Senior Staff and Labor Relations Specialist at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Posted in Other 17 days ago.

Job Description:

Senior Staff and Labor Relations Specialist

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title

Senior Staff and Labor Relations Specialist

Job Profile Title

Labor and Staff Relations Specialist Senior

Job Description Summary

The Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES) provides the expertise, business process, policies and standards required to plan, design, construct, operate, maintain and renew the physical assets of the University, excluding the health system. In addition, the Division, comprised of approximately five Departments, is responsible for the strategic planning, management and operation of non-academic University property, and collaborating with the neighborhood to create a safe, diverse and economically vibrant destination. With close to 12M square feet of space, FRES maintains 186 buildings on a campus of 276 acres, completes over 60,000 maintenance requests per year, and starts approximately 250 projects a year. FRES is comprised of the following Departments: Administration, Office of the University Architect, Design and Construction, Real Estate, Operations and Maintenance.

The University of Pennsylvania is implementing a campus transformation entitled Penn Connects ( This comprehensive, award winning effort is expanding the campus over the next 20 years, including the construction of new academic research and recreational facilities. In addition, the University has secured $300M in Century Bond funding and continues to upgrade existing facilities over the coming years. Information.

Job Description

Senior Staff and Labor Relations Specialist

The University of Pennsylvania's Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services is seeking an experienced and dynamic individual to serve as the Senior Staff and Labor Relations Specialist. This role will be responsible for maintaining positive and productive relationships with Housekeeping/Hard Surfaces/CDL (approximately 500 FTEs) and Trades (approximately 285 FTEs) represented by two different unions within the University's diverse workforce. This role encompasses both strategic and operational responsibilities, with a focus on promoting effective communication, conflict resolution, and collaborative labor-management initiatives. In addition to labor relations, this role will encompass responsibilities related to the training and development of management and staff represented by unions on topics and programs that impact labor relations.


  • In collaboration with Core Human Resources (HR) and the FRES Director of HR, develop and implement comprehensive labor relations strategies in alignment with the university's mission and values.

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for labor union representatives, cultivating relationships built on trust, respect, and open communication

  • In collaboration with Central HR develop and execute negotiation strategies for collective bargaining agreements with trade union labor and housekeeping union labor.

  • Provide guidance and expertise on labor law, regulations, and compliance matters, ensuring the university's practices are consistent with applicable laws.

  • Lead efforts to prevent, manage, and resolve labor disputes, grievances, and conflicts in a fair and constructive manner. Oversee the administration of labor contracts, including monitoring contract compliance, grievance procedures, and arbitration processes.

  • Advise and oversee labor relations matters in university departments, including contract interpretation, disciplinary actions, and workforce management, ensuring equitable and consistent treatment.

  • In collaboration with the FRES Director of HR, develop and deliver comprehensive training programs for union staff, supervisors, and managers on matters related to labor relations with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

  • Design and implement training initiatives to enhance the skills, safety, and knowledge of union staff, fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.

  • Collaborate with internal stakeholders to track and assess the effectiveness of training programs provided to union staff, ensuring they align with DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) principles.

  • Represent FRES interests with Office of Risk Management and Worker's Compensation, Environmental Health and Radiation Safety, Fire and Emergency Services, and others to insure adherence to all relevant policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, new employee training, routine/annual mandatory training covering workplace safety.

  • Stay updated on industry trends, labor market developments, and best practices in training and labor relations.

  • Maintain accurate records and documentation related to labor relations activities, training programs, and negotiations.

  • Prepare reports and presentations for university leadership regarding labor relations activities, challenges, and accomplishments.

  • Conduct recurring monthly management meetings with union leadership.

  • Coordinate protocols to monitor and track employees who are out of the work place due to STD/WC/FMLA/LTD with Operating Director's, FRES support staff, and other University departments.


  • Bachelor's degree in business administration, Labor Relations, Human Resources, Industrial Psychology, or related field and at least 5 to 7 years of labor relations experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience”. Masters preferred.

  • Demonstrated experience in labor relations, with a demonstrated track record of successful negotiation and conflict resolution.

  • Strong knowledge of labor laws, regulations, and practices, with the ability to interpret and apply them effectively.

  • Demonstrated experience working within a unionized environment, preferably in an academic or large institutional setting.

  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication, and negotiation skills, with the ability to build rapport and manage relationships at all levels.

  • Proven ability to lead and inspire teams, drive results, and navigate complex and sensitive labor situations.

  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, along with the ability to manage multiple priorities and deadlines.

  • Demonstrated experience in using HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems) and other relevant software applications.

  • An understanding of the importance of DEI in a university setting and commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in labor relations practices and training programs.

Job Location - City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

Facilities and Real Estate Services

Pay Range

$59,703.00 - $100,000.00 Annual Rate
Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements

Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits

  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.

  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.

  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.

  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.

  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.

  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.

  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.

  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.

  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.

  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.

  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.

  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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