Senior Labor Relations Associate - San Diego

Job Title:                    Senior Labor Relations Associate

Department:               Labor Relations

Location:                    San Diego, CA

Reports To:                Area Managing Director

FLSA Status:             Exempt


 (This is not a dockworker position. It is not covered by the contracts negotiated between the ILWU and PMA.)

Put your experience and talents to work in a role with a unique company - the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). PMA is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation that serves as a multi-employer collective bargaining agent for approximately 75 shipping lines, stevedore companies and marine terminal operators at California, Oregon and Washington ports. West Coast port operations (including non-containerized cargo such as bulk and autos) now support 9.2 million U.S. jobs and contribute 12.5 percent of the U.S. GDP.

PMA’s primary purpose is to negotiate and administer labor contracts with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union on behalf of the Association’s member companies, as well as administrating payroll and certain benefits. Our headquarters and administrative office is located in San Francisco, California, with area offices in Southern California (Long Beach, with satellite offices in Port Hueneme and San Diego) and the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon and Seattle and Tacoma, Washington) in addition to Northern California (Oakland).


This key generalist position supports San Diego member companies in a variety of functional areas including, but not limited to: Labor Relations, Training, Safety, Allocations and Dispatch.  The role must proactively and reactively interpret and implement provisions of the ILWU-PMA Longshore labor agreements to resolve problems and assure compliance by both parties. The scale and scope of the role encompasses all aspects of labor administration in San Diego with selected complex issues support for the larger Southern California Area. The Senior Labor Relations Associate must be able to leverage exceptional communication skills and strong integrity to guide issues resolution while exhibiting sensitivity to precedents and pending contract administration and arbitration cases.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Cultivate productive working relationships with local union officials, member company representatives and port representatives.
  • Research and analyze labor trends in San Diego to develop recommendations for short- and long-term goals for labor availability.
  • Provide 24-hour labor relations support (on call) to member companies in the San Diego ecosystem.
  • Participate in complex studies of labor requirements and coordinate local integration between the labor management process and technological analytical solutions.
  • Forecast San Diego manpower needs; work with Area resources to develop labor allocation strategies.
  • Analyze the collective bargaining agreement and interpret the intent, spirit, and terms of the contracts to counsel management in the development and application of labor relations policies and practices. 
  • Represent management and meet with Union officials and company representatives to investigate and resolve grievances.
  • Promote Contract compliance through attentive monitoring of implementation of policies concerning wages, hours and working conditions.
  • Prepare for and lead Labor Relations Committee meetings, arbitrations, and negotiations.
  • Advise management on execution of labor agreement provisions and related contract implementation elements (e.g., discipline, work practice changes).
  • Identify chronic labor relations problem areas and recommend solutions.
  • Prepare statistical reports of types and frequency of actions taken concerning grievances, arbitration, and related labor relations activities, to identify problem areas.
  • Investigate violation complaints against Longshore workers. Submit findings and recommend actions.

  • Plan, conduct, and facilitate Joint Accident Prevention Committee meeting with management and labor in order to address accident potentials and implement accident prevention measures in area ports.  Act as secretary and publish minutes from each of the meetings.
  • Plan and implement safety, accident prevention and security policies and procedures to comply with federal, state and local regulations.  Prepare and analyze accident data and develop prevention programs.
  • Manage Dispatch Hall Observation budget costs.


To perform the job successfully, the candidate must be competent in the following areas:

  • Facility in quickly establishing effective working relationships at all organizational levels.
  • Ability to read, analyze and interpret collective bargaining agreements, common scientific and technical journals, financial reports and legal documents.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the ILWU-PMA Pacific Coast Longshore and Clerks Agreement and the Pacific Coast Walking Bosses/Foremen Agreement, dispatching procedures in the relevant port areas, and grievance and arbitration preparation skills.
  • Expert analytical and complex problem solving capabilities.
  • Strong communication, interpersonal and negotiating skills in working collaboratively with all levels of the organization.
  • Proven ability to handle sensitive and confidential situations with diplomacy, resolving problems in a timely manner using sound judgment and discretion.
  • Agility in productively advancing multiple projects, working calmly and with patience under pressure.
  • Exhibit a high level of proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, including word processing, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations; Oracle experience is a plus.
  • Expert skillset in forecasting and statistical reporting disciplines.  
  • Ability to prioritize and plan work activities using strong organizational skills.
  • Deep attention to details, demonstrating accuracy and thoroughness with self-monitoring to ensure high-quality work products.
  • Experience in effective presentation of information to top management and public groups.   
  • Strong sense of initiative to effectively work independently and as part of a team.                                                                                                                    

EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE                                                                                                           

Five or more years of broad experience in a corporate (or similar) environment is required -- maritime industry experience is highly desirable.

A Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or other related subject from an accredited four-year college or university is preferred.  A valid automotive driver’s license is required.


·   Must be able to work and sit at a computer terminal for an extended period of time.

·   Will be required to drive to various waterfront locations, walk around marine terminals, climb aboard ships and various cargo handling equipment, transport training material and travel to other locations.

·   Must be able to lift up to 10 lbs.

·   Must be able to crouch, bend and reach on a daily basis.

·   Exposure to inclement weather may be required.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the position.

Pacific Maritime Association is an equal opportunity employer.


The work environment combines a small office setting with frequent visits to field locations that can be chaotic and hectic. This position requires independent local travel to various ports in the San Diego, Port Hueneme, and Southern California area, with visits to docks, terminals and ships. It is occasionally necessary to board ships in all weather conditions. A valid Driver’s License and privately owned vehicle are required for this job.  The position is based in the city of San Diego, CA) with regular travel to the PMA Long Beach, CA office.


Please email your cover letter and resume to:          

Human Resources Department


Please write “Senior Labor Relations Associate – San Diego” in the subject line.