Labor Relations


Steptoe & Johnson’s Labor Relations Team is built on a foundation of experience dating back to the 1970s and delivers the responsiveness and flexibility that today’s business environment demands. Our clients are in many different industries, but they share one expectation — that their labor issues will be managed with intelligence, speed, and integrity.

We have a record of success in exceeding expectations across the spectrum of labor issues, from organizing campaigns to decertification and everything in between. Whether the issue is reserved gates at a construction site, a difficult hospital contract negotiation, or a petition for recognition at a college, Steptoe & Johnson’s labor lawyers have handled it before. Labor activities such as picketing and petitions for recognition can happen anytime and are often planned to occur at the most inconvenient times. Responsiveness in times of crisis is vitally important. Steptoe & Johnson has the depth to ensure that our experienced lawyers are always ready to go, anytime and anywhere necessary.

We welcome the chance to work proactively with clients by training managers and supervisors to avoid issues whenever possible.

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Representative Experience

  • Advised a large resort throughout a Teamsters organizing campaign, which resulted in a decisive vote against the union
  • Arbitrated on behalf of and advised higher education clients regarding union issues
  • Arbitrated multiple work jurisdiction grievances arising out of the implementation of technological advances and automation
  • Advised a mental health hospital throughout an SEIU union organizing campaign, which resulted in withdrawal of the petition just prior to election
  • Advised a national aerospace company throughout a machinists (IAM) organizing campaign, which resulted in withdrawal of the petition
  • Advised acute care hospitals regarding union organizing and elections
  • Negotiated many collective bargaining agreements across a wide spectrum of industries
  • Represented many employers in unfair labor practice charges before various NLRB regional offices, resulting in findings that the charges had no merit
  • Obtained injunctions to stop illegal conduct such as picket line violence, threats, vandalism, and mass picketing
  • Successfully arbitrated most of the issues that conceivably could arise between an employer and a union under a collective bargaining agreement
  • Recovered economic damages for employers from unions that struck in violation of mandatory dispute resolution provisions of labor agreements
  • Advised contractors regarding the use of reserved gates and other measures to limit disruption at multi-employer construction sites
  • Advised employers regarding how to avoid union election campaigns, including the pre-campaign training of managers and supervisors and analysis of strengths and weaknesses


  • Worked closely with clients to ensure that they have a plan in place should a union campaign appear imminent, and to ensure that managers and supervisors have the training they need to minimize the chance of facing a union campaign
  • When a campaign is inevitable, we have deployed experienced lawyers to represent our clients through the complexities of the NLRB election process while at the same time developing effective campaign strategies to win the vote
  • We have achieved success representing clients faced with unfair labor practice charges or arbitrations that reflect our two-step approach: First, we do the hard work to diligently prepare the case, and second, we rely on our deep litigation experience to present the case in the best possible way
  • Taken a proactive approach to help many clients avoid costly battles altogether by reviewing policies and practices to spot issues that may lead to trouble with the NLRB
  • We have negotiated contracts with firmness and integrity to achieve agreements that protect the business and allow it to prosper
  • When clients’ businesses have been put in peril by picketing and strikes, we have responded immediately — anytime, anywhere — to quickly put an end to the conduct; in some cases, we were able to obtain sanctions against the persons and unions involved

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