If an employer has a union, the techniques and ability to deal with it are highly sophisticated, requiring years of experience and knowledge. The laws governing collective bargaining relationship are complex. Failure to comply with these laws can result in substantial awards of back pay, labor unrest, and can even lead to company bankruptcy. We believe an experienced labor attorney should participate in all facets of the collective bargaining process.
Union officials are professional labor negotiators who spend virtually all of their time in collective bargaining negotiations. A successful manager or entrepreneur usually does not have sufficient expertise to compete at the bargaining table with such a union official. Our attorneys are experienced labor negotiators who have established reputations and who are known to numerous union officials and their attorneys. This experience includes acting as the bargaining representative for entire industries engaged in multi-employer bargaining with unions representing thousands of members. One of our partners has over a decade of experience representing the Milk Industry in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area in its ongoing negotiations with various teamster locals. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing employers with thousands of employees in the Milk and Nursing Home industries.
We offer more than just practical experience and legal knowledge at the bargaining table. We believe that grievance-handling, arbitrations, and contract administration are as important as the conduct of actual negotiations.
What is won in negotiations can be quickly given away by poor administration of the contract during its term. We prefer to get involved at each level of grievance proceedings and to protect management's rights under the agreement. We advise supervisors as to appropriate levels of discipline, and conduct training sessions for them so that disciplinary action will be sustained in arbitration.
In the event arbitration is necessary, our familiarity with the collective bargaining agreements, our thorough preparation, and our years of experiences before a wide variety of arbitrators enable us to achieve successful results in the vast majority of cases.
As much as we counsel avoidance of litigation, litigation before administrative agencies and federal and state courts is a growing and substantial part of our practice. Our lawyers are experienced trial attorneys in labor relations and employment law litigation in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies.
Our experience in litigation has covered:
The best way to keep your company union-free is to take preemptive steps to reduce the company's vulnerability before union organizing begins:
We assess your vulnerability to potential union organization by conducting a comparative analysis of the wages, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment of your employees receive and by assessing employee morale through intensive on-site interviews.
We train your supervisors how to be effective without antagonizing workers.
We work closely with management in developing employee handbooks, progressive disciplinary systems, effective employee communication programs and fair corporate personnel practices and policies that eliminate employee desire for union representation. Very often the composition of the voting unit, the timing of the election and the eligibility of certain voters can determine the outcome of an election. One of our partners, Clifford Chaiet, is a former attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. His background provides special insight as to how to present to the NLRB the most effective case on such issues.
In the past several decades, federal, state, and local governments have passed an enormous number of laws regulating the employment relationship. These laws apply to both union and non-union employers, as well as public sector employers. Without the advice of counsel practicing in the area of employment law, it is virtually impossible for employers to keep up with the bewildering array of laws and regulations governing the workplace. Moreover, failure to take preemptive steps to comply with these laws may cause employers to be drawn into expensive litigation with potential exposure of substantial judgments.
We work closely with our clients’ human resource departments to draft and apply policies to reduce their exposure to costly litigation. Below is a summary of some of the types of employment issues we deal with on a regular basis: