Practices

Public Sector Labor

The attorneys in our renowned public sector labor and employment practice advise and represent virtually every type of large public employer—from states, counties, cities, and municipal agencies to authorities, universities, and hospitals. We count among our clients prominent gubernatorial and mayoral administrations, including many longstanding relationships spanning decades and political affiliations—a reflection on both the quality of our work and our institutional knowledge of our client and its business.

We provide a comprehensive range of public sector labor and employment legal services. 

Depth and experience position us particularly well to support large public employers. Public sector clients call on us for counsel on workplace labor and employment issues, to handle litigation matters such as unfair labor practice cases, and to represent them during labor negotiations, arbitrations, and union organizational campaigns. We represent clients before the National Labor Relations Board, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, and other federal and state agencies. Our labor and employment litigation experience spans state and federal courts throughout the country. 


Experience 

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.