Our goal is to provide to clients a broad range of preventive labor relations and employment law services at the earliest stage before “molehills” become “mountainous” problems on a fixed fee basis. The retainer arrangement also encourages regular and continued consultation without additional billing so management can reasonably anticipate and budget its costs without any reluctance to seek preventive advice because of hourly billings.
Our primary thrust is to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement, assist management with its labor relations and employment law issues, maximize the number of satisfied and productive employees, and to formulate policies to maintain a healthy labor relations environment. The Union Retainer Program includes the following services as needed:
Union Contract Negotiations
Preparing for and handling all collective bargaining negotiations. We prepare economic and language presentations as approved by the Company; act, pursuant to the companies' desire, either as chief spokesperson at the bargaining table or as a consultant on any and all issues, and draft the collective bargaining agreement.
Handling all grievances prior to arbitration and attending, whenever necessary, grievance meetings. Also, we are available for advice and consultation regarding any grievance.
Chairing periodic labor-management committee meetings with the Union's representative, when this is desirable.
Advising and consulting with management on any questions of interpretation under the collective bargaining agreement.
Labor Relations Audit
Prior to negotiations, all supervisors are interviewed confidentially as part of a complete supervisory audit to determine employee complaints and/or personnel problems. The results of the audit are submitted to the Company in writing, with recommendations, where appropriate. Potential Wage and Hour, EEOC, and NLRB problems, if any, are discussed and recommendations to resolve such problems are submitted.
Supervisory seminars are held, during which supervisors are provided an overview of the collective bargaining agreement and the underlying reasons for various clauses. The supervisors are also instructed in the basics of handling employee complaints and grievances, cutting costs, improving productivity, giving instructions and orders, using progressive discipline, reducing absenteeism, avoiding EEOC complaints, and otherwise effectuating the Company's policies. Supervisory seminars also stress the need to increase employee productivity by treating employees with dignity and respect, identifying and “weeding out” malcontents and marginal employees, carefully screening new applicants, and “selling” the Company positively to employees.
Communications with Employees
Improving employer-employee communications is an important step in preventing costly employment issues. To achieve that goal, we will assist the Company in drafting or reviewing communications with employees. Some or all of the following methods could be used:
Letters to the home of each employee. These letters are used to communicate important facts such as productivity information, operational goals, news about employees who have excelled, etc.
A regular series of short “speeches” to small groups of employees regarding operations, goals, recent achievements, etc.
Review and Revision of Plant Rules, Employment Applications, Personnel Forms and Hiring Procedures
Employee plant rules, employment application forms, and other personnel instruments are drafted and/or reviewed and revised to ensure legality and to incorporate practical screening inquiries.
Employee Review Committee
Upper-level management is lead in bi-monthly meetings in which employees are reviewed on an individualized basis. The goal of the sessions is to create individualized employee action plans that promote exceptional employee performance.
Other Legal Advice
Advice and consultation will be provided on the laws and regulations of government agencies involved in labor relations and employment law, such as the National Labor Relations Board, Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and State Departments of Human Rights, etc. (The only labor-related areas in which we do not practice are Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Compensation.)
The only areas excluded from our full-service retainer agreement are litigation services such as preparing position papers and other responsive documents and attending fact-finding conferences before administrative agencies, and all aspects of state and federal lawsuits and arbitration proceedings. Such services are billed at our hourly rates.
A full-service retainer fee, billed monthly, is guaranteed for the term of the retainer. All monthly retainer fees are payable within 14 days.
The only additional billing outside of the unanticipated “litigation” expense described above would be out-of-pocket disbursements incurred on your behalf such as long distance telephone charges, transportation and travel expenses, photocopying, computerized research, messenger and express delivery services, court costs, depositions and transcript costs, etc.
Although the entire firm would be available to service the company’s needs, one attorney is charged with the responsibility for that company’s matters.