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

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 – Nationwide (2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ California (2017 to 2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ Florida (2007 to 2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ Ohio (2007 to 2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ Texas (2014 to 2021)
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Labor and employment – Immigration (2017 to 2021)
    • Labor and employment – Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense (2015 to 2021)
    • Labor and employment – Labor-management relations (2015 to 2021)
    • Labor and employment – Workplace and employment counseling (2021)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"
    • Employment Law – Management: National (2011 to 2022); Atlanta (2019 to 2022); Cincinnati (2016 to 2022); Cleveland (2011 to 2022); Columbus (2011 to 2022); Houston (2011 to 2022); Orlando (2011 to 2022); Washington, D.C. (2014 to 2022)
    • Labor Law – Management: National (2012 to 2022); Cincinnati (2020 to 2022); Cleveland (2011 to 2022); Columbus (2011 to 2022); Los Angeles (2017 to 2022); New York (2022); Orlando (2011 to 2022); Washington, D.C. (2017 to 2022)
    • Litigation – Labor & Employment: National (2012 to 2022); Atlanta (2019 to 2022); Cincinnati (2020 to 2022); Cleveland (2012 to 2022); Columbus (2015 to 2022); Houston (2014 to 2022); Los Angeles (2021 and 2022); New York (2019 to 2021); Orlando (2012 to 2022); Washington, D.C. (2015 to 2022)
  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, BakerHostetler was named to the 2020 BTI Client Service 30 for the sixth consecutive year.

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Law Spotlight
So Many NY Changes in 2022 – Employers Beware!
May 2, 2022
New York employers must be aware of several important changes to employment laws that have already come into effect during 2022, those that have imminent effect (with deadlines just around the corner!), and those that are currently being...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Against the Odds: Did a Court of Appeals Just Grant Independent Contractors the Right to Strike and Organize?
By Todd H. Lebowitz
April 11, 2022
On June 4, 1923, jockey Frank Hayes rode 20-1 long shot Sweet Kiss to victory at Belmont Park. While that seems impressive, what made the win even more memorable is that at some point during the race, poor Frank died. He somehow stayed on...
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The Bargaining Table
The Times Are A-Changing for Employer Handbooks … Soon
By Todd A. Dawson, Carlos A. Torrejon, Christian R. White
March 14, 2022
As we previously reported, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) invited public comment in January on whether it should overrule its current standard for determining the lawfulness of employee handbook policies and work rules...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Increased Union Activity in the COVID-19 Era
By Todd A. Dawson
September 2, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to dominate headlines and potential surges expected this fall and winter, safety issues are at the forefront of many employees’ minds. These issues encompass an array of subjects, including social...
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Employment Law Spotlight
NLRB: Being Abusive Is Not Protected Union Activity
By Michael S. Chamberlin
July 27, 2020
Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a union member cannot be disciplined for conduct such as forming or joining unions, bargaining collectively, or engaging in other activities for the purpose of collective bargaining, such as...
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