Port of Seattle Hires New Labor Relations Director

Mikel O’Brien. Photo: Port of Seattle.

The Port of Seattle has hired longtime labor veteran Mikel O’Brien as its new senior director of labor relations, the port announced Dec. 1.

O’Brien, who had been the port’s senior manager for labor relations since 2015, brings more than 25 years of human resource and labor relations expertise to the new role, 22 of which were with the port. She also worked in HR and labor relations in Utah and Washington state. 

As senior manager, she oversaw a team responsible for “negotiating and administering 24 collective bargaining agreements covering over 1,000 employees,” as well as managing compensation studies, serving as chair on various labor-management committees, and offered labor relations training to port management.

“Mikel brings decades of experience in labor relations, management, and a deep knowledge of the practical application of her background to everyday port operations,” Port Executive Director Steve Metruck said. “I especially value Mikel’s guidance as we work with labor unions on our shared values, particularly expanding workforce development opportunities, improving customer experience at our facilities, and increasing the sustainability of our operations.”

By Karen Robes Meeks