Cook Brown’s attorneys are known as skilled advocates for employers facing labor relations issues at any stage, from developing merit shop strategies and creating union organizing campaigns to defending unfair labor charges and counseling employers on responding to job-site picketing and strikes. Over several decades, our attorneys regularly and successfully have litigated numerous matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Cook Brown understands that a company’s right to control its future and keep the workplace working for all employees is on the line at the bargaining table. With many years of experience helping employers negotiate collective bargaining agreements, we bring to the process an invaluable knowledge of the local, state, and nationwide collective bargaining environment and the corresponding legal framework. With that foundation, we develop a thorough understanding of the company’s needs, the union’s perspective, and the parties’ negotiating history in order to work toward a realistic and practical agreement.
Employers need the kind of strong, knowledgeable legal counsel that Cook Brown provides to develop and carry out strategies that protect their rights and the rights of their employees if they choose to avoid unionization. We help you to understand how the laws that limit employer and employee rights are enforced and adjudicated, and how to effectively work with them. Communication is critical. We work with our clients to help them effectively educate employees about the pros and cons of union membership.
Unfair Labor Practices
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was enacted to protect the rights of employees and employers, to protect concerted activities, and to regulate private sector labor and management practices that impact such rights and activities. Any NLRA violation is considered to be an “unfair labor practice.”
Claims of unfair labor practices can arise from the even most well-intentioned workplace policies such as those meant to prevent workplace bullying, protect confidential corporate information, or manage social media usage, all of which can be construed as an attempt to chill concerted activities.
Our attorneys have the experience and expertise to vigorously defend against charges of unfair labor practices in any situation. We also work with employers proactively to develop employment policies that fairly govern the workplace and at the same time conform to the NLRB’s opinion of what constitutes “lawful” language.
Cook Brown has a long history of successfully defending employers in representation petitions before the NLRB. Our experience includes voluntary recognition, representation petitions and elections, unit decertification petitions, and unit clarifications. Our expertise extends to assistance with election campaigns and union access issues.
In the event a labor agreement is breached, the employer or union may file a grievance and seek to resolve the dispute through labor arbitration. Employers in industries ranging from manufacturing to construction to education have long relied on Cook Brown’s expertise to assist them with selecting arbitrators, preparing evidence, and presenting their cases.
Strikes and Pickets
Few things are more disruptive to a business than strikes and picketing and the stakes are high during these disputes. Our clients turn to us for immediate, robust, and well-considered strategic response plans. Our attorneys have a history of success in representing employers subject to strikes, secondary boycotts, picketing, and other forms of labor protest. We have developed and implemented strike contingency plans and successfully obtained injunctive relief from the courts when picketing and strike activity are unlawful.
Trust Fund Litigation, Including Withdrawal Liability Disputes
Benefits for union employees are often provided through employer contributions to third party trust funds. The trustees of these funds are tasked with ensuring that required contributions are made by employers, which is often done through trust fund audits of the employer’s financial records. If an audit reveals underpayments, the trust fund may institute litigation to recover sums allegedly owed. In addition, employers seeking to terminate a collective bargaining agreement may face substantial withdrawal liability if the related trust funds are underfunded. The attorneys at Cook Brown are experts in helping companies navigate through the audit process and chart the best course for anticipating, analyzing, and responding to assessment of withdrawal liability.