Union organizing, corporate campaigns, labor-management relations, and other labor relations issues can be emotionally charged, highly visible, and almost always significant to a business and its operations. Our labor relations attorneys understand the practical and legal issues, as well as the political, community, and economic environments in which they arise. We have extensive, successful experience dealing with union organizing and corporate campaigns, and with providing ongoing assistance maintaining a union-free workplace, as well as advising employers with unionized workforces. Our attorneys often assist employers faced with threatened or actual work stoppages or picketing; business acquisition, disposition, and sourcing labor complications; collective bargaining negotiations, contract grievances and arbitrations; and representation in National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation and unfair labor practice matters.
Strategic counseling and planning
The most successful labor relations philosophy encourages a non-adversarial atmosphere where employees are committed to achieving their employer’s objectives. Whether an employer is union-free or fully or partially unionized, we assist employers to create and implement strategies, including policies, procedures, and communication mechanisms, to meet business objectives without compromising employee loyalty, enthusiasm, or productivity.
We guide employers through labor relations challenges associated with all types of transactions, including mergers, dispositions, and acquisitions; bankruptcy proceedings; successorship issues; pension plan withdrawal liability issues; business shutdowns, layoffs and work transfers; and outsourcing and subcontracting issues—always alert to the legal, and employee and public relations implications of these situations.
Nixon Peabody attorneys regularly serve as lead negotiators and advisors in collective bargaining opposite some of the largest and most aggressive labor unions in North America. We have negotiated on behalf of individual employers or multi-employer bargaining associations in a wide array of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, transportation, health care, hospitality, and construction.
In addition to collective bargaining, we assist unionized employers with administration of their labor agreements and maintenance of their labor relationships through a balanced approach, combining negotiation, conciliation, and, when appropriate, aggressive representation. Our attorneys possess extensive experience facilitating labor-management meetings; interpreting labor contracts; investigating and preparing grievance responses and arbitrating grievances; restructuring workforces; transferring work; freezing single employer defined benefit pension plans and withdrawing from multi-employer plans; and assisting with rightsizing and shutdowns.
Labor issues are not restricted to employers with labor unions. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) has broad implications for employers without unions because it provides extensive and expanding protections to employees and unions, even when union organizing or membership is not an issue. Employers of all types can benefit from carefully crafted policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the NLRA and reduce exposure to organizing activity.
Our attorneys have significant experience assisting employers, large and small, in a wide array of industries, to resist unionization efforts through proactive and progressive employee relations; union-avoidance training; union campaign strategy oversight and development; representation in NLRB proceedings, including extensive R-case experience; and a wide array of services related to discouraging and defeating corporate campaigns.
Strikes, picketing, boycotts, corporate campaigns, lockouts, work slowdowns, and other job actions by employees and unions can be devastating to a business. We have extensive experience developing and implementing sophisticated strategies to assist employers to address each of these challenges with a minimum of disruption to their operations. This experience includes prosecuting and defending unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB, and pursuing injunctive relief in federal and state courts to enjoin unlawful or unprotected strikes, or to prevent violence, property damage, and other disruption to operations.
National Labor Relations Board representation
Nixon Peabody attorneys have worked with, and for, NLRB offices across the country. This experience allows us to provide unique insights and to develop effective strategies for addressing unfair labor practice charges; representation matters; secondary boycotts, picketing, and handbilling; and unit clarification, union deauthorization, and certification proceedings.
Litigation & arbitration
When necessary or appropriate, we pursue or defend litigation in state and federal courts, or before arbitration tribunals, as part of an overall strategy to accomplish our clients’ labor relations goals. Our labor attorneys have handled hundreds of labor arbitrations and litigated actions involving a range of issues, including strike and picketing injunction proceedings, breach-of-contract actions, and defense of benefit plans claims for contributions and benefits.