Danésha Nichols provides day to day oversight to the Labor Relations Unit in Employee & Labor Relations (ELR), including the collective bargaining, union relations, contract and policy interpretation and administration, grievance and complaint management, advocacy, and unemployment administration functions. She is also the main point person on the SX (Service), PA (Police), F3 (Firefighters), DX (Student Health Physicians),and the EX (Patient Care Technical) Collective Bargaining Agreements.
When did you join the University?
I started in Employee and Labor Relations in September 2004.
What's your day-to-day role in stewarding university resources?
Each day brings something new, but typically I provide support to the UCD community throughout the grievance and arbitration process, provide contract and policy analysis to ensure we are meeting our contractual/policy obligations, as well as getting the benefit of our bargain with those contracts, and I facilitate labor/management relations and collective bargaining and negotiations.
What's an example of how you delight customers?
Usually if I am called into a workplace matter, there is some degree of conflict. My goal is to be sympathetic to both sides and see if we can find common ground. If the parties can agree to some give and take, many instances of conflict can be resolved. When that is not possible, I endeavor to be available, responsive, consistent, fair, and honest. I also do my best to respect all parties to the conflict and the processes available to redress conflict in the workplace. To the extent people involved in the conflict feel they were able to be heard, they were respected throughout the process, and that the process was fair, I count that as success.
What do you like best about working at UC Davis?
My favorite thing about working at UC Davis is the people with whom I work. This community is so diverse, dedicated, and talented. I am inspired to do my best work and be my best self here. It may sound cliché but my colleagues are so much more than co-workers. We have really developed such warm, supportive, and close friendships over the years. And, because of this interconnectivity, I think we are better able to meet the needs of our customers.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging aspect of the work I do is that I cannot please everyone. I love when I can facilitate win-win solutions in conflict laden situations, but there are times when this is not possible. I deal with this reality by carrying myself with integrity, kindness, respect, and compassion. If I can look back over my interactions and feel that I have done my best and stayed true to those guiding principles, than I can feel good about the challenges. Also, I keep an open mind. There are times when despite my best efforts or intentions, I may miss something or make a mistake. I admit my mistakes, accept constructive feedback, and do better going forward. At the end of the day, that’s really all I can do.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.
I am an incredibly talented sing-along-with- the-car-radio singer (if that’s a phrase) and a pretty doggoned good dance-in-my-chair dancer. Also, I have 4 beautiful kids (a 10 year old and 8 year old triplets) and an amazing, supportive husband.
What’s something you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I am not at work (or at a kid’s soccer game), I love to read and go to the movies.