Home  |   About us  |   Partner with AWC  |   Login      

Training & Education

Labor Relations Institute schedule

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

Wednesday, May 3

12:30 – 6:30 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.

The five practices of exemplary leadership
Leadership is not about personality; it’s about behavior – an observable set of skills and abilities. If you’re looking to polish your leadership skills and learn how to mobilize others to want to get extraordinary things done, this interactive workshop is designed for you!

5:30 – 7 pm Welcome reception

Thursday, May 4

7:30 am – 5:30 pm

The registration desk will remain open throughout the day.

7:45 – 8:45 am
Breakfast provided

Networking breakfast

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.

What bullies don’t want you to know
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.

Effective disciplinary actions
An overview of the steps of progressive discipline and due process. The goal is to demonstrate how to effectively discipline employees and avoid grievance actions. In using both corrective actions and formal disciplines, the employer must be aware not only of agency rules and the collective bargaining requirements, but also the general principals of just cause and due process.

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

Reinventing pain care: The antidote to the worst invented epidemic in modern medical history
Since the late 1990s, the U.S. has experienced an unprecedented epidemic of addiction and mortality related to overuse of prescription opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain. Washington State has taken numerous bold steps over the past 12 years to reverse the epidemic, resulting in a sustained 44% reduction in deaths. Opioids have also contributed to preventable disability in the workers compensation system, which has also been largely reversed through collaboration and policy. Finally, the state is moving towards more comprehensive approaches to the treatment of pain on a population-basis through team based collaborative care.

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
Do you ever wonder what local governments will face in the future? Our presentation discusses the significant challenges in attracting and retaining talent in the years ahead as retiring baby boomers are replaced by a workforce that is younger, more diverse, more mobile, and more reliant on information and communication technologies. The workforce of the future will have different expectations of employers and employment than their predecessors. “Smart Creatives,” a.k.a. millennials prefer self-directed work – the ability to work on what they want when they want with people who share a collaborative purpose. This talk gives you techniques to attract “Smart Creatives.” Learn what you need to know to be a local government leader and how to achieve success.

Behind closed doors: Workplace romance
Most people spend more than half of their waking hours at work, so it is not surprising that many people will end up dating (or even marrying) a co-worker. And yet, workplace romance has become a significant source of legal exposure for employers. As some employers have also learned, these relationships can be highly disruptive to the work environment. So what is an employer to do? To what extent can an employer regulate the personal, relationships of your employees? To what extent should an employer do so?

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.

Using data as a tool for negotiation and collaborative problem solving
Three veteran negotiators discuss innovative approaches for using data strategically in bargaining and beyond to overcome distrust, build partnerships and negotiate collaborative sustainable contracts. Panelists will present illustrative projects.

5 – 7 pm

Exhibit reception

Friday, May 5

7:30 am – Noon


7:30 – 9:15 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 potential
AWC undertakes a comprehensive annual survey to assist its member jurisdictions in developing and defending salary and benefits packages for labor negotiations, as well as for establishing salary and benefits provided to employees who are not represented. AWC has contracted with Nolen Consulting to evaluate potential changes to this tool to ensure it continues to meet members’ evolving needs. Join the consultant and AWC staff over breakfast to hear about some of the changes being considered and share your own thoughts about how we can maximize the potential of this tool.

2017 legislative update
Sine die was April 23 – but there’s no end in sight for the Washington State Legislature. Hear about legislative issues and initiatives that may impact your jurisdiction’s budget and workforce planning.

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.

Public records: Insights on compliance and effective policy
Public records and personal devices is the focus of this informative and engaging session. As technology advances so does the reach of the PRA which includes the use of personal devices by public servants. Model practices that should be adopted, and how to best retrieve public communications on private devices. Is privacy sacrificed or is it just convenience?

The power of words: How good is your CBA?
Do you have skeletons in the closet in the form of weaknesses in your collective bargaining agreement (CBA) language? Take a practical look at your CBA for common language flaws and pitfalls. Identify areas of potential grievances and civil liability.