The Labor Relations Division oversees contractual agreements between the City of Chicago and uniform, as well as civilian, employees represented by bargaining unit agreements, including the Chicago Firefighters Union – Local #2, AFSCME, and the Laborer’s Union. Division personnel are responsible for contract negotiations, contract compliance, grievances, arbitrations and other matters requiring interpretation of labor contracts, as they apply to the rules and regulations governing the day-to-day activities of the department. They are also responsible for tracking and reviewing employee disciplinary investigations, and determining the level of discipline imposed in sustained cases. This division also works closely with the department’s attorney, Personnel Division, and the City of Chicago’s Law Department and the Department of Personnel and the Benefits Management Division on employee issues.
The Human Relations Division promotes change from within the department in the areas of diversity, conflict resolution, leadership, communication and team building. In order to meet this challenge, an advisory committee was appointed representing a multi-cultural cross section of department employees with representatives from all divisions and ranks. A structured internal mentoring program has been developed that matches probationary employees who may need guidance, with seasoned firefighters and paramedics who have proven skills and abilities, as they apply to the social and practical aspects of the job at every level. A peer mediation program, using a proactive, voluntary approach toward resolving workplace conflicts, has been useful as a preventive measure before problems can escalate. The Human Relations Division also provides training for current and newly promoted supervisors with interpersonal skills development.