How do I Become a Labor Relations Manager?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2018
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Labor relations managers are human relations specialists who ease the communication between workers and management. For example, labor relations managers might do tasks such as helping management go through the contract negotiation process with workers. Labor relations managers might also enable the resolution of employee complaints against management or they might enable the resolution of complaints that may occur due to workers being laid off. If you hope to become a labor relations manager, you generally will need a college degree and a postgraduate degree.

Getting a bachelor's degree in labor relations or human resources can be helpful if you aspire to become a labor relations manager. Coursework will typically include courses such as performance management, personnel selection, human resources management, and how to manage termination of employees. Other required coursework could include mediation and business ethics.

Doing a college human resources internship can also be useful if you seek to become a labor relations manager. The internship supplements classroom learning and will enable you to have real-world exposure to situations such as what it means to analyze collective bargaining agreements or monitor working conditions to make sure companies are complying with the terms of their contractual agreement with workers. Also, you gain experience in preparing reports that address market conditions or salary surveys so the company will know exactly what a fair wage is for its workers.


Labor relations work can be stressful because their work is done with the goal of avoiding lawsuits against the company. Also, labor relations managers must stay abreast of the changes in labor law as they occur. This means that in addition to working, when they go home they must read constantly in order to remain knowledgeable about everything that could be of relevance to the company and it's legal relationship with workers.

Granted, if you become a labor relations manager, keep in mind that labor relationships managers do not solely work in companies. They work in other environments such as workers' unions or they work in city, state, or federal government agencies. Also, they make certain that labor laws get followed. They are knowledgeable about issues such as fair wages, reasonable work hours, and safety laws pertaining to work, and they are knowledgeable about the legal rights workers have and give advise accordingly.

Labor relations management work can lead to other careers. For instance, if you become a labor relations manager, after a few years, you could choose to go to law school and become a human resources attorney. Or, you could pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in the area of labor relations so you could teach college courses. By contrast, you could start your own labor relations consulting business where you advise companies on how to handle their relationships with workers to maximize worker productivity.



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