Labor Relations

Overview

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
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Columbus
Associate Denver
Partner Washington, D.C.
Associate Columbus
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Orlando
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Partner Houston
Partner Columbus
Partner Columbus
Partner Washington, D.C.
Associate Columbus
Associate Houston
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Columbus
Associate Washington, D.C.
Associate Columbus
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Columbus
Partner Cleveland
Associate Orlando
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Orlando
Associate Washington, D.C.
Associate Columbus
Partner Columbus
Partner New York
Counsel Denver
Associate Orlando
Partner Orlando
Partner Cleveland
Partner Orlando
Staff Attorney Columbus
Associate Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Associate Houston
Counsel Philadelphia

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 2019)
    • Labor & Employment: Ohio (2007 to 2019)
    • Labor & Employment: Texas (2014 to 2019)
    • Recognized Practitioner: Labor & Employment in California (2017 to 2019)
    • Recognized Practitioner: Labor & Employment in Washington, D.C. (2017 to 2019)
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Labor and employment – Labor-management relations (2015 to 2019)
    • Labor and employment – Immigration (2017 to 2019)
    • Labor and employment – Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense (2015 to 2019)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"
    • Employment Law – Management: National (2011 to 2020); Cincinnati (2016 to 2020); Cleveland (2011 to 2020); Columbus (2011 to 2020); Denver (2012 to 2020); Houston (2011 to 2020); Los Angeles (2013 to 2020); Orlando (2011 to 2020); Washington, D.C. (2014 to 2020)
    • Labor Law – Management: National (2012 to 2020); Cincinnati (2020); Cleveland (2011 to 2020); Columbus (2011 to 2020); Denver (2012 to 2018); Houston (2011 to 2020); Los Angeles (2017 to 2020); Orlando (2011 to 2020); Washington, D.C. (2017 to 2020)
    • Litigation – Labor & Employment: National (2012 to 2020); Atlanta (2019 and 2020); Cincinnati (2020); Cleveland (2012 to 2020); Columbus (2015 to 2020); Denver (2012 to 2018); Houston (2014 to 2020); New York (2019 and 2020); Orlando (2012 to 2020); Washington, D.C. (2015 to 2020)

News

News

Press Releases

Publications

Alerts

Articles

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Law Spotlight
New York City Extends NYCHRL Employment Protections to Freelancers and Independent Contractors
By Marc-Joseph Gansah, Amy J. Traub
November 18, 2019
On Oct. 13, 2019, New York City enacted Int. 136-A (the Law), expanding the employment protections of the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to freelancers and independent contractors. The Law will take effect on Jan. 11, 2020. The...
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Employment Law Spotlight
California Court of Appeal Determines Customer of Staffing Agency Is Employer Because of Direction and Control
By Eric W. Witt
November 8, 2019
In Jimenez v. U.S. Continental Marketing, Inc., the California Court of Appeal addressed whether the plaintiff and appellant, Elvia Velasco Jimenez, was an “employee” of a contracting employer under the California Fair Employment and...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Ahead of 2020 Election, New York City Issues Enforcement Guidance on National Origin and Immigration Status Discrimination
By Marc-Joseph Gansah, Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo
October 21, 2019
Immigration has been at the forefront of news reports and court cases recently, and has already proven to be a hot button issue for the 2020 election candidates to debate. As we move closer to the election, such political conversation may...
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Employment Law Spotlight
California Employers Receive Favorable Interpretation of "Regular Rate of Compensation" in Labor Code Provision Concerning Meal and Rest Period Premium Pay and Guidance Regarding Lawful Rounding Practices
By Sabrina L. Shadi, Eric W. Witt
October 18, 2019
Earlier this month, a California Court of Appeal issued an opinion that is good news for California employers. The opinion addressed the meaning of “regular rate of compensation” in California Labor Code section 226.7, which requires...
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Employment Law Spotlight
NLRB Adopts Standard Making it Easier for Employers to Make Unilateral Changes to Working Conditions
By Michael Parente
September 23, 2019
Labor Board Ditches the “Clear and Unmistakable Waiver” Standard in Favor of the Employer-Friendly “Contract Coverage” Test 2019 has been the “Summer of Love” for employers at the Trump-administration National Labor Relations Board...
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