Case Studies

Achieving a Major Success for a Client Accused of Unfair Labor Practices

Epstein Becker Green recently achieved a significant victory on behalf of a client in the waste and recycling industry in connection with petitions filed by its employees to have an election to decertify a union as their collective bargaining representative. Shortly after the filing of the petitions, the union filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against our client, accusing it of unlawfully influencing/coercing its employees to file the decertification petitions and seeking to invalidate the decertification petitions. While this is a common delay tactic employed by unions seeking to avoid decertification elections, this case was particularly unusual and complex given both the number of claims filed against our client and the important political and business implications an adverse judgment would have had for our client. Specifically, an adverse judgment could have seriously impaired, if not destroyed, our client’s ability to do business in a city in Southern California due to its agreements with the city and related political pressure. 

After a 10-day trial, our client prevailed on 14 of 17 claims (five of which were dismissed prior to trial). Our client had expected to lose the three claims on which it did not prevail; in fact, our client had admitted to two of them but felt vindicated as the judge specifically found that these were “unintentional,” minor, and purely technical violations, which the client had promptly corrected at the time. Most importantly, the judge rejected all of the more serious allegations involving union negotiations and the termination and discipline of pro-union employees, finding absolutely no evidence of union animus, bad faith bargaining, or discriminatory retaliation against any pro-union employees. The result of this case will likely have positive implications for our client’s business interests in Southern California.

The Epstein Becker Green team responsible for this impressive outcome included Adam C. Abrahms, Christina C. Rentz, and Brock Olson.

Epstein Becker Green Achieves Victory—Employee Micro-Unit in Southern California Votes Down the Teamsters in Union Election

On February 10, 2017, the Teamsters served a petition seeking to represent a 21-employee micro-unit at a single site of an Epstein Becker Green client, one of the largest nonprofit agencies in Southern California. When the petition was filed, only three of the tight-knit group of employees expressed any company loyalty or disinterest in the union.

Epstein Becker Green’s team negotiated a favorable election date, unit description, and other logistics to place the client in the best possible position. Our firm’s team also trained and counseled the client’s leadership, reviewed and revised the client’s communications, and worked with line-level supervisors to ensure maximum legal compliance and impact.

Once the employees learned the facts about unionization, the employees ultimately chose not to be represented by the union by exercising their right to vote “No.”

On March 7, 2017, the election was held and the tally of the ballots conducted, resulting in 11 votes for the company and eight for the union, with two challenged ballots that remained unopened. (Had the challenged ballots been opened, the final tally would likely have been 13 for the company and eight for the union.)

The union acknowledged its defeat when it failed to file any objections to the outcome of the election; the election was certified on March 16.

Epstein Becker Green’s team was led by Kat Paterno and included Adam Abrahms and Christina Rentz.