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Labor Relations

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Miller Canfield is a titan in the traditional labor relations arena. We're rated by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top law firms in the nation for Labor Law, and Chambers USA says Miller Canfield is "skilled at taking on collective bargaining mandates and other union-related matters." 

We represent both companies and public entities, including school districts, with issues involving their employees' unions throughout the country, including:

  • Collective bargaining negotiation
  • Regulatory proceedings, including the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and its state equivalents
  • Strikes and lockouts
  • Union election campaigns
  • Grievance and contract administration
  • NLRB/state regulatory agency elections
  • Arbitrations
  • Contract modification/renegotiation under emergency management or bankruptcy
  • Retiree health care litigation

We offer support in whatever role our client wants us to play, whether it's as chief spokesperson, bargaining team members or simply to be around-the-clock resource during contract negotiations. We have extensive experience defending clients' interests facing unfair labor practice charges, or prosecuting secondary boycott allegations against a union before the NLRB.

  • Led the bargaining team for the successor agreement to a public school district's collective bargaining agreement. The school district's priorities were to streamline the agreement, provide greater flexibility for the district in making staff assignments, and reduce paid union leave time.
  • Renegotiated a manufacturer's collective bargaining agreement with its union workforce in order to withdraw from an endangered multi-employer pension plan.
  • On behalf of large manufacturing company, obtained dismissal of unfair labor practice charges alleging retaliatory termination, unlawful surveillance of union activities, interference with employee rights, and unlawful policies.
  • Successfully defended a grievance arbitration against a major public utility company after an employee in the bargaining unit was terminated. The arbitrator ruled that the employer had just cause to terminate the employee despite his 37 years of service with the company and denied the grievance, relieving the company from six-figure liability.
  • Successfully defended a grievance arbitration for a public road commission after an employee in the bargaining unit was terminated. We argued that the demand for arbitration was not timely and convinced the arbitrator to hold an evidentiary hearing on timeliness only. After that hearing, the arbitrator issued an award agreeing with the employer, finding that the arbitration demand was not timely, and denying the grievance.
  • Successfully defended an arbitration involving four separate union grievances arguing that a public body did not have the right to compel the employees to work on weekends or to discipline employees who refused to work. The arbitrator found in the employer's favor and denied each grievance, preserving the employer's ability to meet its public service obligations.

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