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Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

A well-planned, thoughtfully executed collective bargaining strategy can give you stability and leverage in your business for years to come. 

Badly bargained contracts—well, they can break you. Ice Miller's collective bargaining attorneys know that it's easier to build a good agreement than to fix a bad one. Our lawyers, whether at the table or in the back room, can help you negotiate your best agreement and to prepare for and deal with labor disputes and strike activity during the process. And, when the ink dries, we will be there to help administer the contract, answer questions, and arbitrate disputes. 

Unfair Labor Practices
Ice Miller’s Workplace Solutions Group provides representation for employers charged with unfair labor practices before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Such practices may include bargaining in bad faith, discrimination against employees based upon union support, or discrimination based on employees’ involvement in other protected activity even without a union in the picture. Our attorneys also work with employers faced with union organization campaigns and/or representation elections. 

Union Activity and Organization Efforts
We work with employers of all shapes and sizes to help create a workplace where outside representation of their employees is unnecessary. For employers who wish to remain union-free, we help them minimize the possibility of union organizing through effective communications and union awareness training and audits. We also represent employers faced with union organization campaigns, representation elections, and charges of unfair labor practices before the NLRB. In addition, now that the NLRB has set its sights on expanding its influence in white-collar and other non-union workforces, we help clients draft social media and other policies and procedures intended to allow them to treat their employees fairly without violating their rights to engage in "protected concerted activity" as defined under the National Labor Relations Act.
Union-Avoidance Training

One of the most important aspects of remaining “union free” is assisting supervisors at all levels of the organization in consistently adhering to the philosophy that employees are valuable contributors to the employer's success and should be treated as such.

Some information and training may appear trivial on the surface, but it is of critical importance in the quest to avoid union organization of your employees. To advance the goal of remaining union-free, we provide training on the following topics, among others:

  • Why employees turn to unions;
  • Why employers, and especially supervisors, do not want a union;
  • Role of a supervisor in staying union free;
  • Recognizing an organizing campaign;
  • Responding to a union organizing campaign;
  • Restrictions in an organizing campaign;
  • Supervisor communication skills and techniques; and,
  • Basic principles to observe to maintain discipline.

We have advised companies and trained supervisors across the country on union-avoidance. We have provided this advice and/or training to companies either headquartered in or with locations across the country. Some examples of our clients with whom we have worked on union-avoidance include:

  • Liberty Healthcare;
  • Target Stores Division of Dayton-Hudson Corporation;
  • United Auto Group (Penske Honda);
  • Handy & Harman and its subsidiaries;
  • Various hospitals/health care systems; and
  • Various Manufacturers of Automotive Parts. 
Municipal Labor Relations

Ice Miller’s Workplace Solutions Group provides day-to-day advice and counsel on a broad range of labor and employment issues affecting municipal employers, including wage and hour compliance, union contract administration, medical and other leave issues, disability and religious accommodation, substance misuse in the workplace, employment contracts and policies, and building and maintaining a respectful workplace free of discrimination and harassment. We also represent cities and towns in collective bargaining negotiations and arbitrations relating to police, fire, and other municipal employee unions. When needed, we defend cities and towns in federal and state court employment litigation, including wage and hour, employment discrimination, and public employee constitutional claims.

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