Collective Bargaining

In a difficult economy, it becomes even more important for labor unions to have experienced representation negotiating by their side throughout the collective bargaining process. The collective bargaining process exists to allow unions and employers to negotiate terms of the employment contract. In these matters, experienced representation can mean the difference between a successful resolution and impasse, or even a strike.
The lawyers at Greenberg Burzichelli Greenberg P.C. have had several union clients since the late 1980s. These unions have remained loyal to our attorneys throughout many leadership changes and recession cycles. We have built a reputation on commitment to our clients, zealous representation, and efficient case management. Our approach to collective bargaining relies on thorough preparation and an in-depth investigation into the disputes in order to better represent our clients.

We represent unions in the public and private sectors throughout the negotiation process. In the private sector, collective bargaining is governed by the federal National Labor Relations Act. The statute that governs labor relations for public employees throughout the State of New York is the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act, which is commonly referred to as the Taylor Law. Both laws set forth standards for good faith bargaining and provide a mechanism by which unions may challenge employers’ bad faith conduct. They also set out the types of subjects that must, can, or may not be addressed at the bargaining table. Our attorneys are well versed in these laws and are knowledgeable in the rules and procedures associated with these labor/management disputes.

Reaching an Impasse

While our firm’s lawyers know how to obtain contract settlements that successfully meet the clients’ goals, there are times when both parties have solidified their positions so that talks reach the point of impasse. When that happens, the rights of workers and employers vary greatly in the private and public sectors. Under certain conditions, a private employer may unilaterally change working conditions and its employees may engage in a strike or work stoppage. For government employees, the Taylor Law provides a dispute resolution procedure which begins with mediation. Unions comprised of police officers, firefighters, and certain other law enforcement personnel are then entitled to compulsory and binding arbitration. For other employees, such as teachers and administrative personnel, they may proceed to a fact-finding trial, whereby a neutral hearing officer issues a report and recommendation for terms of a new contract. Trade titles, like auto mechanics and electricians, are generally entitled to “prevailing wage rates” which can be challenged through administrative proceedings. We have experience handling negotiations which reach impasse and we are ready to advise our clients about their options.

If you have questions regarding labor and employment law, contact Greenberg Burzichelli Greenberg P.C. to schedule a consultation.