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Summit Search Group is pleased to partner with Queen’s University in their search for a Senior Labour Relations Advisor.
About Our Client:
Queen’s has a long history of scholarship, discovery, and innovation that has shaped collective knowledge and helped address some of the world’s most pressing concerns. Home to more than 25,000 students, the university offers a comprehensive research-intensive environment with prominent strengths in physics, cancer research, geoengineering, data analytics, surveillance studies, art conservation, and mental health research. Students, staff, and faculty bring together diverse perspectives and a wealth of experiences that enrich the campus, empowering the university community toward shared success.
Queen’s invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is strongly committed to employment equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and encourages applications from Black, racialized/visible minorities, Indigenous/Aboriginal people, women, persons with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQ+ persons. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.
Relocation: Relocation assistance available.
About Kingston, ON:
Situated on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinabek, Kingston is approximately a two-hour drive from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario and the Rideau Canal. Kingston is a stunning, historic city that consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Canada.
Kingston’s 120,000 community-minded citizens enjoy an outstanding quality-of-life enhanced by superb intellectual, recreational and creative opportunities, and supported by excellent health care facilities and municipal services, programs and facilities.
Reporting to the Senior Director, Employee and Labour Relations, the Senior Labour Relations Advisor is a senior member of the Employee and Labour Relations (ELR) team. By developing positive relationships and establishing credibility, the Senior Labour Relations Advisor is a trusted advisor to a defined client group, including faculty and staff administrators, unions, and staff, and also to internal HR colleagues such as HR Client Services Managers and Advisors. The Senior Labour Relations Advisor has responsibility for the and administration of several staff collective agreements, grievance handling, case law and legislative application, management of other complex employment-related matters and leads various projects and other activities.
The Senior Labour Relations Advisor promotes and encourages the University’s commitment to diversity, human rights, accessibility and equity and proactively identifies problematic or systemic issues through discussion with employees, unions and management, and supports the development and implementation of sound innovative and strategic solutions to employee relations issues that align with the University’s Human Resources strategies, goals and objectives, identifies best practices and builds custom solutions that are compliant with legislation in collaboration with the ELR team and other stakeholders, as required. By increasing management awareness of employee relations issues, the Senior Labour Relations Advisor helps prevent or mitigate their effects across the University.
As a senior member of the ELR team, the Senior Labour Relations Advisor influences the work of colleagues in ELR and the HR Department as whole.
- Respects diversity and promotes inclusion in the workplace.
- Actively participates in collective bargaining. Activities will include conduct of client surveys to prepare ingoing proposals, conducting briefing/strategy sessions with client group representatives, researching specific issues, preparing proposals and counter-proposals on both language and monetary items, providing advice and recommendations with respect to negotiation strategy and actively participating at the bargaining table as Second Spokesperson.
- Plays a key role in the training, development and mentoring of junior ELR Advisors and other ELR staff.
- In conjunction with HR Client Services Managers, manages the process for grievances. Provides advice and collective agreement interpretation to HR Client Services Managers handling first stage grievances. Directs and trains HR Client Services Managers in investigation of the circumstances of grievances. Collects, co-ordinates and analyzes the relative strength of available evidentiary documentation and viva voce For later stage grievances, prepares relevant materials and correspondence, negotiates settlements, drafts legal settlement documentation, and acts as the client representative for external counsel to direct and co-ordinate the University’s case on matters that proceed to arbitration.
- Working closely with HR Client Services Managers, responds to queries/issues raised by managers, staff and union representatives, investigates the background to the query/issue, provides advice, effective recommendations and strategies for resolution in circumstances of conflict, builds consensus and implements conflict resolution in a manner consistent with the collective agreement requirements, employment/labour relations legislation/jurisprudence and relevant employment related policy.
- Liaises with union representatives on matters ranging from specific issues and grievances, to committee work.
- Liaises with various offices and University personnel ranging from administrative assistants to executives on matters ranging from specific issues and grievances, to committee work and broad matters of employment and labour relations strategy.
- Participates as lead ELR representative on various joint labour/management committees, which arise either as a result of formal agreement or on an ad hoc
- Develops and leads training education workshops for management, staffing officers, Human Resources colleagues and other University personnel concerning collective agreement interpretation and administration and provide ad hoc training to all client groups as requested in connection with specific issues arising out of collective agreement administration.
- Conducts special projects as assigned by the Director and Counsel, Employee and Labour Relations. This will include developing collective agreement interpretations or policies/procedures/protocols; preparing documents, reports, presentations, positions papers etc.; and working with HR colleagues, faculties and/or departments on longer term and/or more significant employee relations/employment-related issues.
- Investigation of employee complaints and reports (g. harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, violence, bullying, etc.). In certain circumstances, engages with external investigators to respond to complaints or reports.
