Our Legal Practices
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The firm regularly advises clients on issues relating to the National Labor Relations Act and the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act. This work includes the following specific areas:
•Organizing – Strategies for successful organizing campaigns and timing of petitions. RC hearings and assistance with election campaigns and any post-election challenges.
•Picketing and Bannering – Assisting clients with conducting lawful picketing and bannering by reviewing content of any flyers and signs and review of placement and number of picketers and banners.
•Strikes and Campaigns – Prior to any job action, we assist clients with strategy, timing, and planning for the location and nature of the action. During job actions, we advise as issues arise regarding picket placement, injunctions and arrests, and assist clients with strategies to reach a successful conclusion to the job action.
•Preservation of work and protecting units from raiding.
•Unfair labor practice charges, including, discrimination, failure to bargain, and unlawful assistance charge.
•Other National Labor Relations Board matters, including unit clarification, accretion petitions, and decertification petitions.
Internal Union Administration
Unlike other organizations, a union’s relations with its members and the government are highly regulated. The firm advises clients in the following areas related to internal union administration:
•The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”) imposes specific requirements for union elections, membership rights, internal union discipline, financial practices and reporting obligations.
•Beck/Hudson procedures for the calculation of the amount of agency fees and the collection of agency fees from non-members.
•Section 302 of the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) sets strict limits for certain kinds of financial transactions involving unions and establishes criminal penalties for unions and union officials who violate the statute.
•Advice to unions in their role as employers, including dealing with their employees and staff unions and advising unions about compliance with federal, state and local laws applicable to unions and employers.
•Steering clients through Department of Labor audits.
The firm regularly assists clients with the negotiation of first time contracts and successor contracts. This assistance ranges from active participation at the bargaining table to behind the scenes work advising, strategizing, and consulting with the union’s lead negotiators.
The firm works closely with clients to evaluate the merits of potential grievances. Depending on the case, grievance evaluation may involve assisting the union with information requests and meeting with the grievant and potential witnesses. Firm attorneys have arbitrated a range of grievances, ranging from just-cause disciplinary cases to contract interpretation regarding overtime provisions, subcontracting, holiday pay, and scheduling provisions, among other subjects. Contract administration may also require, on occasion, a suit to compel an employer to arbitrate a particular grievance.
Wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment are regulated by numerous federal and state laws. Laws establishing labor standards include the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act, state prevailing wage laws, and state wage and hour laws. The firm also works with the Family Medical Leave Act, Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, along with the state law versions of each federal law.
The firm represents several joint apprenticeship and training funds in addition to its union clients. Firm attorneys regularly appear before the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council on apprenticeship issues, including registration of new proposed programs, apprentice appeals, complaints against existing programs, and sanctions for non-compliance with apprenticeship standards and regulations. The firm is responsible for the lead apprenticeship case from the Washington state Supreme Court, Seattle Building Trades Council v. CITC, along with several other successful appeals at the court of appeals level.
Wage & Hour
The firm handles a wide range of wage and hour claims for individual employees and classes of employees. For wage claims based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, the Washington Minimum Wage Act, and the Prevailing Wages on Public Works Act, our lawyers represent both individuals and classes of employees to recover unpaid wages, overtime pay (for both nonexempt and misclassified exempt workers), prevailing wages, minimum wage issues, and wages for missed meal and rest periods.
We have broad experience defending clients from a variety of claims in federal courts, state courts, and the National Labor Relations Board. Defense litigation includes: lawsuits and damages actions stemming from strikes, duty of fair representation claims and charges, RICO claims, discrimination claims and charges, and various state tort claims.
Trust Fund Collection
The firm also represents joint labor-management trusts in their collection of delinquent contributions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This includes the filing of legal actions in state, federal, and bankruptcy court, the filing of liens on construction projects, and the execution of judgments through such actions as garnishing wages.