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Goldberg Kohn's labor lawyers have in-depth experience helping employers across the country in disputes with organized labor, including matters pending before the National Labor Relations Board. In addition, our team regularly handles difficult and expedited labor proceedings, including those involving strikes, picketing and emergency litigation in federal court. The experience we possess is vital when clients need a labor lawyer who can give advice on the fly. 

Our team represents clients in unfair labor practice hearings, decertification proceedings and grievance arbitrations. We also counsel employers during union organizing campaigns and defend their interests throughout the union-election process, including in hearings on post-election challenges and objections. 

Goldberg Kohn often assists clients in negotiating collective bargaining agreements at the table or as a resource for clients when strategic issues are presented. We frequently advise on best-practices and pitfalls in labor contracts, assessing whether bargaining is at impasse, avoiding and managing successorship liability, and how to bargain in restructuring, workout and bankruptcy situations. Our breadth of knowledge about the interplay between labor laws and bankruptcy laws is unique.

Goldberg Kohn's traditional labor law work on behalf of charter schools deserves special mention. For more than 20 years, our firm has been proud to support charter schools that provide opportunities for students and families whose educational options might otherwise limit their pathway to success. In the labor law context, we guide charter schools through: 

  • Proactive, culture-building practices 
  • Union petitions, campaigns and other challenges
  • Collective bargaining 
  • Grievances, arbitrations and labor-related litigation
  • Labor relations and contract administration

Representative Matters

  • Represented a hospitality industry client with respect to its rights related to a “labor peace” agreement that a municipality and state were trying to enforce against a hotel management company.
  • Represented multiple clients who were being organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), including conducting and responding to informational/corporate campaigns, neutrality agreements, supervisory training, and providing general advice regarding unfair labor practice issues and general free speech rights.
  • Represented a long-term client in its initial contract negotiations with an operating engineers union.
  • Represent the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (“INCS”) in its provision of legal services to charter schools in Illinois. In addition to INCS, our attorneys have represented nearly 100 charter schools in their labor and employment matters, including the largest charter school in the country.
  • Goldberg Kohn is advising multiple charter schools about the propriety of invasive Freedom of Information Requests issued by various organized labor and other organizations. Several charter schools have turned to the firm for advice on the interplay between labor laws and charter school laws. Many others have sought training to ensure that they understand their rights and obligations in the midst of organized labor drives.
  • Provided labor advice regarding various issues to a Fortune 100 client during a highly publicized picketing by employees designed to extract economic benefits in the context of a plant shutdown.
  • Defended a major Chicago newspaper in a six-day grievance arbitration against its union regarding the alleged wrongful termination of three union members, which included a race discrimination claim. All three terminations were upheld in their entirety.
  • Represented a client when a well-known, aggressive union began recognitional picketing of the client and one of its most important customers in an effort to pressure our client to recognize the union. Our labor and employment attorneys stopped the illegal picketing by, among other things, obtaining an expedited election to prove that the employees did not wish to be represented by the union, and by filing an unfair labor practice charge on behalf of the employer with the NLRB. After the NLRB investigator found merit to the charge, Goldberg Kohn attorneys assisted a lawyer from the NLRB in obtaining a federal court injunction against further unlawful picketing by the union. Our client remains union free; the picketing has stopped; and the union has settled the unfair labor practice charge by agreeing not to engage in such unlawful picketing in the future.
  • Counseled a manufacturing client with several plants to a successful election result, despite the company’s need to lay off employees in the midst of the union’s organization campaign.
  • Obtained the dismissal of an unfair labor practice allegation based on a rarely used jurisdictional argument. The employer remains union-free and is no longer being harassed by the union.
  • Obtained an agreement to broaden the scope of a union’s chosen bargaining unit to include two additional employees not sought by the union’s representational petition. The client won the election by two votes. After this result, the union filed unfair labor practice charges, challenges and objections contesting this result. Following litigation and a full evidentiary hearing before the NLRB, all allegations were dismissed, and the employer remains union-free today.
  • Represented a construction client that faced unlawful picketing which shut down its work on a job site at a high-profile retail location. Our attorneys advised the client to file an unfair labor practice charge against the union and simultaneously filed a petition on the employer’s behalf for an expedited election at the NRLB. The union was blindsided and, in less than three weeks, lost the election even before the NRLB made a final determination on the underlying picketing allegations. The construction project was completed without any further unlawful union activity.
  • A union on the East Coast withdrew a representation petition for employees at one of an employer’s branch offices after being convinced by a letter drafted by Goldberg Kohn that the bargaining unit sought was legally flawed. The petition has never been re-filed. The employer remains union-free and avoided spending significant resources to defend itself against the union’s organizational campaign.
  • Represented a large, international company that purchased a local subsidiary with multiple unions, assisting the company in altering burdensome contract obligations that had been agreed to by the seller. Even though the union contract contained “successor” obligations, we helped the client complete the deal with significant changes in the union employees’ terms and conditions.