Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Ballard Spahr has served as labor counsel to Governors Robert P. Casey, Tom Ridge, Edward G. Rendell, Tom Corbett, and Tom Wolf. From 2003–2011, our attorneys handled all aspects of labor negotiations for the Commonwealth's bargaining units. These units include five interest arbitration units covering State Police, Corrections Officers, Capitol Police, Park Rangers, and Game Conservation Officers. In 2003, we handled the first round of negotiations and interest arbitrations for the Commonwealth under Governor Rendell, reaching settlements that included a two-year freeze on general pay increases, the first-ever freeze on step increments, and the introduction of employee contributions for health care benefits, both for active employees and retirees. In 2007, we handled the second round of negotiations and arbitrations, reaching early settlements with many units that included another freeze in base pay, as well as a threefold increase in health care contributions.

The interest arbitrations with the Commonwealth's Corrections Officers union—a bargaining unit of 10,000 employees—are the largest interest arbitrations in Pennsylvania. Ballard Spahr attorneys served as counsel presenting the case, as well as the party arbitrator representing the Commonwealth in the 2005 and 2008 proceedings. In these awards, the arbitration results largely followed the pattern established by the largest state union—AFSCME—including the introduction of employee premium sharing on health care and ordering that the union remain a part of the statewide health trust fund. We also were able to obtain significant operational changes and prevent the union from dismantling decades of bargaining history. This outcome was particularly important because the union had only recently split off from AFSCME.

During our work with the Commonwealth we also negotiated and assisted in the implementation of cost containment strategies and reforms for health care, bringing the state health trust fund back from the brink of insolvency. We also defended an injunction matter aimed at maintaining the status quo for health care benefits pending the outcome of a grievance and PLRB charge. The case was argued before the Commonwealth Court and ultimately resolved in the Commonwealth’s favor by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Our attorneys also were engaged as trust fund counsel during the Corbett Administration.

State of Delaware

We have provided labor and employment advice and representation to the State of Delaware since 2010, including representing the State in its first (and only) binding interest arbitration proceeding under a newly passed collective bargaining statute, which resulted in a major financial victory for the State. That interest arbitration involved a unit of Department of Corrections supervisors. Since then, we have represented the State in the appeal of that award an in a matter pending before the Delaware Public Employment Relations Board related to the interpretation of that collective bargaining statute.

State of New Jersey

Ballard Spahr has served as Special Counsel to the Governor of the State of New Jersey for Labor Negotiations since 2010. As the state continues to address gaping budget deficits, union negotiations with state workers have been identified as a high priority by Governor Chris Christie and are a key component of his plans to rebalance the state budget. We represent the Governor's Office of Employee Relations in union contract negotiations, interest arbitration proceedings, and related litigation.

City of Philadelphia

We have represented the City of Philadelphia in its major labor negotiations for decades, serving as counsel in negotiations with the unions representing blue collar and white collar employees, police officers, firefighters, and deputy sheriffs. Our attorneys are directly involved in developing the strategy for negotiations, including the actual negotiations, the fact-finding process, strike management, interest arbitrations, and litigation of court challenges when necessary. We have also represented the City in unfair labor practice proceedings, unit clarification proceedings, and employment matters, including wage and hour collective actions.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

We serve as outside counsel for SEPTA, the nation's fifth largest transit system, on labor relations and employment matters. We have represented the Authority since 1997 in a wide variety of labor matters, including Presidential Emergency Boards to resolve labor disputes involving the rail unions, as well as fact-finding, unfair labor practice charges, employment litigation, wage and hour litigation, policy development, and management training. Our attorneys regularly defend the Authority's contractual rights in grievance arbitration matters arising under the bargaining agreements.

Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)

We have provided labor and employment advice, counseling, and representation to PGW since 2000. Our attorneys have represented PGW in negotiations, arbitrations, unfair labor charges, and labor and employment litigation.

Public Universities

We have represented a number of public universities in Pennsylvania, including Temple University, in labor and employment matters including in arbitrations, litigation, and representation and unfair labor practice proceedings before the PRLB. We also represent public universities in investigations; conduct training on issues as varied as Title IX, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and wage and hour compliance; and guide universities in matters involving faculty removal and internal disciplinary board hearings. Our attorneys are familiar with the sensitive nature of complex labor relations and employment issues that can arise in a university setting and have the experience to bring about resolution. We benefit from the in-depth knowledge of a team member who served as Chair of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors from 2005–2011. We also understand the day-to-day employment issues that can affect the tenor of campus life. Our team has more than 30 years of experience representing public universities in a wide range of contexts. We know how to forge positive relationships with organized labor while aggressively advocating the legal positions of our higher education clients.

Pennsylvania Counties

Ballard Spahr has a long history of representing many Pennsylvania counties—including Bucks, Northampton, and Montgomery—in every aspect of labor and employment law, including collective bargaining, labor relations, and day-to-day employment advice. We counsel these clients in all facets of their labor relations and human resource functions. We are highly aware of the challenges faced in bargaining with public employees, particularly uniformed employees. Our attorneys assist counties with issues from hiring to firing and everything in between. We focus on disciplinary investigations, collective bargaining, and the management of disability laws such as workers' compensation, Heart and Lung Benefits, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the FMLA. We also represent our county clients in employment and other litigation.