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Training & Education

Labor Relations Institute schedule

The preliminary schedule for the Institute is shown below. Check back regularly for agenda updates.

Wednesday, May 3

10 am – 5:30 pm


1 – 5 pm

Optional early start sessions – included in Institute registration.

Advanced bargaining + interest arbitration
This session explores how to prepare bargaining for successful interest arbitration, including bargaining strategies, pitfalls to avoid, and building persuasive exhibits. It also includes case study examples of common/problematic issues.

Basics of bargaining
This half-day session offers a condensed overview of public sector collective bargaining in Washington, from the arrival of labor unions to the negotiations process to the administration of the contract. It is a must for those new to bargaining and a great refresher for seasoned professionals. Topics include choosing comparables, mandatory and permissive subjects of bargaining, unfair labor practices, and what happens when the parties can’t agree.

LEOFF 1 Disability Boards: Best practices panel
Public employers continue to face challenges in managing the cost of providing medical care to LEOFF 1 retirees. Administering a system that balances retiree rights and the public trust is crucial. This session and panel builds upon the training held at last year’s Labor Relations Institute and is intended for disability board secretaries and HR, legal, fiscal, and other management staff in jurisdictions with liability for LEOFF 1 medical costs.

Team building: How to build exceptional teams in the public sector
With such a wide breadth of responsibilities and expertise, key leaders in city hall often struggle to coalesce into a high performing team. Based on the concepts developed in “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team,” this session provides tips and techniques to help teams within your organization hit on all cylinders.

5:30 – 7 pm Welcome reception

Thursday, May 4

7:45 – 8:45 am
Breakfast provided

Networking breakfast

8 – 9 am

The registration desk will remain open throughout the day.

9 – 10:15 am

Opening general session

Go with your gut: Effective decision-making in an over-thinking world
This program combines research on brain neuroscience to show how to use all parts of your brain (and gut) for optimal decision-making. Public agency leaders must make decisions daily without the complete information. And, with disruptive change, each decision becomes more complex. Effective leaders make decisions by gathering information and sensing their intuition.

  • Learn to recognize over-thinking and how to use subtle clues from your experience an apply this in interaction with others.
  • Discover the sources of over-reactions and how to recognize the early warning signs in yourself and others.
  • Learn techniques to slow a knee-jerk reaction so that rational thought can return and how to manage reactivity with groups.

Shelley Row, P.E.
A professional engineer and former senior executive, Shelley is a leadership decision-making expert…and a recovering over-thinker. Today, she speaks and writes on infotuition® – the intersection of business pragmatics and gut feel. Making decisions in today's complex, uncertain environment requires both cognition and intuition and just the right balance between thinking and feeling. Shelley's work combines her executive experience, results from personal interviews with 77 leaders, and neuroscience to bring this powerful skill to you. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, HuffPost Business and Smartblog on Leadership. She studied with the NeuroLeadership Institute, is certified with the International Coach Federation and Business DNA Behavior Assessment, and is the incoming President of the National Speakers Association Washington, DC chapter. She is the author of four books including her latest, Think Less, Live More. Lessons from a Recovering Over-Thinker.

10:15 am – 7 pm

Exhibit open

10:15 – 10:30 am


10:30 am – Noon

Concurrent sessions

2017 PERC update
Regularly the fastest 90 minutes at LRI, this presentation tours all of the cases of note issued by the Public Employment Relations Commission in the past year. If you are new to labor relations, or are an experienced practitioner trying to keep current on developments and trends in Washington public labor law, this is the session to attend. Veteran attendees recommend that you bring the written materials in either print or digital form to aid in your note-taking.

Five tips for working with bully behaviors
How you see and deal bully behaviors will determine your success in mediation and group conflict work. In this 90-minute interactive session, learn why people bully. Explore a process that helps individuals and groups identify bulling behaviors. And discuss the behaviors so they can activate positive social pressure for the well-being of the group.

Motivate and manage using your Infotuition
Can you afford to lose productivity due to poor management? Take advantage of recent discoveries in neuroscience to more effectively motivate and manage staff.

The Public Records Act, personnel and bargaining records
Dive into an overview of the Public Records Act, including practical tips with respect to managing personnel and labor bargaining records. This session also includes a discussion of information requests under the Public Employees’ Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA), RCW 41.56., and a brief discussion of "open door" bargaining sessions.

