Todd A. Dawson

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7652
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Todd Dawson concentrates his practice in the labor relations, wage and hour, and class litigation areas. He assists employers in all phases of labor relations, with a particular focus on the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, strike preparation and assistance, and the defense and prosecution of unfair labor practices. In the wage and hour arena, Todd has handled class and collective actions ranging from several hundred putative class members to several thousand. Todd has also handled class actions involving plant closings, changes in retiree healthcare benefits and various state law issues. With a passion for negotiating and reaching mutual resolutions, Todd collaborates with his clients to understand all facets of their businesses and address their individual inner workings and needs.

Todd is listed in The Best Lawyers in America©. He is a regular contributor to BakerHostetler's Employment Class Action blog, offering commentary on recent class action decisions and trends affecting employers.

Select Experience

  • Experienced in assisting clients with preparing for and defending against union organizing efforts under the National Labor Relations Board's "ambush" and "micro-unit" election rules, including litigation over supervisory status, appropriate unit considerations and alleged campaign violations.
  • Represented a Tier One auto supplier in association with union negotiations at a plant of approximately 500 workers, including negotiation of significant concessions in wages, health insurance and pension benefits, necessitated by industry conditions.
  • Assisted a client in the negotiation of a plant shutdown and the relocation of bargaining unit work following an impasse in collective bargaining negotiations and a lockout of employees. Successfully argued before the National Labor Relations Board for pre-complaint dismissal of multiple unfair labor practice charges filed by the union.
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Experience

  • Experienced in assisting clients with preparing for and defending against union organizing efforts under the National Labor Relations Board's "ambush" and "micro-unit" election rules, including litigation over supervisory status, appropriate unit considerations and alleged campaign violations.
  • Represented a Tier One auto supplier in association with union negotiations at a plant of approximately 500 workers, including negotiation of significant concessions in wages, health insurance and pension benefits, necessitated by industry conditions.
  • Assisted a client in the negotiation of a plant shutdown and the relocation of bargaining unit work following an impasse in collective bargaining negotiations and a lockout of employees. Successfully argued before the National Labor Relations Board for pre-complaint dismissal of multiple unfair labor practice charges filed by the union.
  • Successfully negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that implemented a two-tiered wage scale, a new health insurance structure and the freezing of a defined benefit pension plan following client acquisition of a unionized facility.
  • Won a trial court verdict in a class action involving approximately 800 potential class members alleging unlawful termination of their collectively bargained retiree health insurance under Sixth Circuit Yard-Man precedent. Affirmed on appeal before the Sixth Circuit.
  • Obtained dismissal of a class litigation involving approximately 1,000 potential class members alleging unlawful implementation of caps on employer contributions toward retiree health insurance premiums. Affirmed on appeal before the Sixth Circuit.
  • Successfully argued a case of first impression before the Sixth Circuit in which the appellate court held that retirees can be required to arbitrate disputes over collectively bargained retiree health insurance.
  • Represented a client in the negotiation of a plant closing agreement caused by a global reorganization that closely followed (but did not result from) the unionization of employees. A favorable closing agreement was reached without the filing of unfair labor practice charges.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Legal 500 United States (2017)
    • Recommended in Labor-management relations
  • Acritas Star (2016)
  • BTI Client Service All-Star (2016)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2013 to present)
    • Ohio: Labor Law – Management
    • Ohio: Litigation – Labor and Employment

Memberships

  • American Bar Association: Labor Law Committee 
    • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Subcommittee: Contributing author to the FLSA Midwinter Report
    • National Labor Relations Act Development Subcommittee
  • Ohio State Bar Association: Labor Law Committee

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 1999
  • Ohio

Education

  • J.D., Duke University School of Law, 1998
  • B.A., Political Science, Youngstown State University, 1994

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Class Action Blog
Recent Decisions Don't Provide Useful Guidance on Tests for the FAA Exemption of Transportation Workers
By John B. Lewis
April 29, 2019
Sometimes being right is not a virtue, especially when it comes to the Federal Arbitration Act § 1 exemption. We predicted uncertainty after the New Prime v. Oliveira decision and got it. See our Jan. 17, 2019, blog post on the exemption...
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Employment Class Action Blog
SCOTUS Reverses Ninth Circuit on Proper Bases for Class Arbitrations
By John B. Lewis
April 25, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that arbitration agreements must provide a “contractual basis for concluding that the part[ies] agreed to [class arbitration].” Reversing the Ninth Circuit, Chief Justice John Roberts found...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Illinois District Court Decertifies Equal Pay Act Collective Class Involving Physicians
By Gregory V. Mersol
April 24, 2019
Section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the provision that requires those participating in a federal claim for minimum wages or overtime to opt in to the class, making Rule 23 inapplicable. The same enforcement applies to...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Missouri District Court Decertifies FLSA Class of IT Workers
By Gregory V. Mersol
April 23, 2019
We’ve noted before that while conditional certification motions are often granted, such classes fare far less well at the second decertification stage and just as poorly on the eve of trial. See: “Ninth Circuit Affirms Decertification of...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Illinois District Court Stays Conditional Certification Order Pending Appeal on Arbitrability Issues
By Gregory V. Mersol
April 10, 2019
More games of cat and mouse Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S. Ct. 1632 (2018), plaintiffs have tried to come up with strategies to address the impact of arbitration agreements in class and...
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