Labor Relations

"The firm is intuitive and proactive, and dedicates the resources and time necessary to help us develop and maintain a positive labor relations environment, while positioning us to prevail when arbitrations or litigations arise."
– Chambers USA 2013

BakerHostetler has a long and proud history of representing U.S. businesses in their dealings with organized labor. Our relationships with many clients and the unions that represent their workers span several decades in industries including manufacturing, transportation, media, healthcare, hospitality, and sports.

We believe that the best labor relations policies are those that prevent the need to battle with the government, unions, or employees. Our focus is always on helping our clients maintain positive relationships with their workforce, and our reputation for credibility, integrity, and results is well established in the labor-management community. Protecting our client's credibility as an employer is our number one concern.

Our deep experience enables us to develop creative and effective strategies in negotiation, arbitrations, and proceedings before the NLRB and in the courts. In an era in which technology and global competition are driving rapid changes in the workplace across multiple industries, and while federal agencies have ramped up enforcement, our clients look to us to guide them through the full range of complex labor challenges.

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We have negotiated labor contracts on behalf of clients in every state in the continental United States and with every major union. In organizational drives, our clients have maintained a 95 percent win record involving some of the largest election campaigns in the private sector, including more than 15 drives involving 2,000 or more employees and one drive involving 20,000 employees. Since 2003, we have handled more than 200 arbitrations. We have deep experience helping our clients devise contingency plans for strike preparedness, including all aspects of operating the business under strike conditions.

While our practice group is comparable in size and depth to that of top employment law boutiques, we also work closely with colleagues in our more than 900 lawyer firm who concentrate their practice in other areas of law that affect relations with workers, including healthcare, taxation, mergers and acquisitions, and bankruptcy. We are well equipped to counsel management on labor issues arising from mergers and acquisitions, shutdowns, relocations, and other business reorganizations. In the public sector, we have extensive experience navigating the intricacies of municipal finance as they impact contract negotiations.

Select Experience

  • Struck a landmark agreement with a hotel labor union in a marathon bargaining session that saved a historic east coast hotel from closing. The three-year agreement gave the distressed hotel a chance to get back on its feet while preserving jobs for hotel employees—and forged a new benchmark in hospitality labor agreements. The agreement provided an exit for employees from the national retirement fund while implementing a new 401(k) plan; increased employee healthcare premiums, but with a performance incentive to defray the increase; gave employees more flexibility in paid time off arrangements; and froze wages at a slightly elevated level for three years. The agreement also created additional novel performance incentives.
  • Assisted a major international media company in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement at a San Diego television station, ending a six-year labor dispute with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) representing bargaining unit. When the company acquired the TV station and other TV stations from another international media conglomerate in 2012, the TV station had been without a collective bargaining agreement since 2006 and had been subject to constant litigation and a boycott brought by the California Labor Council. We worked with NABET at the international and local levels to negotiate a three-year agreement that preserved many of the changes that had been unilaterally implemented by the previous company while providing for the transition of employees to the new company’s compensation and benefit packages. The terms of employment also gave the company the flexibility to operate on the Internet and elsewhere without being subjected to work jurisdictional claims by the union.
  • Represented a client in successful opposition of a union organizing drive by the Teamsters, who waged a determined, heavy-hitting campaign against our client in an industry that does not have a history of unionization. The client had purchased the target company only four months before the union filed its petition. Within days we assisted the client in developing a comprehensive campaign plan that included helping the new owners develop camaraderie and trust with a largely Spanish-speaking workforce. Our attorneys worked closely with local and national leadership to ensure that the client ran a lawful and effective campaign. The employer won the initial election. The Teamsters challenged the results but walked away from a re-run election.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Marc A. Antonetti Partner Washington, D.C.
M.J. Asensio Partner Columbus
Elliot S. Azoff Partner Cleveland
Louis J. Cannon Associate Washington, D.C.
Ryan A. Cates Associate Columbus
Hurlie H. Collier Of Counsel Houston
Sima L. Cutler Staff Attorney Columbus
Lindsey D'Andrea Associate Columbus
Todd A. Dawson Partner Cleveland
Joseph C. Devine Partner Columbus
Dustin M. Dow Associate Cleveland
Jennifer E. Edwards Partner Columbus
Samuel E. Endicott Associate Columbus
Peter G. Fischer Associate Washington, D.C.
Ashlee C. Grant Associate Houston
David A. Grant Partner Washington, D.C.
Daniel J. Guttman Partner Columbus
Yalda M. Haery Associate New York
Jeremiah L. Hart Associate Columbus
David G. Holcombe Partner Cincinnati
Nancy Inesta Partner Los Angeles
Laura R. Kaufman Associate Washington, D.C.
Jay P. Krupin Partner Washington, D.C.
Ronald G. Linville Partner Columbus
Richard S. Mandelson Partner Denver
Meagan Martin Associate Orlando
Amanda L. McHenry Associate Columbus
M. Scott McIntyre Partner Cincinnati
Patrick M. Muldowney Partner Orlando
Travis I. Owsley Staff Attorney Columbus
Matthew L. Roberts Partner Columbus
Paul Rosenberg Partner New York
James W. Seegers Counsel Orlando
Thomas M. Seger Partner Cleveland
Kevin W. Shaughnessy Partner Orlando
Jeffrey R. Vlasek Partner Cleveland