Noon – 1:15 pm
Lunch provided


1:15 – 2:45 pm

Concurrent sessions

The opioid crisis: Understanding the workplace impact
As seen on CNN and in Time Magazine, Dr. Gary Franklin’s guidelines on regulating opioid prescriptions has swept the nation. For many years the dangers of opioid addiction and its negative impact on the workplace have been well known. Taking the steps needed to reverse the impact of the worst non-natural epidemic in modern medical history has been slowly taking hold across the country.

Preventing and investigating union retaliation
Allegations of union retaliation have become common, particularly surrounding collective bargaining and grievance processing. This session examines the legal rules surrounding employer actions, best practices to avoid allegations of retaliation, and practice tips for conducting thorough investigations

Recruiting strategies: Educating younger generations on the value of public service careers

Workplace romance
Some public employers shy away from creating guidelines that either prohibit or restrict workplace romance. Effective policy can provide guidance while balancing the interests of employers and employees and reducing the risk of unexpected legal problems for employers.

2:45 – 3 pm


3 – 4:30 pm

Concurrent sessions

The Affordable Care Act: Today, tomorrow and beyond
The Trump Administration and the Republican leadership in Congress are determined to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Learn about the latest efforts to accomplish their stated objectives and how employment-based health care may be impacted.

All that’s new and fit to print
Last year's smorgasbord Q&A session returns. Join the team from Summit Law Group as they discuss a range of current labor and employment topics of interest to public sector employers. Audience members are invited to ask panelists their toughest questions in a no-holds-barred Q&A session.

Coordinating with strategic partners during bargaining
This intermediate session is designed for anyone involved in the collective bargaining process or charged with implementing collective bargaining provisions. Learn strategies for preparing more effectively for collective bargaining by coordinating and consulting with those that manage the day-to-day living of a CBA prior to the start of the process, during the process, and after completion of the collective bargaining agreement.

Data as a tool for salary negotiation

5 – 7 pm

Exhibit reception

Friday, May 5

7:30 am – Noon


7:30 – 9 am
Breakfast provided

Networking breakfast

8 – 9:15 am
Optional breakfast roundtables

Negotiating plan transition
In 2014 the AWC Trust announced the closure of the $10 copay/$0 deductible plans, effective 1-1-18. With this date nearly upon us, we will address the plans available, reasons behind this change, and members will have the opportunity to share how this change has been negotiated in their own jurisdictions.

AWC Salary & Benefit Survey: Maximizing the potential

2017 legislative update

9:15 – 9:30 am


9:30 – 10:45 am

Concurrent sessions

Nuts and bolts FLSA
Get an update on the current status of the pending (or doomed) amendments to the FLSA regulations, plus an overview of FLSA basics, including overtime obligations, identifying exempt employees, compensatory time off, and calculating the base rate of pay.

Science of influence
When it comes to influencing and persuading others, it is often the smallest changes in our approach that can yield the biggest differences. Subtle changes in how we communicate with each other can yield huge dividends.

Strategies for developing our next wave of middle managers
Mid-level managers have a measurable impact on the overall effectiveness of our organizations. Many are promoted from within based on their technical skills, but they may not possess the people or leadership skills that are necessary to successfully lead others. This interactive intermediate level panel discussion explores strategies for developing these crucial leaders in our organizations, including creating a road map for training, coaching and mentoring them, and encouraging their own self-development.

Workplace rights in a time of trial: First amendment, flag burning, and beyond
With an undeniably politically-charged atmosphere all across the United States, now is the time to understand the scope of public employees’ rights to engage in free speech, both at the workplace and in their free time.

10:45 – 11 am


11 am – Noon

Concurrent sessions

Cutting-edge police and fire: FLSA and beyond
A more advanced session, with emphasis on police and fire issues, including the “7(k)” work cycle and other FLSA issues germane to public safety employees. The presentation also covers some emerging trends in the industry, including fire mergers/consolidations, the use of volunteer firefighters, and the status of EMTs as interest-arbitration eligible employee groups.

Following the trends: The most vexing Current issues in public sector labor law
For those who have mastered the annual PERC update, this session will take a multi-year look at PERC’s rulings – and their practical implications – on a few topics of great importance to employers. While not required, attendees will benefit from familiarity with recent PERC decisions.