AFGE - American Federation of Government Employees

American Federation of Government Employees

Labor Relations Specialist
Field Services & Education Department

Based in Washington, DC


Department: Field Services & Education
Location: National
FLSA Classification: Exempt
Position Title: Labor Relations Specialist
Date of Revision/Creations:

This position is located in the Washington, D.C. National Office, Field Services & Education Department (FSED). This position is a professional expert in the labor-management, employee advocacy, workplace representative process and issues. The FSED is the department focused on promoting organizational change. Its role goes beyond traditional servicing and attempts to link various portions of AFGE’s field operations in order to strengthen and retool local unions and Councils. As such it seeks to promote a culture of permanent campaign mode and union transformation. FSED develops and oversees the implementation of AFGE’s workplace representation strategy. Workplace representation encompasses contract negotiations, mid-term bargaining, contract enforcement, enforcement or change of existing laws and regulations, exercising national consultation rights, the strengthening of locals and councils, and related issues. The FSED operates by performing the following basic functions: (1) providing technical guidance, training, information, and assistance; (2) developing policy options for the union; (3) conducting national-level liaison with government agencies; (4) making full use of electronic media to communicate with all levels and groups within the Federation, (5) assisting locals and councils in the development of campaigns around issues that affect the membership, (6)integrating member education into the process of organizing and representation .

The department performs these functions in a wide array of program areas such as: labor-management relations and human resource management, and in a wide variety of delivery methodologies, such as casework, support to assigned bargaining councils, training institutes and conferences, position papers, and email and internet media.

Although all functions are subject to assignment at any time, the work variability is high, with cyclical shifts among emphases, such as national level bargaining assignment, personnel system design, mobilizing and organizing, and building labor-management adversarial skills among the membership. Frequent travel, sometimes on short notice, is required.

FSED’s services are provided in support of the National Officers, the National Executive Council, District Offices, other Departments, Bargaining Councils, and Locals. The office works collaboratively, and depends on teamwork, mutual support, and creative thinking.

The incumbent is a professional expert in the labor-management relations, employee advocacy and workplace representation rights, processes and related issues. The incumbent will be involved in a full and varied range of activities in the core functions performed by the Department. This will include:

  • Provide leadership, guidance, and training to help ensure that councils and locals have a strategic plan for workplace representation.
  • In appropriate cases, serve as chief negotiator for bargaining councils.
  • Develop and use training courses to teach locals and councils how to bargain effectively under various conditions, with an emphasis on preparation and on membership involvement.
  • Work to ensure that handbooks and manuals covering the range of workplace representation issues are available and are up to date.
  • Provide guidance to union representatives in all aspects of collective bargaining (including grassroots membership-based campaigns), grievance rights, appeal rights, contracting out, health & safety, and workers’ compensation issues.
  • Provide policy recommendations, position papers, and legislative testimony in support of AFGE positions, and attend meetings as the AFGE representative.

The position will require the incumbent to independently confront new issues and problems and to creatively apply knowledge, research, analysis, and problem solving abilities. Exceptional oral, written, and interpersonal skills are required.

This job operates in a professional environment working to establish Federation and Departmental goals. The incumbent will routinely use standard office equipment such as computers, fax machines, scanners, and phones. Long hours are periodically required. Travel is required. The employee will periodically be required to do some lifting and/or move items over 10 pounds.

The incumbent exercises significant control over the work product and helps to ensure that AFGE and office goals and objectives are properly developed and met.

Must have the ability to acquire a broad knowledge of labor law, personnel laws and regulations, and applicable precedents, as needed for assigned projects, and be familiar with the collective bargaining process. In addition, applicants must have:

  1. Extensive experience demonstrating a high level of skills in labor-management relations and federal sector employee rights.
  2. Extensive experience demonstrating a high level of skill as a chief negotiator of labor agreements, a track record of success in complex bargaining, and recognition of when to use interest-based versus traditional adversarial techniques and union advocate in ULP processes, arbitrations, etc.
  3. The ability to diagnose organizational challenges and offer appropriate assistance, as well as lead organizations in developing strategic plans.
  4. The ability to speak and write effectively, as well as the ability to mediate, advocate, persuade, teach, and guide others.
  5. The ability to analyze information and prepare policy papers with recommendations.
  6. The ability to conduct effective research, including but not limited to in the law library and on-line.
  7. The ability to prepare teaching and resource material.
  8. The ability to work independently with little supervision but as part of a team.
  9. The ability to help organize and mobilize workers.

Applicants must have completed a four-year college course leading to a bachelor's degree, plus three years specialized experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Post-graduate degrees in law or labor-related programs a plus.

Must have an interest in and loyalty to the labor union movement.

AFGE provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, personal appearance, gender identity and/or gender expression. In addition to federal law requirements, AFGE complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. The policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

Interested applicants please submit résumé to: jobs@afge.org.

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