Overview

Labor relations has been a focus of Constangy since our founding in 1946. And while the role of labor unions in today’s workplace is greatly diminished from its 20th century heyday, unions remain a strong voice in many industries, and today’s unions have become more innovative and aggressive in promoting membership.

Before there was “employment law,” our attorneys were advising management with respect to the many counterintuitive legal rules developed under the National Labor Relations Act. We honed our skills in the textile industry in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, our attorneys practicing in this area of law now work in virtually every industry, and come to the firm from positions with the National Labor Relations Board and the United States Department of Labor, or have extensive labor relations experience as private practitioners.

We can also help you realistically assess the employee-relations atmosphere in your workplace environment. And we can help you build and foster the kind of workplace environment in which a union is irrelevant.

What Sets Us Apart

We know it doesn't always pay to be the proverbial bull in the china shop. Even as we advise management on union organizing drives and decertification efforts, we have maintained professional relationships with the unions. We are not known as “union busters” – nor do we want to be. The firm has particular strength in collective bargaining and negotiation experience. We take pride in knowing the subtle differences, like when to be tough – and we can be extremely tough – and knowing when a non-adversarial approach is in the best interests of clients.

What We Do

  • Union avoidance campaigns
  • Negotiation and drafting of labor contracts
  • Decertification efforts
  • Arbitrations
  • Defense of unfair labor practice charges
  • NLRB litigation
  • Pre-election bargaining unit hearings
  • Related federal and state-court litigation

With respect to collective bargaining, Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete has experience in negotiations with numerous unions at the national and local levels, including:

  • AFL-CIO
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association
  • Florida Education Association
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
  • International Union of Police Associations
  • National Education Association
  • Office and Professional Employees International Union
  • Police Benevolent Association
  • RWDSU (United Food and Commercial Workers, AFL-CIO, CLC)
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America
  • United Auto Workers Union
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
  • United Steelworkers of America

 

Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented one of the largest U.S. school bus operations by pursuing damages claim against Teamsters union under section 303 of National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The case was related to the union's filing of grievances seeking to claim work that was not traditional union work under the applicable collective bargaining agreement. The federal court granted company's motion for summary judgment on liability. The amount of the recoverable damages is still pending.
  • Successfully represented the largest performing arts center in South Florida and negotiated a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) that reduced amount sought by NLRB by over 80 percent. The initial compliance specification identified in excess of 11 million dollars in potential back pay and other damages. 
  • Successfully resolved two-year investigation involving nationwide unfair labor practice charges filed against one of the largest U.S. quick service restaurant franchisors in six NLRB regions.  Resolution of case was negotiated directly with Regional Attorneys, NLRB Division of Advice and NLRB General Counsel.
  • Represented one of the largest timber management and lumber supply companies in the United States on coordinated multi-facility union negotiations. The strategic approach to this process resulted in successful decertification votes in two of the union facilities, and contract ratifications at other locations.
  • Successfully negotiated multiple collective bargaining agreements with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and National Nurses United (NNU) for hospital employees of the largest “for profit” healthcare system in the United States.
  • Developed comprehensive union-avoidance campaign strategy, internal guidelines and campaign materials for major hospitals and health systems, one of the largest tobacco manufacturing operations in the U.S. and multiple large national quick-service restaurant franchisors.
  • Successfully negotiated a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with SEIU on behalf of the largest health care system in Northern Nevada. The negotiated agreement covered over 1,200 bargaining unit registered nurses and achieved over 5 million dollars in reduced labor cost from that contained in the previous collective bargaining agreement..
  • Established a seven-lawyer team that was victorious in representing a Fortune 500 manufacturer with the largest union election in the U.S. in 2011.
  • Successfully met with NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin and achieved a complete dismissal of massive unfair labor practice (ULP) charge on behalf of one of the largest non-union automobile manufacturers in the US. The charge, which involved over 150 alleged discriminatees, alleged a discriminatory “refusal to hire” and “refusal to consider for hire,” and involved millions of dollars in potential back pay.
  • Litigated six-week ULP trial involving numerous discharges and alleged unfair labor practice strike – successfully negotiated settlement providing for no back pay and new collective bargaining agreements that took company off a series statewide pattern agreements.
  • Litigated arbitration case wherein the arbitrator recognized the spoliation doctrine related to a discarded cell phone and text messages. The Communication Workers of America (CWA) were advised of their obligation to preserve evidence early in the proceedings and failed to adhere to the directive.

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The Labor Relations Practice Group publishes a bi-monthly e-bulletin, Executive Labor Summary. If you'd like to subscribe, please click here.

White Paper: Union Organizing in Higher Education

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