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Traditional Labor

For more than sixty years, Spencer Fane has had an extensive practice in the traditional area of labor management. Our firm’s traditional labor practice includes representation of several clients on a national basis in the defense, retailing, transportation, and construction industries, and several Fortune 500 companies with major facilities in the Midwest.

Multi-employer Negotiations and Contract Administration: Our Group has substantial experience representing multiemployer bargaining groups in the construction, trucking, supply and distribution industries, including administration of the contract, arbitrations, and counseling with respect to conflicts between collective bargaining agreement provisions and the requirements of federal, state, and local laws governing employment. Representation in these areas has given rise to cases before the National Labor Relations Board concerning the rights of multi-employer bargaining groups to take economic action in bargaining and cases seeking injunctions regulating work stoppages, picketing or strike violence.

National Labor Relations Act Practice: Our Group has represented employers from virtually all industry groups before the National Labor Relations Board, including matters involving jurisdictional disputes, unfair labor practice charges against employers and unions, and representation cases involving major bargaining units in the health care, manufacturing, retail, distribution, transportation, and construction industries.

Representational Campaigns: Our Group has represented employers in union election campaigns throughout the Midwest involving industries from bookbinding to light manufacturing to public utilities to health care. The units have ranged in size from a handful of employees to thousands. This representation not only involves determining the appropriate bargaining unit and eligible voters, but counseling and advising employers concerning the legal aspects of employer communications during the campaign and counseling employers concerning the potential effect of certain employer activities during the election process. Our handling of decertification petitions, and counseling employers concerning the employer’s posture during the decertification process, has increased in recent years. The firm’s heavy involvement in public employee labor relations has led to numerous appearances before state boards of mediation concerning public employer unit representation issues, public employer “bargaining,” and the rights of public employers under the various federal and state laws regulating their activities.

Facility Closures: We have advised clients in a variety of industries regarding the issues which arise in closing a facility. These include issues under the WARN Act, including the preparation and serving of appropriate WARN notices. For unionized facilities, we have advised clients as to whether the decision to close is a mandatory subject of bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act and have represented them in any required bargaining over the decision or its effects. We have assisted clients in developing appropriate communications to employees, customers, and the public regarding the closure. We have also developed, and if necessary negotiated, various forms of “stay plans” designed to create incentives for employees to remain on the job until the last day they are needed.

Grievance Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration: Spencer Fane lawyers represent management in dozens of contract grievance and arbitration proceedings each year. We develop a close working relationship with our clients’ management teams to facilitate efficient preparation of cases for hearings. Spencer Fane also maintains a log of all our firm’s experience with individual labor arbitrators, which we use to assist our clients in selecting the best arbitrator available from the panels we are provided.

Union Prevention: Employers are frequently unaware of the issues that actually drive employees toward unionization, particularly the hot buttons used by organizers to stoke organizing campaign fires. We assist clients on how to recognize and avoid organizational activity.