Executive Director of Labor and Employee Relations - Department of Labor Relations

Newark Public Schools | Newark, NJ

Posted Date 9/06/2017
Expiration Date10/06/2017
Announcement of Vacancy

Executive Director of Labor and Employee Relations - Department of Labor Relations

(Pending availability of funds and District Superintendent's approval)

The District Superintendent invites qualified and interested persons to apply for the aforementioned position.


  • Juris Doctorate degree and admission to the New Jersey State Bar.  
  • 5-10 years of progressive and high-level experience in  labor relations, personnel administration, operations, contract negotiations with multiple bargaining units, contract administration, employment law, grievance arbitration, performance management and PERC and Office of Administrative Law proceedings, and labor management relations.
  • Thorough knowledge, technical mastery, skill and judgment in the application of relevant federal, state and local employment and labor laws and regulations which includes, but is not limited, to N.J.S.A. 18A:1-76, N.J.S.A. 34:13A1-35, N.J.A.C. 6:1-30 and N.J.A.C. 4A1-10.
  • Excellent negotiation, drafting and analytical skills.
  • Knowledge of the New Jersey Judiciary Rules of Professional Conduct.  
  • Knowledge of the New Jersey Court Rules.
  • Experience in developing policy and procedure in a governmental/public environment is preferred.
  • Management experience.
  • Superb computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint).

Experience in working in a large urban school district and unionized environment is preferred


The Executive Director of Labor and Employee Relations plays an integral role in achieving the mission and goals of Newark Public Schools. The Executive Director develops and drives labor strategy in support of student achievement specifically in the areas of labor contract negotiations, performance management, compensation, conflict resolution and various employment matters. A successful candidate will have the opportunity to profoundly impact student achievement by shaping the District’s strategy in a variety of areas.   

This position manages a team of specialists responsible for labor and employee relations policy and operational functions including supporting management and school leaders. The examples of work for this title are for illustrative purposes only.  A particular position using this title may not perform all duties listed in this job specification.  Conversely, all duties performed on the job may not be listed.


The Executive Director of Labor and Employee Relations’ responsibilities will include, but is not limited to the following:


1. Department Management and Support

  • Provide leadership and strategic oversight for the operational management of the Labor and Employee Relations Department, and as part of the Talent leadership team.
  • Plans, assigns, and evaluates the work of Department staff.  
  • Develop Department staff by providing opportunities for training, skill development, and job knowledge acquisition.
  • Prepare summaries and statistical reports of the Department’s caseload.
  • Oversees the investigations conducted by the Labor and Employee Relations staff to ensure they are properly conducted, documented and resolved.
  • Provide project support from an employee relations and compliance perspective on the District’s initiatives.
  • Collaborates extensively with the Office of the General Counsel.


2. Stakeholder/Performance Management

   Serve as an Employee Relations expert providing advice, counsel and assistance to senior leaders in response to employee relations concerns.

  • Function as a strategic advisor to the executive management regarding key labor, organizational and management issues.
  • Provide consultation based on a wide range of issues related to individual employment as well as organizational effectiveness and work issues.
  • Ensure effective application of policies, rules, regulations, and laws. To the extent possible, facilitate the defensible resolution of workplace concerns informally in order to mitigate the number of issues that escalate to higher levels within or outside the District.
  • Lead the design, development, communication, administration, delivery, and evaluation of employee relations services, programs, policies and procedures for employees including those related to performance management, discipline, grievance, and mediation activities.
  • Provide guidance, direction and recommendations to managers and supervisors related to performance management/improvement and disciplinary actions.
  • Serve as a primary contact for District leadership seeking assistance or guidance with the most complex, sensitive, high-level, and/or high-risk employee matters involving staff.

   Provide advice and resolutions to HR/Talent leaders and management on a broad range of employee issues including policy interpretation, employee conflict, work conditions, performance management, employee discipline, and contract consultation for issues that require bargaining.

