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Schwabe lawyers help clients navigate the most contentious union issues, engaging in vigorous prosecution and defense when called for, and using collaborative techniques when possible to establish productive labor relations.

Insight through experience

We counsel employers through the full scope of issues related to organized labor, including union organizing activities, representation elections, arbitrations and lawsuits. Our attorneys have served as chief negotiators in numerous collective bargaining agreements from beginning to end. In addition, we have handled hundreds of arbitrations and NLRB matters, including the defense and prosecution of various unfair labor practices.

Our diverse experience informs our counsel—we understand our clients’ business needs and craft creative labor and litigation strategies in an effort to resolve even the most contentious labor disputes quickly and favorably. 

In the vanguard

Schwabe’s labor team is known for ingenuity. Our lawyers have been honored by a national organization for innovative and successful representation of employers faced with union organizing efforts. In addition, we have been at the forefront in representing a nonunion construction association whose members were victims of discrimination and job site unrest at the hands of unions. Embracing an aggressive strategy, we have married labor and antitrust laws together in vigorous representation of clients with labor issues in the maritime, construction and manufacturing industries.

Success in union battles

We have been successful in obtaining injunctions, contempt orders, and favorable jurisdictional and secondary boycott rulings to protect victims of unlawful union tactics.


  • Successfully represented labor clients in arbitration matters, including upholding discipline and discharge of union employees as well as defending numerous contract claims.
  • Defeated union organizing campaigns and charges filed before the NLRB.
  • Negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements.
  • Argued the constitutionality of ERISA to the U.S. Supreme Court in RA Gray v. PGBC.
  • Served as lead legal team for ICTSI Oregon, Inc., in a contentious and highly publicized labor dispute at the Port of Portland with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
  • Presented argument to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the lawfulness of hot-cargo clauses in the construction industry.
  • Assisted in management of strikes and other economic actions by unions against employers.
  • Presented numerous in-house training seminars to client personnel.
  • Handled numerous cases involving secondary boycotts, including the prosecution of unfair labor practice hearings, damage claims under Section 303, injunctions and contempt hearings.

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