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For more than 50 years, clients have depended on our team to provide informed counsel on all matters related to labor unions, collective bargaining, and arbitration. Whether identifying potential vulnerabilities from a threat to unionize, evaluating potential union issues in an acquisition or joint venture, assisting an already-unionized client in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, or advising clients regarding the complexities of multi-employer pension plans, we understand the constantly evolving legal issues and are attuned to the practical dynamics of situations with the potential to significantly disrupt a client’s operations.

The Vinson & Elkins’ team has experience handling hearings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), at both the regional and national level, and we have argued labor cases before federal appellate courts. Our U.S. practice is particularly robust in the South, on both coasts, and in the Midwest. We are familiar with every major union that represents employees in refineries, chemical plants, and ports in those areas, as well as unions that have targeted the arts, health care sector, and other service industries. We work with significant national labor unions, including the Boilermakers Union, the IAM, International Longshoremen’s Association, Laborers International Union, PACE, Service Employees International Union, Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and United Steelworkers. Because we understand that labor issues have the potential to significantly disrupt a client’s operations, we operate proactively, updating and educating clients regarding opinions, developments, tactics, and trending labor issues as they occur.

Experience Highlights

  • Assisted an oilfield services client in its sale of a construction company with union-represented employees in Alaska

  • Advised a large hospital system and other clients regarding the legal issues raised by potential corporate campaigns by unions

  • Represent the major arts organizations in Houston concerning their union negotiations, including the ballet, opera, and symphony

  • Represented a port warehouse and short-haul trucking company on union matters in ports in California, New Jersey, and Ohio 

  • Represented a large supermarket portfolio in litigation related to the unfunded liability of union sponsored, multi-employer pension plans claiming damages of $64 million

  • Represented a manufacturer against unfair labor practice claims and arbitrated a collective bargaining grievance on behalf of the manufacturer

  • Represented before various government agencies an international airline in relation to the union status of management position pilots

  • Obtained a significant victory in Spokane, Washington on behalf of a steel building manufacturing company in a labor arbitration filed during negotiations of a collective bargaining agreement; the union filed numerous grievances and each claim was denied and our client’s suspensions of seven employees and termination of a union steward resulting from an organized work slowdown were upheld

  • Secured dismissal from NLRB of unfair labor practice charge alleging client had obligation to bargain collectively with union

  • With local counsel, addressed union representation issues among three facilities in Singapore

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