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Collective Labor and Works Councils

Once the bastion of heavy industrial and manufacturing industries, trade unions, work councils, and other employee representative organizations have made their way into the modern workforce. Blue collar workers and professionals alike in areas such as academia, healthcare, professional sports, and various service organizations are seeking or participating in collective representation.

In a highly competitive skilled labor market, the relationship between management and labor is increasingly a delicate balance of business interests. Businesses that have a represented workforce must deal with complexities that do not otherwise exist in the employer/employee relationship. Our labor, employment, and workplace safety practice offers companies a strategic partner that is skilled in the law and focused on the business needs of the company. With a worldwide network of lawyers, we are not only well versed on local laws, but especially understand the variations of labor laws throughout the world and how different jurisdictions deal with collective employment matters.

Our labor lawyers have decades of experience representing employers with and without organized workforces. For businesses that currently have a represented workforce, we support management on a number of fronts, with an overarching focus on maintaining smooth and economic company operations. This includes ensuring, among other things, that collective bargaining yields a favorable contract, that grievances and resulting arbitrations are adjusted in a way to minimize disruption to the company, that the client’s best interests are defended against unfair labor practice charges and work stoppages, and that labor issues arising in acquisitions are handled in the most strategic manner.

For businesses that do not have a represented workforce, our labor lawyers collaborate with management to respond to organizing efforts by training supervisors and preparing effective communications to employees, while ensuring the employer’s efforts are within the bounds of the law.

We provide comprehensive counsel on issues such as:

  • Collective agreements, including collective bargaining agreements and work agreements that cover:
    • Wages
    • Working conditions
    • Workforce restructuring measures
    • Mass redundancies
  • U.S. traditional labor law:
    • National Labor Relations Act Section 7 rights
    • National Labor Relations Board matters, including unfair labor practices and 10(j) injunctions
    • Railway Labor Act proceedings
  • Contract interpretation
  • Grievances and arbitrations
  • Work stoppages
  • Strategic planning in acquisitions or sales of companies with an organized workforce
  • Bankruptcy court motions to modify collective bargaining agreements
  • Employee representation on the board level
  • Dispute resolution
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