Labor & Employment
Our lawyers and consultants regularly serve as chief negotiators in collective bargaining with labor unions, including police and fire unions, and craft service employee, professional, and engineering unions. We work diligently on behalf of public employers to achieve successful, responsible, and affordable labor agreements. Our expertise encompasses the Public Employment Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Board unfair practice charges, work stoppages and strikes, injunctions, elections, bargaining unit disputes, mediation, fact finding, impact and effect bargaining, interest arbitrations, and labor market comparability studies.
INNOVATIVE AND EFFECTIVE TRAINING
It is critical – perhaps now more than ever – to ensure that employees are properly trained about your organization’s non-discrimination program. Various laws require regular, updated harassment training. Our training programs have received rave reviews, and include areas such as discrimination and harassment prevention, ethics compliance, advising elected officials regarding the labor relations and other legal processes, wage and hour compliance, the essentials of collective bargaining, and legal employment updates.
HIGHLY EXPERIENCED TRIAL AND APPELLATE LAWYERS, WITH A SUCCESSFUL TRACK RECORD
We are trial lawyers who have collectively tried well over one hundred cases involving issues related to whistleblowers, retaliation, harassment, discrimination, wage and hour, breach of contract, and many other areas. Our approach starts with an early evaluation and assessment, with a follow up discussion to identify strengths and weaknesses. We then confirm a litigation strategy based on the specific circumstances of the case, and with collective input from our team and clients. We are familiar with all courtrooms throughout the State of California, including federal and state trial and appellate courts, the California Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court. Our record is unparalleled.
EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY BEFORE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES
We regularly handle proceedings before state and local administrative agencies, including the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), local personnel boards and commissions, the Office of Administrative Hearings, the Department of Labor, the DFEH, EEOC and other labor and employment regulatory agencies. With a proven record of success, we help our clients effectively navigate the various administrative processes.
LEADERS IN RETIREMENT AND MEDICAL RETIREE BENEFITS REFORM
No law firm in California can match our experience in helping clients achieve savings in the complicated and evolving areas of retirement and retiree medical benefits. Our firm is at “ground zero” of California’s pension reform efforts. We have successfully defended retiree medical reform programs, and have helped clients navigate the thorny issues involved with “vested rights” claims.
CONTRACT AND INTEREST ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS
We have handled dozens of contract labor arbitrations, with panels and neutrals selected from the California State Mediation and Conciliation Service, AAA, JAMS, FMCS and other ADR groups. Our familiarity with the community of neutrals gives our clients an edge when selecting and litigating a particular dispute. We are also experienced with “interest arbitration” – a unique form of arbitration where the arbitrator imposes a particular term or condition of employment.
MEDIATION, FACT FINDING, AND OTHER IMPASSE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES
California public agencies are faced with a myriad of challenges once a bargaining impasse is reached. The law mandates a consideration of mediation, and then fact finding. Our experience in these processes gives us a considerable edge over our competitors.
INNOVATIVE GREEN LIGHT PROGRAMS
We are proud to have successfully developed and implemented a green light program designed to evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, the strengths and weaknesses of a particular project or case, and to gain a consensus about strategy. All too often, lawyers will litigate a case, only to settle on the courtroom steps. This program is to designed to establish an approach well before trial or project implementation, with a facilitated presentation of the pros and cons of each position.
INTELLIGENT, PREVENTIVE WORKPLACE AUDITS
The best outcome in an employment dispute is to avoid a similar dispute in the future. We understand the value of preventing litigation and costly administrative claims. We perform wage and hour audits, labor contract review, and personnel policy review to achieve bullet-proof compliance with the maze of labor and employment laws and regulations.
UNDERSTANDING THE POLITICAL INTRICACIES OF LABOR ISSUES
Jon Holtzman, RPLG Founding Partner, leads the firm’s Project Labor Agreement (PLA) practice. Mr. Holtzman has a proven track record in negotiating with building and construction trade councils and their affiliated unions.
PLAs, also known as Community Workforce Agreements, are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements with one or more labor organizations that establish the terms and conditions of employment for a specific project. Communities, contractors and labor unions typically use PLAs to ensure smooth completion of projects, to encourage local hiring, to foster robust apprenticeship programs and, more generally, to build alliances with building trade unions.
The RPLG team has drafted and negotiated agreements covering more than $10 billion in project work, with another $10 billion in project work under negotiation.
PLAs that Mr. Holtzman has negotiated include:
- TJPA Transbay Transit Center Program PLA (2011)
- San Francisco Unified School District PLA (2013)
- San Francisco Housing Authority PLA (2015)
- City of Half Moon Bay (2016)
- Fresno Transformative Climate Communities Program (2016)
- Pinole – Hercules Wastewater Treatment Plant PLA (2015)
- City of Martinez PLA (Pending)
- Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (Pending)