Federal and state statutes define traditional labor law as an adversarial relationship between companies and their employees when represented by third parties. Miles & Stockbridge lawyers are fully attuned to this environment and help our regional and national clients work successfully within it. Because we confine our focus to the representation of employers, we have a solid record of achievement in dealing with the labor–management issues that unionized employers face and in helping union-free employers remain union-free.
Our lawyers take an active role as informed and participating members of client collective bargaining teams. We serve as spokesperson, advise at the negotiating table, and consult on strategy at every step of the process. Members of our team have the background experience, knowledge, and capability to bargain individually, engage in coalition bargaining, or coordinate multi-location and multi-union bargaining. We have bargained for clients in a wide range of manufacturing, consumer goods, and service industries, dealing with major unions at the international, regional, and local levels.
We help employers understand and comply with union contracts, avoid grievances, and respond to grievances when they are filed. We frequently arbitrate issues under collective bargaining agreements, including discipline cases, plant closings and subcontracting issues. We help employers plan and carry out plant closings and workforce reductions that comply with Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notification procedures and all relevant discrimination statutes.
When labor-management disputes become strikes, we coordinate contingency plans, advise on public relations matters, and handle legal issues that may arise in connection with replacement employees, state court mass-picketing injunctions, show-cause orders, contempt citations, damage actions, and RICO actions.
Labor unions are generally exempted from antitrust law, yet they still can engage in anticompetitive conduct. Miles & Stockbridge has handled numerous restraint of trade cases against labor unions. These actions often are filed to defend employers from union efforts to encourage secondary consumer boycotts against companies involved in strikes, or attempting to preserve a working environment free of third parties.
We also pursue restraint of trade actions on behalf of employers when unions sue to block plant closings, alleging violations of the advance notice provisions of the federal WARN Act.
Finally, when labor-management disputes involve action by federal or state regulators, our lawyers knowledgeably represent employers in administrative hearings and arbitrations before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and other federal and state agencies.
Miles & Stockbridge also advises clients on the unique labor issues that face union-free employers. We help clients assess their current working environment to identify actual or potential problems and complaints, enabling us to develop the right program of legal compliance, management training, and general best practices counsel. For clients targeted by unionizing drives, we apply the decades of experience we have in advising on organizing campaigns and NLRB election law. Among other matters, we litigate appropriate bargaining unit issues, advise on the development of company campaign strategy and tactics, review communications tools, and counsel managers and supervisors on their conduct. We also counsel on decertification issues and campaigns.