Labor Fears Spawn Boom In Workplace Legal Advice

Author: Melanie Trottman, Wall Street Journal, Published on: 8 April 2009

U.S. businesses, fearful of rising union influence and a crackdown by the Obama administration on workplace practices, are scrambling for legal advice and training, creating a windfall for labor consultants and law firms. Meat packer Tyson Foods Inc., whose work force is about 60% nonunion, recently brought in labor lawyer Howard L. Bernstein [of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg] for a two-hour training session covering potential implications of the Employee Free Choice Act... Big employers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are opposed to the Free Choice Act, an Obama-supported bill. Unions say the legislation is needed to prevent employers from intimidating workers from joining a union... Ralph Simpson, president and chief executive of Warfel Construction Co., said he's worried that aggressive unions from Philadelphia would target his 100-employee company... Nancy Schiffer, an associate general counsel for union federation AFL-CIO, said "some of these consultants are engaging in fear mongering to promote their products, to create a sense of divisiveness and a need to be protected that isn't necessary." Labor consultants and lawyers are looking to profit from interest in the Free Choice Act by briefing companies…on…matters such as…how to detect union organizing and prevent it without breaking the law. [also refers to Jackson Lewis LLP, Berens & Tate, Hewitt Associates]

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Related companies: Jackson Lewis Tyson Walmart