Eric Langston on Navigating the Evolving Landscape of Labor Relations

Eric Langston
Photo Credit: Eric Langston

Eric Langston, a seasoned labor and employee relations professional, currently serves as the Director of Labor Relations at JBS USA. His career, marked by a blend of military and civilian roles, includes six years in the Air National Guard’s intelligence space and various positions within the Department of Defense. Eric holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations and a Master’s in Public Administration, focusing on Organizational Management. Recognized for his expertise in strategic planning and labor law, Eric has also engaged in advocacy in Kenya and was honored with an Air Force Fellowship in 2020, enhancing his skills in cybersecurity and joint warfare doctrine.

Q & A With Eric Langston

Can you tell us about your role as Director, Labor Relations at JBS USA and what it involves?

Eric Langston: As the Director of Labor Relations at JBS USA, my role centers on fostering productive partnerships and effective labor strategies in both public and private sectors. This involves navigating complex workplace dynamics, ensuring efficient labor relations, and designing strategies that align with the organization’s objectives while respecting employee rights and fostering a positive work environment.

Your career has spanned various roles, including in the intelligence space with the Air National Guard. How has this diverse experience influenced your approach to labor relations?

Eric Langston: My time in the intelligence space, particularly with the Air National Guard, instilled in me a deep appreciation for strategic thinking and operational planning. The skills I honed there, such as tactical planning and supply chain management, have been invaluable in my labor relations work. They’ve taught me to anticipate challenges, strategize effectively, and maintain continuity in various scenarios.

What motivated you to pursue a career in labor and employee relations?

Eric Langston: My passion for workplace diplomacy and my insatiable curiosity about 21st-century labor relations in North America were my main motivators. I’ve always been fascinated by the dynamics of the workplace and the impact effective labor relations can have on both the workforce and the overall success of an organization.

How did your educational background in Political Science, International Relations, and Public Administration shape your professional path?

Eric Langston: My academic background laid a solid foundation for understanding the complex interplay between organizational management and public policy. The skills and knowledge I gained in political science and international relations, coupled with my focus on organizational management in public administration, have been crucial in shaping my approach to labor relations and understanding the broader societal and political factors that influence the workplace.

Can you speak about your advocacy work in Kenya and how it has impacted your professional perspective?

Eric Langston: My advocacy work in Kenya, especially lobbying for the protection of indigenous tribes and promoting stricter small arms policies, has broadened my perspective on global issues and the importance of responsible governance. It underscored the need for thoughtful, ethical policies in every aspect of public administration, including labor relations. This experience has been instrumental in shaping my approach to ensuring fairness and ethical practices in the workplace.

What were some key learnings from your Air Force Fellowship in 2020, and how have they influenced your current role?

Eric Langston: The Air Force Fellowship was a transformative experience that deepened my understanding of joint warfare, cybersecurity, and space doctrine. These learnings have been crucial in my current role, especially in an era where cybersecurity is increasingly relevant to labor relations and organizational management. This experience has helped me in developing strategies that are not only effective but also forward-thinking and resilient in the face of evolving technological challenges.

Key Takeaways

  • Strategic Adaptability from Military to Civilian Roles: Eric Langston‘s diverse experience, including his time in the Air National Guard and roles within the Department of Defense, has significantly shaped his strategic approach to labor relations, emphasizing the importance of anticipation, effective planning, and adaptability in the field.
  • The Impact of Education on Professional Development: Eric’s educational background in Political Science, International Relations, and Public Administration has been fundamental in his understanding of labor dynamics, equipping him with a comprehensive perspective on how societal and political factors influence the workplace and labor policies.
  • Global Perspective Enhancing Local Practices: His advocacy work in Kenya and the learnings from his Air Force Fellowship in areas like cybersecurity have broadened his worldview, enabling him to apply a more holistic and ethically informed approach to labor relations, recognizing the importance of evolving technologies and global issues in shaping effective workplace strategies.