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 nearly 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
Erica L. Berencsi Associate Washington, D.C.
Damon M. Brown Staff Attorney Los Angeles
Ryan A. Cates Staff Attorney Columbus
Hurlie H. Collier Partner Houston
Lindsey D'Andrea Associate Columbus
Todd A. Dawson Partner Cleveland
Joseph C. Devine Partner Columbus
Jennifer E. Edwards Counsel Columbus
Samuel E. Endicott Associate Columbus
Peter G. Fischer Associate Washington, D.C.
David A. Grant Partner Washington, D.C.
Ellen Shadur Gross Partner Los Angeles
Daniel J. Guttman Partner Columbus
David G. Holcombe Partner Cincinnati
Nancy Inesta Partner Los Angeles
Dawn Kennedy Associate Los Angeles
Ronald J. Klepetar Of Counsel Los Angeles
Jay P. Krupin Partner Washington, D.C.
Ronald G. Linville Partner Columbus
Richard S. Mandelson Partner Denver
M. Scott McIntyre Partner Cincinnati
Patrick M. Muldowney Partner Orlando
Matthew L. Roberts Partner Columbus
Laura J. Robinson Associate Washington, D.C.
Paul Rosenberg Associate New York
Ana S. Salper Partner New York
James W. Seegers Staff Attorney Orlando
Thomas M. Seger Partner Cleveland
Kevin W. Shaughnessy Partner Orlando
Jeffrey R. Vlasek Associate 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

  • CBaker Hostetlerhambers USA 2013 ranks BakerHostetler’s Employment practice among the leading practices in Ohio and Florida.
  • Chambers USA 2013 ranks 11 BakerHostetler Employment partners among our Florida, New York, Ohio, and Texas offices.
  • BakerHostetler received a 2014 “Best Law Firms” National Tier 1 Ranking in the area of Employment Law - Management from U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.
  • Twenty-two partners were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2014 in various employment-related fields.
    Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC.
  • 2013 “Go-To Law Firm” for Labor & Employment by general counsel featured in Corporate Counsel® and The American Lawyer magazines.
  • Ranked among the Top Employment Law firms by Workforce Management Magazine.
  • The Lawdragon/Human Resource Executive list of the nation's top 100 employment lawyers includes two members of the team, with one additional attorney named among the nation's top 10 labor lawyers.
  • Employment lawyers have received special regional recognition in Florida Trend's “Legal Elite" publication.
  • Numerous partners have been certified as employment law specialists by their respective state bar associations.

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Employment Class Action Blog
Employer Loses WARN Affirmative Defenses In Class Action Due To Insufficient Description In Notice
April 16, 2014
“The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword…And Verbal Communications During Company-Wide Employee Meetings.” Things seem to be going from bad to worse for defunct law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. As criminal charges continue to loom for some former...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Sixth Circuit Delivers Knockout to EEOC in Another Background Check Case
By Todd H. Lebowitz
April 15, 2014
The EEOC suffered a major setback on April 9th when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in the highly watched background check case of EEOC v. Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, et al.  The Sixth Circuit...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Russell v. Citigroup Inc. – Language in Revised Arbitration Agreement Torpedoes its Application to Pending Class Action
April 15, 2014
A Sixth Circuit panel found the text of an updated arbitration agreement indicated it did not apply to a wage and hour class action already pending when the agreement was signed.  Russell v. Citigroup, Inc., Case No. 13-5994 (6th Cir...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Sixth Circuit Rejects EEOC’s Expert Evidence In Proposed Pattern Or Practice Class Action Litigation
April 14, 2014
The EEOC learns what it’s like to be the statue and not the pigeon. The EEOC can’t seem to catch a break these days. After a string of recent cases in which the agency has been forced to pay employer attorneys’ fees for bringing frivolous...
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Employment Law Spotlight
The National Labor Relations Board Continues Its Full-Frontal Attack on Employers’ Rules of Conduct
April 14, 2014
The National Labor Relations Board continues its full-frontal attack on reasonable rules of conduct promulgated by employers in two recent cases issued at the beginning of April. In Hills and Dales General Hospital, 360 NLRB No. 70 (April...
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Upcoming Event
Master Class Series: Managing the Unionized Workforce
You are invited to attend BakerHostetler's Master Class Series for Managing the Unionized Workforce—a day-long seminar that will offer courses and instruction on practical, headlining issues that affect anyone who deals with labor relations... More>>
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