Labor Unions

Labor Unions

Patterson Harkavy has been supporting North Carolina’s labor movement since the 1970s. Our firm has represented local unions across North Carolina, and the South, as well as international unions organizing in a variety of industries. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing unions in arbitration, at the bargaining table, before the National Labor Relations Board, in federal and state courts, and in the legislature.

Contact our Chapel Hill office at (919) 942-5200 or call toll-free at (800) 458-2541 to get help for yourself or your union.

Unions and Collective Bargaining Rights

Our attorneys have extensive knowledge in state and federal employment law and labor law. The firm serves as general counsel to the North Carolina State AFL-CIO and has lobbied on behalf of labor before the North Carolina General Assembly in workers’ compensation, unemployment, health and safety, wage and hour policies, and other areas. We provide representation in the following areas:

  • Arbitration of labor union grievances or negotiations
  • Collective bargaining of union contracts
  • Strikes — including arrests, picketing issues, and sympathy strikes
  • Organizing efforts — including union-busting activities or retaliation
  • Labor-related litigation before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and in the courts
  • Legislative advocacy
  • General counsel and consulting regarding union policies, procedures, and responsibilities

What Laws Define Union Rights and Obligations?

The National Labor Relations Act makes it illegal for private sector employers to interfere with employees' right to organize or participate in collective bargaining activities or other labor union activities. When the employees in a workplace have chosen to organize, the employer must negotiate with the union about the terms of employment including wages, hours, vacation or personal time, insurance, workplace safety, and other matters. A union contract may also include specific procedures that must be followed before employees are disciplined or fired.

Enforcement and Advocacy of Workers’ Rights

Our attorneys have significant experience working with labor unions. Attorney Michael Okun served as a litigation attorney in the Appellate Court Branch of the Enforcement Division of the National Labor Relations Board in Washington. Currently serving as general counsel to the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, he has held leadership positions and in numerous labor lawyer associations, and actively sought legislative change on behalf of union workers. Mr. Okun also teaches labor law at Wake Forest University School of Law. Trisha Pande served as Assistant General Counsel at the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC, before joining Patterson Harkavy.

Our attorneys provide guidance and representation to international labor unions and local labor unions across North Carolina and in the South. We can assist in pursuing individual employee grievances at the employer level, and can advocate for change within your workplace or in front of state or federal legislatures.

Make an Impact: Protect Your Rights

If you are trying to organize your workplace and are seeking legal advice, or are a union working to protect its membership, contact Patterson Harkavy today by calling (800) 458-2541 or 919-942-5200 or contacting us online.