Labor Relations Managers

Last updated January 01, 2015

Labor unions have a long, colorful history of representing workers who band together to fight for better wages and working conditions. But what happens when unions and employers can’t agree on raises, retirement benefits, or other concerns?

It’s the job of labor relations managers to help labor and management work through their differences -- and, if possible, to keep conflicts from arising in the first place. Some labor relations managers work for unions. Others work for corporations, governments, and the other large organizations that hire union members.

Labor relations managers try to maintain a smooth working relationship between employers and employees. They assist with contract negotiations and make sure that both parties live up to the terms of the contract.

Did You Know?

Fewer people belong to labor unions these days, and it’s now common for labor relations managers to work with employees who are not union members.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Become an expert in economics, wages, and labor law
  • Communicate with both employees and employers
  • Prepare reports for contract negotiations
  • Interpret contracts
  • Make sure that both sides live up to their contracts
  • Handle contract disputes
  • Travel when necessary

It Helps To Be...

Organized and resourceful. It’s also important to have excellent communication and listening skills and be able to stay calm under pressure.

Make High School Count

  • Take advantage of your math classes and consider signing up for statistics. As a labor relations manager, you’ll be working with numbers all the time, whether negotiating pay raises or computing the cost of improved health insurance benefits.
  • Build communication skills in English, drama, and speech classes.  Choosing the right words at the right time can make all the difference in this field.
  • Get a jump start in business classes.
  • Sign up for psychology. Your understanding of human nature could be your biggest asset in this field.
  • Master the computer, including word processing and spreadsheet software.
  • Check out Junior Achievement to learn about business from the pros.

Did You Know?

Labor relations managers should be prepared to work overtime, especially in the middle of a contract dispute.