At Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon, we believe that as an employer, YOU are in the best position to determine what is best for your company and its employees. Accordingly, our job as your attorney is to make sure that you retain the fullest possible discretion to manage your workforce in the manner you think best. Our Labor Relations practice is built around protecting that discretion. Our approach is based upon making sure we understand our clients’ business and how various workplace laws impact their business goals.
Many employers operate under the mistaken assumption that labor relations is something they do not need to worry about if their workforce is not unionized. Nothing could be further from the truth. Non-unionized employers are covered by the same laws and regulations as unionized employers. Moreover, a strong and effective labor relations policy can help prevent the kinds of problems that lead employees to seek union representation. For employers with unionized workforces, or who are faced with union organizing, competent legal counsel is critical to navigate the campaigning, election and bargaining process.
While effective representation and guidance in the labor relations field has always been important, it is even more critical today. Through an aggressive series of administrative regulations, lawsuits and other enforcement actions, the National Labor Relations Board – as well as many other federal, state and local agencies – have greatly expanded their prohibitions of various employee practices, policies and procedures.
Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon has extensive experience in all aspects of labor relations issues, representing and advising employers of all sizes and in many different industries.
Counseling and Advice
A sound labor relations strategy starts with good policies. Poorly drafted work rules, and handbooks that fail to keep pace with new laws and regulations, lead to unhappy employees and potential legal exposure. Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon’s attorneys are experts in drafting and reviewing employee handbooks and other policies and procedures. We ensure both compliance with the law (including any state and city-specific rules) and effective communication of employer rules and expectations.
In addition, we have conducted numerous “labor relations audits” for employers seeking to get a better sense of their current work environment. Through employee and supervisor interviews, reviews of policies and an analysis of past employment litigation, we are able to pinpoint particular areas of concern and recommend steps to address these concerns. These reviews can help prevent and correct the kinds of situations that often lead to government investigations and employees seeking union representation.
Union Campaigns and Elections
One of the most unwelcome things an employer can receive is a petition for a union election. Recent changes to NLRB election procedures have only increased the pressures that accompany these petitions. An employer is required to send detailed information about its employees to the Board within a very short period of time. Also, the Board has dramatically shortened the amount of time between the filing of a petition and an election, limiting an employer’s ability to make its case to employees as to why a union is not in the employees’ best interested.
Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon attorneys have guided employers through every stage of the election process, including making sure that required disclosures are made to the Board and that elections are held in a manner that does not interfere with work processes or unfairly favor the union. In addition, we have worked closely with our clients to craft pro-company campaigns that comply with the law and are effective at rebutting the pro-union message.
Collective Bargaining and Union Relations
Employers who have unionized workforces likewise require strong and effective representation. The fact that your workforce is unionized does not mean that the union gets to dictate your decisions. During collective bargaining agreement negotiations, unions are often represented by bargaining agents who have bargained many contracts and who are willing to use threats and bullying to get their way. Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon attorneys know these tactics and, more importantly, how to respond to them. We have assisted employers in negotiations with some of the country’s largest unions, including the United Steelworkers, the United Autoworkers and the Service Employees International Union. With our help, our clients have been able to negotiate broad management rights clauses, effective workplace rules and favorable economic terms. We have also helped our clients plan and execute strike contingencies and other threatened work stoppages.