Experience

  • Struck a landmark agreement with a hotel labor union in a marathon bargaining session that saved a historic east coast hotel from closing. The three-year agreement gave the distressed hotel a chance to get back on its feet while preserving jobs for hotel employees—and forged a new benchmark in hospitality labor agreements. The agreement provided an exit for employees from the national retirement fund while implementing a new 401(k) plan; increased employee healthcare premiums, but with a performance incentive to defray the increase; gave employees more flexibility in paid time off arrangements; and froze wages at a slightly elevated level for three years. The agreement also created additional novel performance incentives.
  • Assisted a major international media company in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement at a San Diego television station, ending a six-year labor dispute with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) representing bargaining unit. When the company acquired the TV station and other TV stations from another international media conglomerate in 2012, the TV station had been without a collective bargaining agreement since 2006 and had been subject to constant litigation and a boycott brought by the California Labor Council. We worked with NABET at the international and local levels to negotiate a three-year agreement that preserved many of the changes that had been unilaterally implemented by the previous company while providing for the transition of employees to the new company’s compensation and benefit packages. The terms of employment also gave the company the flexibility to operate on the internet and elsewhere without being subjected to work jurisdictional claims by the union.
  • Represented a client in successful opposition of a union organizing drive by the Teamsters, who waged a determined, heavy-hitting campaign against our client in an industry that does not have a history of unionization. The client had purchased the target company only four months before the union filed its petition. Within days we assisted the client in developing a comprehensive campaign plan that included helping the new owners develop camaraderie and trust with a largely Spanish-speaking workforce. Our attorneys worked closely with local and national leadership to ensure that the client ran a lawful and effective campaign. The employer won the initial election. The Teamsters challenged the results but walked away from a re-run election.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: Labor & Employment
    • Florida (2007 to 2015)
    • Ohio: Band 1 (2007 to 2015)
    • Texas (2014, 2015)
  • The Legal 500 United States: Labor and employment - Labor-management relations (2015)
  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" (2016)
    • National Tier 1
    • Cleveland, Tier 1
    • Denver, Tier 2
    • Columbus, Tier 1
    • Houston, Tier 1
    • Orlando, Tier 1
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2016)
    • 16 lawyers named in Labor Law - Management
  • Corporate Counsel® and The American Lawyer magazines "Go-to Law Firm" for Labor & Employment by general counsel (2013) 
  • Workforce Management Magazine: Top Employment Law Firms
  • The Lawdragon/Human Resource Executive list of the Nation's Top Employment Attorneys includes three members of the team in their Top 100 list, with one additional attorney named among the nation's top 20 labor lawyers.
  • Florida Trend “Legal Elite"
  • Numerous partners have been certified as employment law specialists by their respective state bar associations.

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By David A. Posner
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Employment Class Action Blog
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