Todd A. Dawson

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7652
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Todd Dawson provides practical, common sense legal representation to employers in all phases of labor relations, including union organizing, negotiation of collective bargaining agreements and defense and prosecution of unfair labor practices. He has a passion for understanding all facets of his clients’ businesses and for tailoring his advice to address their unique priorities, objectives and needs. Todd’s clients value his collaboration and personal investment in their success. He has also handled class and collective actions ranging from several hundred putative class members to several thousand, providing cost-effective strategies and insights geared toward minimizing liability and accelerating resolution.

Todd has a wealth of experience in the labor relations arena developed over more than two decades, with a particular focus on contract negotiation, strike preparation and assistance, and labor arbitration and litigation. He has assisted clients in multiple industries in both the manufacturing and service sectors, including automotive, industrial equipment, warehousing and distribution, hospitality, healthcare and numerous others.

Todd is also a seasoned class and collective action litigator. In the wage and hour arena, he has provided effective, insightful representation to clients in cases involving overtime-exempt status, alleged off-the-clock work, rounding practices, the FLSA tip credit and various other complex issues. In addition, Todd has handled class actions involving plant closings, changes in retiree healthcare benefits and various state law issues.

Todd is listed in The Best Lawyers in America©. He leads BakerHostetler’s innovative labor relations blog, The Bargaining Table, providing clients with valued insights on National Labor Relations Board precedent and other legal developments. Todd is also a regular contributor to BakerHostetler’s Employment Class Action blog, offering commentary on recent class action decisions and trends affecting employers.

Select Experience

  • Represented client in negotiating fiscally responsible plant closing agreement during expedited, unforeseen shut down of operations with no unfair labor practice charges filed.
  • Guided multiple clients through complex union decertification efforts with minimal subsequent litigation.
  • Led client bargaining team in negotiating economically sustainable collective bargaining agreement during significant industry-wide downturn.
More »

Experience

  • Represented client in negotiating fiscally responsible plant closing agreement during expedited, unforeseen shut down of operations with no unfair labor practice charges filed.
  • Guided multiple clients through complex union decertification efforts with minimal subsequent litigation.
  • Led client bargaining team in negotiating economically sustainable collective bargaining agreement during significant industry-wide downturn.
  • Represented client in FLSA collective action alleging off-the-clock work, achieving an economically beneficial settlement for the client significantly below projected liability estimates.
  • Successfully represented clients in various labor arbitrations involving issues including discipline and discharge, bidding and awarding of vacant positions, drug testing, scheduling of mandatory overtime, subcontracting, the use of temporary staffing and various other issues.
  • 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, 2020)
    • Recommended in Labor and Employment - Labor-management relations
  • Acritas Star (2016 and 2021)
  • 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
  • Cleveland Employment American Inn of Court

Blog Posts

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

Previous Next
The Bargaining Table
Third Circuit Tells the NLRB to Lighten Up and Take a Joke
By Todd A. Dawson, Michael Parente
May 24, 2022
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has found that Ben Domenech, executive officer and publisher of the right-leaning media company The Federalist, did not threaten employees when he tweeted that he would send them “back to the...
Read More ->
The Bargaining Table
NLRB General Counsel Seeks to Outlaw Employer Use of Captive Audience Meetings
By Todd A. Dawson, Carlos A. Torrejon, Christian R. White
April 11, 2022
On April 7, 2022, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued what may be her most pro-union directive to date – and that’s saying something. In GC Memorandum 22-04, Abruzzo announced her intention to seek...
Read More ->
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...
Read More ->
The Bargaining Table
Staying the Course … for Now
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
March 3, 2022
National Labor Relations Board Confirms Presumption that Single-Store Units Are Appropriate The National Labor Relations Board (Board) recently confirmed that single-store bargaining units are presumed to be appropriate. Starbucks Corp...
Read More ->
The Bargaining Table
Sentence First, Verdict Later!
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
February 14, 2022
NLRB Orders Employer To Grant Undetermined Wage Increase These days, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) just gets curiouser and curiouser. In one of its latest adventures on the other side of the looking glass, the Board...
Read More ->