience in HR and emphasize teaching students both the theories and practical applications of those theories.

Courses in the program include:

  • Ethics for HR Professionals. Students look in-depth into issues of the ethical, legal, and social responsibility factors influencing HR management decisions.
  • Developing a competency culture. Students learn about systems and strategies that support optimal employee performance and efficiency and effectiveness in an organization.
  • Management and leadership. Students study issues around management competencies, theories of leadership, effective communication, job satisfaction, and leading change.
  • Performance assessment. Students learn how to create systems that evaluate employee performance fairly. They also learn how to plan for development, provide feedback, measure and evaluate progress towards goals, managing performance gaps, and use positive and progressive discipline.

With the convenience of online learning, working HR professionals who want to earn a graduate degree and become a labor relations specialist have a better chance than ever of achieving their career goals.

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