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.
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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

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The Bargaining Table
Another One Bites the Dust?
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
January 11, 2022
NLRB Request for Briefing on Independent Contractor Standard Suggests Another Trump-Era Decision Is About To Be Overruled Weeks after inviting public briefing on a potential change in the standard for determining the appropriateness of...
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The Bargaining Table
The First Domino to Fall? NLRB Solicits Public Input on Test for Determining Appropriate Bargaining Units
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
December 13, 2021
In a somewhat ominous sign of things to come, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) has invited briefing on whether to change the test for determining whether a union has proposed an appropriate employee voting group...
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The Bargaining Table
Money, Money, Money Is Not Always Funny or Sunny – Just Take a Look at the NLRB's Substantial Increases in Monetary Remedies and Job Reinstatements
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
November 29, 2021
On Nov. 5, 2021, the iconic Swedish band ABBA released its first album of new material in 40 years, and, amazingly, it is their highest-charting album ever on the Billboard 200. (If for some reason you are not familiar with ABBA – and we...
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The Bargaining Table
Spoiler Alert: The NLRB Is Poised to Dramatically Rework Its Joint Employer Standard
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
November 11, 2021
When I was a kid, it was a thrill (and, yes, it still is today) to watch all the movie trailers before the main feature. Unfortunately, some of those trailers actually spoiled the movie they were previewing (thinking of you, Kingsman: The...
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The Bargaining Table
What Are We Supposed To Do Now? Recommended Next Steps for Unionized Employers Regarding OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccination/Testing Rule
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
November 9, 2021
On Nov. 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its emergency temporary standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccinations. In summary, the ETS provides that employers with at least 100 employees must either mandate...
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