Labor Relations Manager

Multnomah County


Portland, OR 97214


$7,578 – $11,368
per month

Do you have a broad depth of experience in negotiating, interpreting, and administering labor agreements?  Are you both thoughtful and decisive so that you can provide expert human resources advice and counsel?  Do you consider yourself a collaborative strategic partner who can develop effective working relationships with a diverse customer base and a variety of stakeholders such as department management, union leaders, employees, HR professionals and County leaders?  Do you have demonstrated experience and commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity that provides a sense of  safety, trust & belonging for all? If this sounds like you, Multnomah County is looking to hire an experienced Labor Relations Manager, especially one familiar in public safety unions, to join its team in Central Human Resources.  


The purpose of this position is to research, develop and implement Human Resources and Labor Relations initiatives, policies, and practices that contribute to positive labor and employee relations; recruitment, selection and retention of qualified, competent employees; and to provide consultation and guidance to management and non-management employees on the full range of human resources for assigned Department(s). Serves as a strategic and executive Labor Relations Manager for assigned departments with responsibility for union contract negotiations. This position is also responsible for ensuring that the Multnomah County Personnel Rules are continually reviewed and updated to reflect the County's changing needs and best practices in human resources management, and to ensure the County's Human Resources systems and processes are consistent with County Personnel Rules and labor agreements. This position regularly works with the County's Classification/Compensation team advising on labor relations issues and completing market studies/bargaining for assigned contracts. This recruitment may be used to fill multiple positions. 


In this role you will be responsible for:


Consultation and Expert Guidance with Assigned Customers


  • Assist managers with analyzing business and operating needs. Develop, recommend, and assist management with implementing appropriate human resources strategies.
  • Ability to be both thoughtful and decisive in providing labor relations and human resources advice and counsel.
  • Work closely with department management teams to facilitate the resolution of conflicts, consult on the administration of corrective and disciplinary actions, identify and minimize employment risks, anticipate employee and organizational issues, and make recommendations and implement solutions.
  • Investigate and respond to employee grievances according to the collective bargaining agreements and County rules and policies.
  • Review disciplinary actions and grievances for appropriateness and adherence to Personnel Rules and collective bargaining agreements.
  • As a member of the Central HR/LR Team, participate in County wide and assigned Departments labor relations issues and labor-management processes designed to ensure harmonious labor relations in the County.
  • Research questions requiring interpretation of rules, labor contracts, employment law; work with compensation, policy administration, other Labor Relations staff, HR staff, and County Counsel, as needed to ensure consistent responses and decisions and to develop plans of action.
  • Advise Central HR partners, Departmental HR staff, supervisors and executive leadership on matters of employee performance, contract interpretation, and administration.
  • Respond to employees according to collective bargaining agreements and County rules and policies
  • Meet with employees wishing to file complaints; explain County policies, contractual rights, and obligations.
  • Understand the technical knowledge of Labor Relations statutes, regulations, and County processes.
  • Coordinate and lead unemployment hearings and prepare briefs to advocate the County’s position.


Labor Negotiations and Contract Management


  • Serve as chief spokesperson and/or participate as a member of the bargaining team in successor contract negotiations for assigned labor contracts, including pre-bargaining planning and preparation and post-settlement processing through ratification.
  • Respond to interim demands to bargain, including processing of the demand, negotiation, and memorialization of any resolution.
  • Draft language for contracts and memoranda of understanding, agreement, and exception; draft legally required notifications.
  • Negotiate settlement of grievances and Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs); draft settlement agreements as applicable.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with assigned union leaders and members to identify and support areas of mutual interest and agreement, ensure clear communication, fair resolution of disputes, and overall adherence to the collective bargaining agreements.


Human Resources & Labor Relations Training and Special Projects


  • Conduct training regarding labor relations topics, processes, and best practices.
  • Provide leadership and direction to County HR professional staff through training and consultation on HR/LR issues.
  • Provide training to HR professionals, managers and employees on a wide range of human resources and labor/employee relations issues.
  • Serve on or provide support to committees, task forces, and advisory groups as needed.
  • Research best practices in public and private sector human resources and labor relations, evaluate feasibility of adaptation to public sector and County operations, make recommendations for improvements and modifications to County HR and LR rules, policies, practices and labor agreements.
  • Continuously monitor the overall effectiveness and legal compliance of Personnel Rules; develop and implement necessary changes and improvements, including review and involvement of other Central HR/LR staff, other County HR professionals, managers, supervisors, employees, and union representatives.
  • Ensure that all county HR rules, policies and practices are consistent with Merit System Requirements.
  • Responsible for one or more of the following special assignment areas:
    • Oversight and administration of the County’s Drug and Alcohol Program.
    • Provide Central HR review of legislation for relevant bills and proposals.
    • Revise and create new Personnel Rules as needed due to statutory and organizational changes.
    • Coordination of the County-wide layoff and bumping process, AFSCME Local 88 Countywide Layoff Committee, and review and response to appeals regarding the annual publication of the Local 88 Seniority List.
    • Provide administrative support to the Merit Council.
    • Develop and implement systems and processes to audit and/or monitor the performance of departments for compliance with Personnel Rules, labor agreements and merit system principles and to ensure corrective actions in areas of non-compliance.

Job Requirements

Minimum Qualifications/Transferable Skills:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in public administration, human resources, business administration or a related field.  In lieu of a degree, we will consider equivalent years of related experience.
  • Three years of professional labor relations experience to include contract negotiations is required.  
  • Demonstrated experience and commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity.


Preferred Qualifications/Transferable Skills: You do not need to have the following preferred qualifications/transferable skills to qualify. However, keep in mind we may consider some or all of the following when identifying the most qualified candidates. Please clearly explain on your application how you meet any of the following preferred qualifications/transferable skills.

  • Advance degree in a relevant field.
  • Experience resolving grievances and participating in arbitrations. 
  • Experience with a public sector, unionized environment. 
  • Experience working with public safety unions is desirable.
  • Political and organizational savvy to successfully implement suitable labor relations solutions according to the needs of the organization. 

How to Apply

All interested applicants need to apply via Multnomah County's website at the following: