Collective bargaining affects the way municipalities and educational institutions operate and are staffed, impacting the quality of services they provide. Our firm represents employers in the full spectrum of traditional labor law issues.

Our attorneys have an unmatched depth of experience having successfully negotiated hundreds of collective bargaining agreements for public employers, including cities, counties, public utilities, school districts and area education agencies, as well as having worked with diverse unions.

We have represented our clients in every aspect of the negotiation and resolution process, including the formation, amendment, and decertification of bargaining units; all aspects of table negotiations, resolution of negotiability disputes before the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) and in state court, mediation, fact finding, interest arbitration, and related proceedings such as prohibited practice complaints. We counsel clients on union avoidance strategies and represent employers in union organizing campaigns and unfair labor practice proceedings.

Our experience includes bargaining initial contracts, negotiating revisions in insurance plans, revising wage plans, negotiating and implementing reductions in force, brokering mid-term contract memos of understanding, accretions, and early retirement plans and severance agreements. We have assisted clients in contract administration, the development and implementation of personnel policies, the preparation of employee handbooks, and the conduct of workplace investigations.

In addition to negotiating agreements, the firm assists clients in the processing and arbitration of grievances filed under the collective bargaining agreements. Through the arbitration process, our attorneys have assisted with issues such as employee discipline, termination, transfers, wage claims, and other questions of contract interpretation.

Our attorneys have a thorough knowledge of the state and federal laws governing labor relations, including the Public Employment Relations Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Constitutional law as it applies to public employment, the Iowa Wage Payment Collection law, the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, state and federal drug testing laws, state and federal polygraph testing laws, Veterans Preference laws, Open Meeting and Public Records laws, and state and federal laws pertaining to employee privacy and workplace investigations.

We are frequent speakers and authors on the topic of public sector labor relations.

Representative Projects

  • Represented the State of Iowa Executive Branch, Judicial Branch, State Board of Regents, and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in collective bargaining negotiations with unions under both Democratic and Republican administrations
  • Negotiate extensions and new contracts for public employers during collective bargaining reforms and represent employers in negotiating new contracts for public safety and non-public safety bargaining units
  • Represent employers before the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board in elections, unit clarification, decertification, unit amendment, prohibited practices, and negotiability proceedings
  • Advocate for employers in rulemaking proceedings on recertification elections
  • Represent employers in impasse and grievance arbitration hearings
  • Advise employers on collective bargaining campaign and negotiation strategies
  • Negotiate and draft memos of understanding and settlement agreements to resolve grievance disputes
  • Advise employers on changes in Chapter 20 Collective Bargaining legislation
  • Since February 2017, have negotiated over 150 contracts under the new Chapter 20 legislation
  • Litigated emerging issues arising under the new Chapter 20 legislation where there is no precedent
  • Update employee handbooks to take into account the changed scope of negotiations under Chapter 20 as amended