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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 422E
Category: Legal Services

Class Series Concept

Positions in this series serve as the presiding officer in their roles as a mediator, examiner, hearing officer, or arbitrator. Acting under the delegated authority of the Executive Director, positions use professional labor relations skills to perform a variety of adjudication or mediation functions to improve relationships between labor and public employers throughout the state.

 Positions in this series serve as a neutral and impartial leader and use creative means and approaches to help parties resolve disputes and manage conflict. Work performed in this series impacts the continued provision of public service.


Performs entry-level labor relations adjudication or mediation work to resolve labor management disputes.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is the first working‑level of the series.

In a learning capacity working under general supervision, observes and at times works with higher level Labor Relations Adjudicator Mediator (LRAM) staff and completes a variety of progressively-complex work assignments to support the labor relations adjudication or mediation functions for the agency. Positions are assigned hearings, mediations, and writing assignments, and perform increasingly complex assignments to work toward independently handling a full caseload as a presiding officer.  

As part of this progression, positions work with all case types and occasionally is assigned cases which would typically be handled by a Labor Relations Adjudicator/Mediator 2. While the responsibility and knowledge and skill requirements of an LRAM 1 may be equivalent to a LRAM 2 in some situations, the LRAM 1 will not be expected to perform the complexity in their caseload that is handled by higher-level LRAM staff. 

Cases handled by the Labor Relations Adjudicator/ Mediator 1 generally have little anticipated media attention with a single issue to resolve; and minimal threat of disruption to public services.

Typical Work

Under general guidance from higher level LRAM staff, independently performs the following functions:

Serves as an examiner or hearings officer for hearings:

  • Issues notice of hearing, conducts pre-hearing conferences and settlement conferences, and makes rulings on pre-hearing motions;
  • Presides at hearing and makes rulings on evidentiary issues, where the record developed at the hearing becomes the official record of the agency if the case is appealed to court;  
  • Reviews record and written briefs filed by parties, conducts legal research, and writes  formal decision .  
  • Interprets and applies the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.

Mediates single issue and other less complex cases to assist employers and unions in resolving disputes concerning the wages, hours and working conditions of employees, in order to prevent or minimize work stoppages:  

  • Meets with labor and management representatives, to ascertain their interests, positions, rationale, and priorities on outstanding issues.  Uses active listening skills and probing questions to challenge parties’ positions, and to explore opportunities for compromises which will suit their interests;
  • Maintains confidentiality of communications; 
  • Convenes and maintains order at mediation sessions; neutralizes impact of personal animosities on substantive issues; influences timing of developments based on unique knowledge of both parties’ positions and needs;
  • Working without the power of compulsion, serves as resource to parties concerning legal requirements and alternative ideas to resolve disputes.   

Arbitrates grievance disputes: Establishes hearing date and makes rulings on pre-hearing motions;

  • Presides at hearing and makes rulings on evidentiary issues;
  • Reviews evidence and written briefs filed by parties, and conducts legal research;
  • Issues formal arbitration decision (award) which is final and binding on parties.   

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Working knowledge of:  principles of labor/management relations, including economics, human resources, collective bargaining and negotiations; including the rules, practices and precedents of the Public Employment Relations Commission in its administration of one statute covering private sector employers and employees and multiple statutes covering public employers and employees.

General laws affecting labor/management relations, including employment discrimination, Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 34.05 RCW), and case precedents of National Labor Relations Board (private sector). 

Ability to: preside at hearings with impartiality, ruling on questions of admissibility of evidence;   

Prepare formal written opinions by organizing the relevant facts, arguments, and conclusions of law in clear and logical sequence, including determination of credibility of witnesses, review of record, legal briefs, and case precedents;  

Listen actively and critically analyze issues, to suggest innovative solutions while maintaining impartiality;  

Patiently, persistently and persuasively encourage parties to resolve disputes; 

Apply knowledge to diverse and changing work structures and type of public employers.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

A law degree and three years of experience in collective bargaining with major work assignments in negotiations, contract administration or related work as a union or management representative, mediator, hearing officer or examiner, arbitrator or educator in the above areas. 

A Master’s degree in labor relations, personnel management, or closely allied field will substitute for a law degree. 

Additional qualifying experience will substitute, year for year, for education.

Class Specification History

New class: 4-30-76
Revised April 9, 1980
Class code change: (formerly 0963): 4-9-80
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, minimum qualifications and title change (formerly Mediator 3): 7-1-96
New class code: (formerly 19970) effective July 1, 2007
Revised distinguishing characteristics, typical work and desirable qualifications: adopted August 16, 2007, effective August 17, 2007.
Salary Adjustment, revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, and typical work: adopted June 30, 2017, effective July 1, 2017.
Revised class series concept, definition, distinguishing characteristics adopted 5/17/2018, effective 5/18/2018.
Revised typical work on 5/17/2018.
Base range salary adjustment (from 69 to 71): adopted 2/8/2024, effective 2/9/2024.