Labor Relations Specialists: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Labor relations specialists usually have a bachelors degree. Some schools offer a bachelors degree in labor or employment relations. These programs focus on labor-specific topics such as employment law and contract negotiation.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: -8% (Decline)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Labor relations specialists who seek further expertise in contract negotiation, labor law, and similar topics may become lawyers. They will need to earn a law degree and pass their states bar exam.
Some colleges and universities offer labor relations certificates to specialists who prefer greater specialization in certain topics, such as mediation. Earning these certificates give participants a better understanding of labor law, the collective bargaining process, and worker grievance procedures.
Median pay: How much do Labor Relations Specialists make?
$62,310 Annual Salary
$29.96 per hour

Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts regarding issues such as wages and salaries, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.

What do Labor Relations Specialists do?

Labor relations specialists typically do the following:

  • Advise management on contracts, worker grievances, and disciplinary procedures
  • Lead meetings between management and labor
  • Meet with union representatives
  • Draft proposals and rules or regulations
  • Ensure that human resources policies are consistent with union agreements
  • Interpret formal communications between management and labor
  • Investigate validity of labor grievances
  • Train management on labor relations

Labor relations specialists work with representatives from a labor union and a companys management. In addition to leading meetings between the two groups, these specialists draft formal language as part of the collective bargaining process. These contracts are called collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), and they serve as a legal and procedural guide for employee/management relations.

Labor relations specialists also address specific grievances workers might have, and ensure that all labor and management solutions comply within the relevant CBA.

Careers for Labor Relations Specialists

  • Employee relations specialists
  • Industrial relations analysts
  • Industrial relations specialists
  • Labor relations consultants
  • Labor relations representatives
  • Union representatives

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