Senior Labor Relations Specialist

Date: Jan 31, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10992 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver ground-breaking solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. Our diverse capabilities span a broad range of scientific and engineering fields, enabling the Laboratory to explore fundamental science challenges and to carry out the research needed to accelerate the delivery of solutions to the marketplace.


ORNL Human Resources is seeking an experienced and innovative Labor Relations Specialist who serve as a liaison with labor unions and as a technical authority and advisor on labor relations issues. This individual will be responsible for partnering with line management to develop and implement strategy and facilitate the relationship between research and operational organizations and the labor unions representing workers covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) as well as interactions with the Knoxville Building and Construction Trades Council.


Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Represent management in negotiation and administration of the CBAs. Communicate with union officials representing employees covered by CBAs and with represented individuals to build and maintain positive labor/management relationships. Advise human resources staff members, line managers of unionized employees, and Laboratory senior managers to ensure consistent compliance with the contract.

  • Assist line managers, human resources consultants, and other relevant partners in leading grievances and applying established grievance processes. Manage grievance procedures to handle complaints that result from disputes with unionized employees over the CBA, work rules, and interpretation of the meaning of the contract. Monitor grievances; identify trends. Provide recommendations for resolutions to senior management.
  • Consult with human resources staff members, managers, and executive management to obtain input on policies, wages, benefits, pensions, and work rules and practices that may be negotiation points.
  • Monitor trends in industry, including wages, hours, work rules, work conditions, benefits, etc. Monitor national, regional, and local economic data for potential impacts on negotiation and settlement of CBAs.
  • Facilitate interaction between the research and operations community and the ATLC, IGUA, the Knoxville Building and Construction Trades Council, and other local contractors as well as with the Department of Energy (DOE).
  • Work with internal or external counsel to respond to government agency inquiries, including requests from DOL, NLRB, and EEOC/OCRC.
  • Participate in arbitration and other administrative agency proceedings and associated activities, including unemployment claims, in collaboration with the Office of General Counsel as needed.
  • Assist and/or lead major investigations, including health, safety, workers’ compensation, employee discipline, EEO related issues or policy and procedural infractions. Coordinate fact finding and interviews with lead investigators consistent with labor legislation, regulations, and CBA as well as all other applicable employment laws.
  • Lead or participate in assigned projects for human resources.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • Deliver ORNL's mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace - in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Labor Relations, or related field and 8 or more years of relevant work experience in labor relations and/or bargaining unit employee management are required.

  • Experience should include extensive knowledge and proven understanding of collective bargaining agreements, labor and employment laws, Davis Bacon Act, and Service Contract Act.
  • Demonstrated experience with contract negotiations, grievances, arbitrations, alternate dispute resolution processes, discipline processes and investigations also are required.
  • Candidates must be able to build trust, credibility, and working relationships with internal and external partners as well as foster positive relationships.
  • Candidates also must be able to manage and work productively on multiple projects simultaneously as well as to communicate progress on labor relations, projects, and investigations to key partners, including bargaining unit employees, union stewards, line managers, senior managers, and external agency investigators.
  • The ability to analyze and develop resolutions for complex issues as well as the ability to provide sound advice in the face of adversity is a must.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of current DOE processes and typical contract designs on work rules, wages, and benefits within a right to work state is preferred.

  • Experience with strike contingency planning processes to include work stoppages and experience with National Labor Relations Board organizing campaigns would be useful.
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to organize, analyze, and implement processes and procedures with attention to detail are beneficial.


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville