Labor relations managers and industrial relations directors form and implement a company's labor policy, which affects union and non-union labor alike.
Labor Relations Work
Their work includes negotiation and bargaining to arrive at a contract, and dispute resolution between union members and management. The labor relations staff interprets and administers the contract with respect to grievances, wages and salaries, employee welfare, health care, pensions, union and management practices, and other contractual stipulations. As union membership continues to decline in most industries, labor relations staff are working more often with employees who are not members of a labor union.
Labor relations specialists who work for unions perform many of the same functions on behalf of the union and its members.
Aside from labor relations management, labor studies graduates may hold other jobs such as union organizer/campaigner/president, occupational health & safety inspector, labor lawyer or advocate, or community organizer.
Courses in labor law, collective bargaining, labor economics, labor history, and industrial psychology also provide a valuable background for the prospective labor relations specialist or manager.