Labor Union Representation

Since he joined the National Labor Relations Board after law school, Steve Kaplan’s law practice has included the representation of labor unions and individual union activists.

Over the years he has represented over a dozen private sector international and local labor unions, including the American Federation of Musicians, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Graphic Communications International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Screen Extras Guild and Screen Actors Guild.

Steve’s work includes handling collective bargaining negotiations, union grievance arbitrations and organizing campaigns. He has appeared on behalf of many labor unions before the National Labor Relations Board, United States Department of Labor, and both state and federal courts.

Recently Steve negotiated groundbreaking bargaining agreements for the musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Opera orchestras.

Steve has developed a specialization in the area of federal labor law preemption, which involves often complex questions of when federal law operates to prevent claimants from asserting legal claims under state employment laws.

Steve has also developed a particular specialization in handling internal administrative and personnel issues for labor unions, including issues relating to internal union elections. He has also fought important union democracy battles on behalf of both unions and union activists. For example, using innovative legal arguments, he won an important decision before the California Supreme Court holding that the right of union members to select representatives of their own choosing means that unions cannot be sued for wrongful termination by their own high-level executives. (Screen Extras Guild v. Superior Court)

Steve has also twice helped union democracy advocates overturn union elections that violated federal union democracy requirements.