Deputy Director, Labor Relations

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Human Resources
Posted on January 5, 2022
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King County is seeking a technically proficient, equity-focused, detail oriented and organizationally savvy candidate for the position of Deputy Director of Labor Relations. This position will report to the Director of Labor Relations.
The Office of Labor Relations (OLR) is an arm of the Executive Office with approximately 16 employees, the majority of who are Labor Negotiators who negotiate and help administer the County's 80 collective bargaining agreements covering approximately 12,500 represented employees. To learn more about OLR, please check out our website at:
As the only county in the United States named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our nation's history, King County is a vibrant community with residents who represent countries from around the world. It is a region with increasing diversity that values the traditions of many cultures. King County is changing the way government delivers service and has been recognized nationally as a model of excellence.
King County continues to build on a legacy of shared values: equity and social justice, employee engagement, innovative thinking, and continuous improvement. King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda aimed at advancing regional change and is developing the systems and standards necessary to achieve better outcomes for all  our residents, regardless of their race or income. All  these qualities make King County one of the nation's best places to live, work, and play.
King County provides a generous employee benefits package including comprehensive health benefits, paid parental leave, and paid time off to volunteer. For details, see:
 The Deputy Director of Labor Relations, reporting to the Director of Labor Relations, oversees operations for the professional staff representing the County in labor negotiations and administration for over 100 bargaining units. The Deputy Director partners with the Director in setting the priorities and strategic direction for the Office of Labor Relations and growing and developing the OLR team. The Deputy Director serves as the Director’s proxy in meetings with key stakeholders, including County leadership and labor unions. 

Job Duties

  1. Oversee day-to-day operations for a team of 15 employees and ensure support and execution of the Office of Labor Relations Director’s vision for labor relations and employee engagement.
  2. Partner with the Director in leading OLR’s team through a focus on employee engagement, growth and development, service excellence, and supporting team members in bringing their whole selves to work. 
  3. Serve as the Executive’s Chief Negotiator in high priority negotiations.
  4. Represent the Office of Labor Relations in meetings, and advising, communicating, and advocating the Office of Labor Relations’ recommendations, positions, and interests.
  5. Serve as a spokesperson for the King County Executive and represent King County in a variety of forums with respect to all issues relating to collective bargaining agreements and labor relations matters.  
  6. Educate the OLR team and union partners on change initiatives and develop strategies to gain support to implement.
  7. Address and manage a variety of complex labor relations issues, interacting with a diverse group of organizations and individuals.
  8. Participate in the development and implementation labor relations strategic plans.  
  9. Perform other duties as assigned.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

  • Demonstrate the ability to lead a high-performing team of staff.  Leadership ability is the single most important qualification for this position.  The selected candidate will be expected to support a culture of learning and growth and uphold the vision and values of the Office of Labor Relations.
  • Demonstrated experience with labor contract negotiation and administration.
  • Experience applying labor and employment law and consulting with clients and stakeholders on labor and employment issues.
  • Provide knowledge and advice to improve the County's labor relations strategy, outcomes, and partnerships.
  • Be able to work effectively with the County Executive, Executive Office staff, agency directors and staff of County agencies, County Council staff, and external parties to develop budgets and related plans.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to equity and social justice, including leading efforts to further implement these priorities.
  • Experience with labor-management committees, mediation, and other forms of conflict resolution.
  • A track record of successful collaboration with clients and an array of stakeholders.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Can adapt as necessary, while working in a multi-faceted and continuously changing environment.
  • An interest in continually improving how they approach work.

Supplemental Information

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers. 
 Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.
 Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement 
King County Executive Branch employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  If you are the successful candidate for the position you applied for, the County will send you a conditional offer letter. 
As a condition of employment, prior to a final offer of employment, you will be required to:
submit proof of vaccination or
have an approved request for medical or religious exemption and an approved accommodation.  Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation.
People are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the final dose of a vaccination approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Executive Branch includes employees in the Executive branch, the Assessor’s Office, Elections, the King County Sheriff’s Office, and the Executive Office. 
King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.  
This position is open to all qualified internal and external applicants.
Candidates are asked to fully complete an online job application and submit a resume and letter of interest to ensure consideration. Letters of interest should demonstrate how a candidate's experience, skills, and abilities fit the needs of the position.
Please do not leave sections of the online application blank or use the shorthand “see resume”.
If you have any questions about this recruitment, please contact Seth Daniel Watson, HR Manager, at 206-477-5330 or

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.