  • Provide guidance to HR on employment and compensation matters.
  • Guide managers in resolving employee relations issues by providing effective conflict resolution and coaching.
  • Assist with training personnel on District policies relevant to labor and employee

relations, such as grievance procedure, the District’s Attendance Improvement Plan, and performance management. Design related presentations and training materials.

  • Provide definitive direction, interpretive guidance and support to management and administrators on multiple collective bargaining agreements, policy and procedure compliance.
  • Provide expert advice, leadership, and advice/counsel to executive and supervisors/managers and school leaders of all levels on employee relations. 

   Work with union representatives to address labor issues.

   Study and interpret collective bargaining agreements and current labor market conditions to assist in establishing sound policies and operating procedures.

   Resolve conflicts between departments, unions and jurisdictional problems between unions.

   Research labor relations issues including best practices, labor law and arbitration findings to shape District policies.


3. Strategic Planning & Implementation

•    Oversee and lead the strategy and development of proposals for contract negotiations.

  • Serves as a leader on the District’s negotiating teams during contract negotiations with various unions.
  • Oversee the establishment of District policies and operating procedures based on collective bargaining agreements and employment laws.
  • Formulate operating policies and procedures, recommend policy options.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with labor organizations.
  • Provide employee relations support, guidance and direction to the Talent/HR organization and department leaders.

   Provides labor relations insight on complex organizational issues and business implications pertaining to specific projects and initiatives.

   Interpret policies and ensure compliant processes are communicated to management and employees.

   Collaborate with management and administrators to develop and implement strategic employee relations initiatives that reduce the risk of litigation and improve employee engagement and work environment.

   Manage grievance resolution and oversee disciplinary proceedings of staff.

•    Oversee the investigation of school-based reports to determine violations of State/District regulations and policies.

•    Oversee review of job descriptions and salaries to ensure alignment with established parameters.

    Represent the District in matters before the Public Employment Relations Commission and the Office of Administrative Law.

•    Perform all other responsibilities consistent with the Department’s goals in order to meet the needs of the District or other central office departments.




The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:

  • Demonstrate leadership and managerial experience and ability to work well and interface with other executive and senior administrative staff and union leadership.
  • Thorough knowledge, technical mastery, skill and judgment in the application of relevant federal, state and local employment and labor laws and regulations which includes but is not limited to N.J.S.A. 18A:1-76, N.J.S.A. 34:13A1-35, N.J.A.C. 6:1-30 and N.J.A.C. 4A1-10.
  • Considerable judgment and discretion in establishing and maintaining good working relationships with internal and external Stakeholders.
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • Knowledge of the New Jersey Family Leave Act, Federal Family Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and any other state or federal laws applicable to employers, municipalities and state entities.
  • Creativity, innovation and the ability to solve problems and generate viable solutions.
  • Knowledge of implementing complex union contractual obligations.
  • Ability to work with all professionals at different levels coupled with mediation, negotiation and consultation strengths.
  • Proficient in resolution of grievances and inter/intra departmental conflicts.
  • Ability to adhere to all court and contract deadlines.
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced work environment.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office and Westlaw or Lexis/Nexis.
Reports To

State District Superintendent and/or the Chief Talent Officer

Salary, Terms & Affiliation

  1. Salary Range: Compensation is competitive and based on experience. The expected salary range for this position is from $115,000-$150,000.
  2. Employment Period: Twelve (12) months
  3. Union Affiliation: Unaffiliated
How To Apply

Newark Public Schools only accepts electronic applications.  If you are a current employee you must apply via the Employee Self Service website.

If you do not have access to a computer, we welcome you to visit the Newark Public Schools employment kiosks located at 2 Cedar Street, on the 8th floor Talent Office reception area between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.  Help will be available.

 You may use the APPLY button.

Open and Close Dates
Opening Date: May 4, 2017

Closing Date: Open until filled


Equal Employment Opportunity




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AddressVarious Schools
Newark, NJ 07102