About this practice
The world, its laws and the labor landscape as we know it have been transformed by the global pandemic. In a matter of months, society and the traditional workplace model have been thrown into upheaval. Every employer must consider new preventive labor relations approaches and best practices that take these changes into account, while balancing adherence to regulatory schemes and contractual obligations. The stakes remain high.
Most employers work hard and make sincere efforts to keep pace with the changing workplace and culture, while ensuring that they can operate successfully. At the heart of positive employee relations is aligning the needs of employers and employees through proactive communication and problem solving.
We advise employers in all industries, whether they are fully unionized, fully non-union or somewhere in between. We offer strategic legal advice in assessing and addressing vulnerabilities, strengthening employee relations, and communicating effectively and lawfully with employees, whether in the midst of an organizing campaign, in a period of transition for the organization, or any other context.
We work hard to keep both our unionized and non-union clients informed of their rights and obligations under the National Labor Relations Act — including the frequently changing interpretations of the NLRA by the National Labor Relations Board. We can be assured that the law will continue to change. Understanding the law is only part of what clients need; clients demand to know where the law is and where it is going. Our advice reflects our collective experience and insights into the evolution of the law and how it is enforced.
Our labor attorneys have represented private and public sector clients in thousands of matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), arbitrators, mediators, state labor boards, other government agencies and state and federal courts. On a daily basis, we offer legal advice and counsel to employers regarding corporate campaigns, union organizing campaigns, card check and neutrality agreements, protected concerted activity, NLRB elections, contract negotiations, grievance and arbitration proceedings, unfair labor practices, cross border labor issues, recent and anticipated NLRB decisions, new agency and legislative initiatives, federal contractor requirements, traditional and third party economic activity pressures (such as picketing, bannering or hand billing), internet-based public appeals (such as through websites, blogs and social media), work stoppages and walkouts, LMRDA compliance, injunction proceedings, purchase/sales, reductions and reorganizations, cross-practice issues (coordinated with immigration, workplace safety, sports, wage and hour, privacy and other workplace practices), as well as the entire range of pre- and post-hire employee relations issues. We have been retained to offer legal advice to many employers who have succeeded in winning NLRB elections or in averting union elections altogether. We also have represented unionized employers in negotiations ranging from “bet the farm” situations to simple contract renewals.
Services we offer
Overall Services Provided to Both Non-Union and Unionized Employers
For all employers, we:
- Provide legal advice on laws impacting labor relations, including decisions of the National Labor Relations Board and courts, regulatory changes and rulemaking, guidance from the Board’s general counsel and advised divisions and agency enforcement initiatives;
- Provide legal advice to company boards of directors, senior leadership, in house counsel, human resources and labor relations executives and operations management as they develop and implement strategic, comprehensive positive employee relations programs that are legal and appropriate in today’s changing workplace;
- Conduct and advise on vulnerability assessments and legal review of employers’ labor and employee relations policies and practices, and make legal recommendations for changes and the adoption of workplace policies that support best practices;
- Design and conduct tailored education and training programs for management covering such topics as guidance on responding to organizing efforts, collective bargaining objectives and proactive workplace communications;
- Provide legal advice including on-site management counseling during corporate campaigns, union organizing, negotiations, picketing, handbilling and other related activities;
- Advise on the development of employee handbooks, supervisory and policy manuals, social media policies, class action waivers, confidentiality agreements, internal investigations, alternative dispute resolution and other problem solving procedures, employee orientation programs, communications and government relations programs so that all such documents, policies and processes are state of the art and comply with all legal requirements;
- Advise on best practices to lawfully implement safety measures in emergency situations. Recently, we have assisted employers during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop and implement policies and interim benefits, handle interruptions and loss of volumes, adapt bargaining strategies, and ensure staff safety, mobility and coverage, giving due consideration to bargaining and other legal obligations; and
- Provide legal advice and representation on labor relations and related issues in the context of mergers, acquisitions, due diligence, consolidations and business closures.
Additional Services Provided to Non-Union Employers
We advise employers before and during union organizing on a daily basis, including but not limited to providing services such as:
- Overall strategic legal advice;
- Board/executive/management/supervisor training relating to union organizing and/or corporate campaigns;
- Legal/HR assessments to advise regarding lawful, effective best practices;
- Recommendations regarding lawful employer communications;
- Bargaining unit advice; and
- Other legal recommendations for employer consideration.
We wrote the nationally recognized book “Winning NLRB Elections” and are regularly retained to advise and represent companies during NLRB “R” cases. Our representation of employers in thousands of NLRB representation cases and unit clarification proceedings has run the full gamut, including stipulations, significant contested hearings, post-election objections and appeals. We have developed tailored corporate campaign advice and strategy/action plan recommendations for our clients’ consideration so that organizations can remain employers of choice.
Additional Services Provided to Partially or Fully-Unionized Employers
For unionized employers, we:
- Provide legal representation during collective bargaining negotiations either “at the bargaining table” or “behind the scenes” as legal counselors and advisors, including:
- Analyzing contracts, grievance history and arbitration awards to legally advise and recommend strategies for contract negotiations and long-term labor relations management based on changes in the law, bargaining trends and our client’s needs;
- Meeting with and advising management about legally appropriate strategies to achieve the client’s collective bargaining goals;
- Developing strategies and approaches for high liability issues such as withdrawal liability and health care reform;
- Advising clients regarding lawful communications with employees, the press, public officials and others about negotiations;
- Advising and/or representing employers if federal, state or city mediators become involved in the bargaining process; and
- Advising clients about contingency plans to meet the legal challenges for continued operations in the event of a work stoppage, strike or other cessation of work.
- Provide representation during the term of a collective bargaining agreement, including:
- Representing clients during grievance and arbitration proceedings;
- Educating front-line management where legal advice is offered to properly and effectively administer the collective bargaining agreement;
- Communicating with union officials (or advising our clients to do so) about unanticipated or critical issues that arise during the term of the contract; and
- Advising clients regarding the legal strategy surrounding mid-term modifications to the collective bargaining agreement.
- Represent clients in deauthorization, decertification and unit clarification proceedings before the NLRB.
Additional Services Provided to Clients During Purchase/Sale and Other Transactions
We have significant experience providing labor, employment and benefits advice in the context of mergers, acquisitions, asset purchases, management agreements, corporate restructurings and other transactions. Our attorneys frequently advise and work closely with a client’s internal and regular outside corporate counsel in these areas.
Examples of the specific services we provide to buyers, sellers and investors include advice and counseling with respect to:
- Strategic planning for the transaction;
- The due diligence process;
- Statutory compliance with federal, state and local laws (WARN statutes, dislocated worker statutes, successorship and withdrawal liability issues, ADEA, ERISA, COBRA, NLRA, etc.);
- Executive compensation, employment agreements and restrictive covenants;
- Disposition of employee benefit and compensation arrangements, including advice and negotiation of arrangements in the collective bargaining context, advice on multiemployer pension and welfare benefit plan issues, development of successor benefit arrangements and other post-transaction benefits matters;
- Negotiation and drafting of the terms of agreements, memoranda and other transactional documents;
- Development of post-transaction labor strategies;
- Negotiation of successor collective bargaining agreements; and
- Integration of business units after the closing of a transaction.