Contract Negotiations and AdministrationOffering Legal Counsel and Representation to Wisconsin Labor Unions
Collective bargaining secures union members’ employment and income, as well as their union’s viability, through the enhanced bargaining strength of many employees speaking and negotiating with a single voice. The product of collective bargaining, the labor contract, is a written confirmation of employees’ wages, hours and conditions of employment. A labor contract’s duration is typically two to three years and it prevents arbitrary termination of employment, unilateral reduction of wages and benefits, and marginalization of the labor organization. We believe labor contracts and the process leading to their creation have been the single-most effective public policy to secure the economic status of the middle class and lift others into it.
The only customary alternative to a collective bargaining agreement is “employment-at-will” – a legal relationship which the Wisconsin Supreme Court has said means that employer can terminate the relationship at any time, for any reason – good, bad or even no reason at all — just not an illegal reason. It is no substitute for a contract.
The public policy reflected by Wisconsin’s 2011 Act 10 is an abhorrent, a reactionary policy reversal and one that will most likely prove the adage that those who do not read history are destined to repeat it.
Despite Act 10, our public sector general employee unions have continued to request our representation in total base wage negotiations as well as our advice and counsel with regard to the scope and consequence of the Act 10 reforms on collective bargaining tactics and strategies. In addition our firm represents public safety employees, Fire Fighters and Police, who regularly request our representation during contract negotiations and, if necessary, in interest arbitration proceedings to resolve negotiating impasses. Similarly our private sector clients request our advice with regard to legal strategies that leverage the collective bargaining process.
Additionally, our seven labor lawyers have between them more than one hundred years of experience advising and representing unions in grievance and interest arbitration proceedings to enforce and administer labor agreements. We believe that the hallmarks of arbitration – low cost, relatively quick decision and finality to litigation – benefit our union clients. We work with them to distinguish the cases that the unions’ professional staff can try effectively, competently and successfully, from those that may benefit from seasoned legal representation. We counsel our clients’ staff to this end and reduce the organizations’ legal cost in the process. In those cases that you may opt to employ our services, we are ready, experienced and aggressive in accomplishing our clients’ goals.
If you are an officer or staff member of a union and are interested in legal advice, feel free to contact one of our union lawyers.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation or legal rights with a Wisconsin labor law attorney.