- Acts as client representative for ELR for certain legal proceedings pertaining to staff matters within the designated client group (Human Rights hearings, grievance arbitrations, etc.).
- Maintains current knowledge and awareness of labour and employment law, human resource best practices, labour relations standards and practices and legislative changes to ensure the University’s compliance.
- Provides technical / functional guidance to staff. Reviews assignments and provides feedback. Provides input on work performance to management staff.
- University degree in labour relations, human resources management or law with a minimum of 8 to 10 years of labour relations experience in a multi-bargaining unit setting.
- Experience actively participating at collective bargaining tables, minimally as the Second Chair.
- Proven track record, ideally within a large, complex organization, in hearing and responding to grievances, negotiating settlements, preparing for and presenting at arbitrations and establishing effective relationships with unionized and non-unionized employees.
- Demonstrable knowledge of collective agreement administration and labour relations and grievance practices and procedures, and an in-depth knowledge of labour law and employment-related legislation.
- Experience working in the broader public sector, and within a university environment, understanding university culture, governance, policies, practices and procedures would be considered an asset.
- Excellent communication (oral and written), conflict resolution and negotiation skills including the ability to listen effectively, articulate and advocate effectively, and problem solve creatively. Must have the capacity to listen, understand, assimilate and reconcile complex situations and divergent perspectives, often in situations where some level of conflict is present. A track record of effective leadership and participation in difficult conversations.
- Recognizes diversity of abilities and adapts content, tone, medium and style to audience to be inclusive.
- Flexible, innovative and creative. Intuitive, confident, self-motivated and able to work independently with autonomy and in a team environment.
- Ability to contribute to building positive, constructive, modern labour relations, with responsibility as key contact person with union leaders.
- Demonstrable track record of developing, mentoring and training junior colleagues.
- Excellent organizational, research and administrative skills; ability to cope with multiple demands, manage and execute competing priorities, and meet deadlines.
- In cases of alleged harassment, discrimination, misconduct or other policy breaches, exercise judgment objectively and conduct fact findings exercises and workplace investigations to identify the best course of action, make recommendations, and prepare reports.
- Strong orientation to building relationships and delivering quality service to clients, with the initiative and tenacity to work with complex issues through to completion. Addresses diversity and inclusivity issues and supports others.
- Ability to move from high level conceptualization to detailed and thorough implementation with the ability to engage in both independent and consultative decision making so as to move issues forward and build necessary consensus around a resolution.
- Demonstrated strong analytical, research and problem solving skills to determine the appropriate strategy and recommendations on issues surrounding collective bargaining or collective agreement interpretation.
- Proven ability to appreciate the budgetary and precedential consequences of decision making.
- Promotes a culture where a diverse range of ideas and perspectives are incorporated into the decision making process.
- As Second Spokesperson, consults with the Director and Counsel, Employee and Labour Relations and with the AVP, HR as necessary, to determine appropriate strategies and tactical plans during negotiations to achieve mandate.
- In consultation with the Director and Counsel, Employee and Labour Relations decides on appropriate interpretation and administration of collective agreements. Trains HR staff and Managers, as well as external clients regarding the implementation of those decisions.
- Determines appropriate direction, advice and support to provide to clients in order to achieve effective administration of collective agreements and establish positive relations with union representatives.
- Makes decisions on the appropriate resolution of issues such as grievances and other disputes. Applies appropriate judgment to the benefit of settlement relative to the potential costs and precedential nature of the settlement. Applies appropriate judgment in deciding not to settle when institutional principals are involved that cannot be compromised.
- Provides leadership on grievance administration and arbitration processes relating to staff labour relations for the University. Makes decisions on how to best support the management of a case.
- Makes recommendations to assist the senior management team in determining strategic directions of collective bargaining with staff unions.
- Determines content and structure of draft reports, proposals and agreements.
- Determines and establishes approaches to analytical problems and determines content/substance of reports.
- Determines the most efficient method of dealing with existing processes; provides advice and business case analyses for changes to processes and policies.
- Identifies and makes recommendations to the Director and Counsel, Employee and Labour Relations regarding the design and delivery of training required for managers, HR colleagues and other University personnel in respect of the collective agreements and matters arising out of those collective agreements as necessary.
- Provides advice to the Director and Counsel, Employee and Labour Relations and HR Client Service Managers on strategy related to staff labour relations and collective bargaining.
- Determines detail required in minutes and notes of meetings.
- Provides guidance and feedback to staff on work quality and recommends to the Director and Counsel, Employee and Labour Relations the need for formal training or development plans and identifies possible staff performance and/or disciplinary issues.
To apply, please send a resume to Allison Dwyer at [email protected].
The University will provide support in its recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant’s accessibility needs. If you require accommodations during the interview process, please contact Allison Dwyer at [email protected].