Management-Union Relations

Smart In Your World
We routinely represent clients in their relationships with unions. We help negotiate collective bargaining agreements; represent clients in arbitration and unfair labor practice and election proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and state labor relations boards; and assist in the response to union organizational attempts, strikes, and boycotts.

We have provided legal counsel in connection with numerous certification and decertification proceedings. Our representation of clients extends to Section 301 breach of contract/duty of fair representation cases and other types of union litigation, including successful defeats of union attempts enjoin plant closings and relocations.

We also have broad experience in dealing with union issues such as secondary boycotts, illegal picketing, and jurisdictional disputes in construction matters.


  • ArentFox Schiff attorneys successfully defended a client at arbitration against a union grievance that an employee had been terminated without just cause and in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. Following a one-day arbitration, the arbitrator ruled that the employee was permissibly terminated for repeated acts of insubordination.
  • ArentFox Schiff attorneys successfully defended a client before the National Labor Relations Board against charges that two former employees had been disciplined and terminated for exercising protected rights. The Regional Director investigated and decided that the evidence did not support one of the employee’s claims but took the other’s case to trial. After a two-day hearing, an ALJ ruled that the second employee’s termination was lawful and dismissed the complaint.
  • We prepared and filed an amicus brief before the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of the world’s largest trade association and the voice of retail worldwide. The brief urged the court to overrule the National Labor Relations Board and hold that employers can enforce class action waivers contained in arbitration agreements with their employees. The Appeals Court agreed.
  • Our attorneys represented a large transportation company in labor arbitration by either settling the grievances or prevailing at arbitration.
  • We were able to think outside-the-box to successfully manage an outstanding grievance and bring a case to resolution for a large employer company.
  • We represented a large employer in discussions with their union regarding proposed disciplinary action against employees.

Awards & Honors

  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” – Metropolitan Tier 1
    • Employment Law - Management, Chicago (2012-2022)
    • Labor Law - Management, Chicago (2012-2022)
    • Litigation - Labor & Employment, Chicago (2012-2022)