Management of unionized workplaces requires deft negotiating skill and practical experience building working relationships with organized labor. Many employers rely on our sound advice to manage relations with their unionized workforces or to implement employee relations strategies that reduce the likelihood of employees unionizing. Because new rules have shortened the timeframes for employers to react to union organizing efforts, our lawyers help employers develop proactive strategies for handling such efforts.
For clients with unionized workforces, we handle the full range of labor relations needs, including collective bargaining, contract administration, work stoppages, and arbitrations and grievance procedures.
We tailor all labor negotiations to match your business goals and priorities. Whether that means serving in negotiations as your company’s chief spokesperson or acting as a behind-the-scenes strategist, we help you negotiate a path that serves your company’s best interests long-term. To accomplish these goals, we help employers plan for and structure important organizational changes —from introductions of labor-saving technologies, to layoffs and reductions of employee classes, to mergers and acquisitions. This may involve us bargaining individually or collectively or coordinating multi-location, multi-union agreements to accomplish your goals.
Labor Contract Administration
The day-to-day operation of an organization under a collective bargaining agreement is a critical part of the overall bargaining relationship. Properly managed, contract administration builds predictability and trust that serves the parties well during periodic negotiations for new agreements. Unanticipated problems can be addressed as they arise and can set the stage for updates to the collective bargaining agreement during periodic negotiations.
We regularly collaborate with clients that have collective bargaining agreements, helping the client identify its goals and best implement those goals through the collective bargaining agreement and external law.
Labor Arbitrations and Prohibited Practices Claims
Arbitration is a lynchpin of most collective bargaining agreements for a good reason. The process provides a quick, efficient, and final resolution to disputes between parties based on the parties’ own agreements. Properly used, arbitration can help fine-tune a collective bargaining agreement over time; as arbitration decisions inform bargaining, new agreements in turn impact future arbitration decisions.
Our lawyers address at arbitration almost every issue that can arise under collective bargaining agreements—from simple discipline cases to broad-reaching employee benefit issues. Because arbitrations can be more effective than other forums or negotiations for working through certain operational changes, our attorneys can help you identify which changes likely present opportunities for better results through arbitration.
As with arbitration, our approach to handling prohibited practice complaints is to recognize that these claims are part of the bargaining relationship and to either pursue or defend such claims with an eye towards the larger goals of the organization.