Public Sector Unions

Considered one of the elite public sector teams in New York, we are one of the few full-service law firms to offer comprehensive counsel to public sector unions and their associated benefits funds, combining decades of practical experience with the resources of a national law firm.

We are relentless negotiators and creative problem solvers, serving our clients in connection with collective bargaining issues, contractual fact-finding and arbitration proceedings, and in improper practice proceedings before the New York State Public Employment Relations Board and the NYC Office of Collective Bargaining. We also guide our clients in the pursuit of labor law reform. Our litigators have served as labor representatives on the NYC Board of Collective Bargaining and as counsel for the NYC Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella organization for the City’s municipal workers, in connection with litigation and legislative initiatives.

Our groundbreaking work in both litigation and collective bargaining has brought about positive changes regarding workplace safety, compensation, employee rights, pensions and other issues affecting public sector unions and their members.

Experience

  • New York City Municipal Labor Committee: Represented the MLC and its constituent unions in negotiating a program to successfully achieve the joint goal of $3.4 billion in health care cost savings over a four-year period.
  • United Federation of Teachers: Represented the UFT in bargaining, arbitration and mediation that led to the union’s groundbreaking nine-year collective bargaining agreement, which set the civilian “pattern” for all New York City contracts in the most recent round of bargaining (and the first one accomplished in the de Blasio administration), and provided counsel regarding major changes in both work rule and pedagogical matters.
  • Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, Local 831: As outside general counsel and litigation counsel, we represent the union in the full array of labor law matters, including collective bargaining, contract administration and prosecuting claims related to contract enforcement and pension rights.
  • Associations of Supreme Court Justices of the City and State of New York: Counseling the Associations in compensation matters, including the submission of testimony before the Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation.
  • Local 237 Teamsters-Town of Islip Health & Welfare Fund: Obtained dismissal of all claims in New York Supreme Court by a rival union alleging several novel claims asserting an equitable interest by former union fund participants and seeking a forced apportionment of funds in favor of rival union benefit fund. The claims raised complex issues regarding the rights of former participants in a pooled asset public employee welfare benefit fund as well as challenges to the fiduciary duties of fund trustees.
  • Janus: Served as lead counsel in the Municipal Labor Committee’s submission of amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in connection with the Court’s consideration in Janus v. AFSCME, No. 16-3638 (7th Cir., March 21, 2017), of a challenge to decades-long precedent allowing for mandatory agency fees in the public sector.
  • Taylor Law Amendments: Assisted in crafting legislation amending New York’s public employee relations act – the Taylor Law – to re-define a union’s duty of fair representation to the employees it represents. The duty of fair representation had not been significantly changed in decades prior to the new law. The amendments allow public sector unions more flexibility to distinguish the benefits of union membership in the face of a changing labor law landscape and the Supreme Court’s anticipated decision in the Janus case, where right-to-work advocates seek the invalidation of fair share fees.
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Lawyers In This Group


NAME TITLE OFFICE
Kerry T. Cooperman Associate New York

Kerry T. Cooperman
Associate
New York

David J. Kahne Special Counsel New York

David J. Kahne
Special Counsel
New York

Alan M. Klinger Co-Managing Partner New York

Alan M. Klinger
Co-Managing Partner
New York

Dina Kolker Special Counsel New York

Dina Kolker
Special Counsel
New York

Samantha M. Rubin Associate Washington, DC

Samantha M. Rubin
Associate
Washington, DC