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Director, Employee & Labor Relations

Apply now Job no: 497351
Work type: Staff
Location: Newark
Categories: Human Resources, Full Time



This position ensures a culture of respect and civility through communication and programming. Reports to the Vice President for Human Resources and is a member of the Human Resources' senior management team assisting in overall strategic HR planning. Serves as the University chief strategist and negotiator for labor contracts.

Partners with senior management and the Human Resources leadership team to identify institutional needs, workforce trends, and best practices. Proposes strategic direction and solutions to address extant and emerging workplace issues. Provides guidance to the employee relations team to address employee relations issues and interpretation of relevant policies, laws and regulations. Provides direct 'hands-on' consultation and advice to staff and supervisors on University policies, procedures, and programs and resolution of workplace issues and concerns.

Responsible for the day-to-day management of employee relations team and operations of the office. Partners with campus leadership and HR leaders to develop and execute consistent university-wide, short- and long-term strategic initiatives and methods to ensure positive and effective staff relations, productivity and retention of employees.



  • Oversees the employee relations team to ensure effective service delivery and partnership with managers and staff. Responsible for all aspects of employee and labor relations to ensure compliance with university procedures and federal and state regulations.
  • Advises management and employees on personnel policies and procedures. Establishes and implements short- and long-range organizational goals, objectives, strategic plans, policies, and operating procedures. Partners with senior management to develop labor negotiation strategies and plans.
  • Facilitates on-going communication and working relationships with employee representative organizations including coordination of joint labor-management committees and regular “meet and discuss” opportunities.
  • Serves as the chief negotiator in contract negotiations. Maintains current knowledge of employee and labor relations trends, legal decisions, and statutory changes; conducts research necessary to support contract negotiations and employee relations. Uses appropriate negotiation strategies to develop bargaining goals and negotiate contracts consistent with the institution’s mission and goals.
  • Develops and manages effective employee relations programs to foster positive employee relations. Communicates regularly with supervisors, managers, and other representatives to promote Human Resources services and to provide education and training on policies and legal compliance.
  • Partners with the compensation team in developing strategic plans for organizational redesign, restructuring and/or position elimination.
  • Consults with and advises managers and staff to assist them in resolving workplace concerns and interpret HR policies – acts as a facilitator, negotiator, and mediator.
  • Administers all aspects of the University's performance management program.
  • Represents University in arbitration proceedings as well as union organizational campaigns/activities. Serves as grievance hearing officer. Handles grievances (union and non-union) and other employee complaints relating to working conditions and contract items.
  • Represents the University in proceedings before the Industrial Accident Board, the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and other administrative bodies.
  • Collaborates, as necessary, with multiple offices to ensure coordinated service delivery such as the Office of General Counsel, Office of the Provost; Equity, Inclusion and Diversity and Audit and Compliance.
  • Advises management on appropriate use of disciplinary action and review of terminations of employment.
  • Develops and oversees department budget.
  • Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.



  • Bachelor’s degree with eight years of human resources management experience, Master’s or J.D. preferred.
  • Experience with administration and negotiation of union contracts and arbitration.
  • Proven advanced knowledge of human resources, employment law, employee and labor relations, regulatory compliance, arbitration, facilitation, and collective bargaining.
  • Knowledge of workers and unemployment compensation,  
  • Effective leadership skills and short and long term strategic planning ability. Commitment to, and experience with promoting and enhancing diversity and equity. Knowledge and understanding of institutional policies and procedures and the regulatory environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to build partnerships that will maximize organizational effectiveness.
  • Advanced analytical, evaluative, consultative, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Ability to effectively summarize and present information.
  • Skill in program planning and assessing needs and trends, formulating policy, and developing and implementing new strategies and procedures at an institute of higher education.
  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills, as well as the ability to interact with individuals of diverse backgrounds.   Ability to work effectively and maintain relationships with managers and senior leadership. 
  • Demonstrates an understanding and consideration of the differing needs and concerns of individuals with varying identities, cultures, and backgrounds.
  • Committed to fostering a workplace culture of belonging, where diversity is celebrated, and equity is a core value.

Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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