Attorney Steve Swirsky has devoted his practice almost exclusively to advising and representing employers in complex labor relations matters and litigation. He represents clients in collective bargaining and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in transactions involving the sale and acquisition of unionized businesses and operations, and in organizing campaigns.
He also aids employers in developing and implementing strategies to remain union-free.
Employers grappling with difficult labor-management relations workforce problems value Steve’s creative solutions. Steve is a strategic advisor who has dedicated his career to understanding his clients’ priorities. He thinks outside the box to help his clients maintain compliant policies and productive workforce relations within union and non-union environments. Drawing on years of experience in private practice and at the NLRB, Steve crafts and implements strategies and solutions that achieve successful, long-term outcomes. He works tirelessly to preserve important management and decision-making rights for his clients.
For his many long-term clients, Steve helps tailor solutions based on his knowledge of their unique needs and his ongoing relationships with management teams. He represents employers across a range of industries while working behind the scenes to support in-house counsel in preparing for an arbitration or when serving as lead negotiator for a collective bargaining agreement. When faced with union organizing activity, he helps clients anticipate challenges and defends their actions before the NLRB. General Counsel rely on his advice in mergers and acquisitions to see around corners and spot risks within existing workforce obligations, contract terms, and pension liabilities.
Beyond traditional labor matters, Steve's litigation experience includes defending claims involving Title VII, ADEA, ADA, and other employment discrimination matters before state and federal courts and administrative tribunals, such as the EEOC and the New York State Division of Human Rights. He also prepares and revises employment and personnel policy manuals, and structures employment agreements.
Steve holds several leadership positions within Epstein Becker Green, including Chair of the firm’s Labor Management Relations practice group and member of the firm’s Board of Directors. He is a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a nonprofit professional association honoring the leading lawyers nationwide in the practice of labor and employment law, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a global honorary society of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and to the welfare of their communities.
Early in his career, Steve served as a field attorney with the NLRB at Region 29 in Brooklyn, New York. Steve is also a frequent contributor to the firm’s Management Memo blog, which he co-edits. He writes and speaks on a wide range of labor and employment law matters and serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations.
- Successfully represented a major health care network and one of its hospitals in a novel and high-stakes arbitration with a nurses union that had objected to the network’s policy of requiring all registered nurses who did not possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (“BSN”) degree at the time of their hire to earn the BSN degree within five years of their hire date. The union challenged the policy after the hospital fired a registered nurse for not completing the degree. After Steve mounted a vigorous defense, the arbitrator ruled for Epstein Becker Green’s clients in all respects.
- Aggressively defended numerous unfair labor practice charges (despite having to navigate complexities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic) that were filed against a museum in the Northeast by a union representing construction workers. Because the pandemic forced the museum to temporarily close, Steve also convinced the union to agree to sensitive agreements that allowed the continuation of critical essential work during the closure, and Steve negotiated arrangements for the museum’s reopening.
- Helped a food services client stop a union organizing drive by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union in a unit of the client’s drivers working out of a client’s facility in the Northeast. The union had petitioned for a representation election in a unit of approximately 35 drivers. Steve worked with, advised, and represented the client in this case. A majority of the voting-eligible drivers voted against union representation.
- Successfully represented a technology and manufacturing company in a Pennsylvania state court action to halt mass picketing by the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council, and several of its member unions. The unions’ mass picketing commenced between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. on Monday and Steve, working with local counsel, was in court just after 3:00 that afternoon. The court entered the injunction before 5:00 p.m. the same day.
- Provided urgent legal counsel to a supermarket chain faced with a petition filed with the NLRB by a labor union that was attempting to organize, and seeking to represent, all team members working at one of the client’s distributions centers. Steve and his group worked closely with the client’s leadership, general counsel, public relations firms, and consultants, providing legal and strategic advice on communicating with team members. The team members ultimately voted against union representation.
- American Bar Foundation, Fellow
- The College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, Fellow
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Leader in New York—Labor & Employment and New York—Labor Relations (2023), and New York—Labor Relations “Spotlight Table” (2019 to 2022)
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Employment Law—Management and Labor Law—Management (2006 to 2024)
- Law360, One of only six Employment MVPs (2014)
- The Legal 500 United States, Labor–Management Relations (2012 to 2021, 2023)
- Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow
- Martindale Hubbell, “AV Preeminent” Peer Review Rating
- New York Metro Super Lawyers®, Employment and Labor and Employment Litigation: Defense (2007 to 2013, 2020 to 2023)
- Fordham University School of Law (J.D., 1978)
- Member, Urban Law Journal
- Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations (B.S., 1975)
- New York
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
Professional & Community Involvement
- American Bar Association
- American Employment Law Council
- American Health Lawyers Association
- Association of the Bar of the City of New York
- Cornell University, Industrial and Labor Relations, Alumni Association
- Law360 Labor Advisory Board (2022)
- New York State Bar Association
- New York University School of Law: Advisory Board, Center for Labor and Employment Law
- Thomson Reuters Practical Law’s Labor & Employment Service, Advisory Board
Books and Treatises
- How to Take a Case Before the NLRB, Chapter 20: "Picketing for Recognition or Organization" (editor) Bloomberg BNA and the American Bar Association (Ninth Edition, 2016; Tenth Edition, 2022)
- The Developing Labor Law: The Board, the Courts, and the National Labor Relations Act - Sixth Edition, with Cumulative Supplement - Chapter 9: "Restrictions on Preelection Activity: 'Laboratory Conditions'" (editor) Bloomberg BNA and the American Bar Association (2015)
- The Developing Labor Law: The Board, the Courts, and the National Labor Relations Act - Seventh Edition (editor) Bloomberg BNA and the American Bar Association (2018)
- Post-Acute Care Handbook: Regulatory, Risk, and Compliance Issues - Chapter 8: "Labor, Employment, and OSHA Issues" (co-editor, co-author) The American Health Lawyers Association (2014)