While transportation is a broad and diverse industry, employers in this sector face common challenges dealing with a highly regulated environment, an extremely sensitive business climate and a unique, often dispersed workforce. The lawyers in Littler’s Transportation Industry Practice Group bring the same energy, intelligence and creativity to anticipating and solving our transportation clients’ labor and employment needs that is required for its clients to succeed in this fast-paced and nuanced industry.
Leveraging the Breadth of Littler’s Practice
From Littler’s inception during World War II, our work with transportation employers has been a critical foundation of our practice. We currently represent transportation clients throughout the United States and across all modalities. We represent LTL trucking companies, express delivery companies, ground passenger operations, national railway companies, and short line railroads. In aviation, our clients include regional, national and international passenger airlines, as well as national and international cargo companies.
Our national platform and experienced attorneys allow us to provide effective representation to clients in nationwide collective bargaining negotiations, multi-state labor, employment and wage and hour litigation and regulatory compliance. The diverse practice groups within Littler allow transportation group attorneys to consult and collaborate with, for example, wage and hour, drug testing, workplace safety, and traditional labor specialists. Our lawyers are versed in the legal and regulatory issues facing our transportation clients and have long-standing relationships with judges, arbitrators, administrative agencies and typical adversaries in every jurisdiction. We leverage that experience and those relationships to help our clients manage their risks – and their costs – through effective and innovative litigation, arbitration, labor relations and compliance strategies.
In solving problems for clients in the dynamic transportation industry, we know that predictable, traditional approaches are no longer always effective. That is why we constantly push ourselves to help find the most creative, cost effective solution to our clients problems. We strive to approach engagements comprehensively, and attempt to resolve both the specific legal issues at hand and to partner with our clients to develop solutions that enhance their overall business. Our broad exposure in the industry allows us to anticipate and inform our clients about potential labor and employment problems even before they become an issue.
As the largest U.S.-based law firm exclusively devoted to representing management in employment and labor law matters, we provide our clients with wide-ranging resources. Whatever the issue, we draw daily on the knowledge of recognized authorities in specific areas of the law and respond seamlessly to questions on drug testing, operator medical and other qualifications, employee benefits, wage and hour, workforce reduction, international, whistleblower and other issues. Operator safety requirements at the federal and state levels have never been so complex, and our transportation practice group members have advised extensively on those requirements at both the federal and state levels.
Our knowledge management team helps us keep our clients informed about developments in regulations, legislation and case law, involving timely topics, such as changes in union election rules and safety regulations affecting the workforce. Our complementary practices enable us to serve our clients efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. Our international network enables us to assist transportation clients worldwide.
We represent numerous trucking industry clients before the National Labor Relations Board, and airline and railway employers in matters before the National Mediation Board. We also assist clients with Department of Transportation audits, including audits conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration.
The many services Littler provides to transportation clients include:
- Employment counseling
- Training and policy development
- Wage and hour audits and litigation, including nationwide misclassification, pay practices and owner-operator challenges
- Compliance with and advice on drug testing regulations in all industries as well as pilot and operator safety regulations, and owner-operator issues
- Reductions-in-force and corporate restructuring matters
- Workers’ compensation
- Benefit plans
- Union organizing campaigns
- Collective bargaining negotiations and labor arbitrations, including nationwide negotiations for major carriers
- Employment discrimination and whistleblower defense, administrative hearings and lawsuits, including employment and wage class actions
We are recognized for decades long labor management experience, a reputation underscored by our work in transportation. We advise clients regarding union avoidance and, when a workforce is unionized, with contract administration issues, collective bargaining, and grievance arbitration. We also regularly advise clients on the labor implications of various business restructuring alternatives. Whether our client is engaged in the due diligence process for the acquisition of a new operation, contemplating transportation outsourcing or transferring to an owner-operator business model, we work with our client to identify the possible labor implications of the strategic alternatives and to implement the change.
Each year, we represent clients in scores of labor arbitrations cases involving benefits, scheduling, pay, discipline and discharge, and other issues affecting the bottom line for the transportation employer. We have built a strong rapport with the community of arbitrators in transportation matters. We also know our adversaries. This enables us to work toward effective solutions on behalf of our clients. We realize that representation in a contract arbitration often goes beyond the narrow issue at hand, and there are other strategic goals – plus the relationship with the institutional adversary – to consider. During a reduction in force, we call upon our employee reduction experience, but we also think through the labor contract consequences and the labor relations implications. Even in counseling on employment policy options, we factor in how a policy affects the larger labor relations strategy.