Peter DeChiara quoted in Wall Street Journal article on management bonus plans in bankruptcy

September 5, 2019

On September 5, 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that the court administering the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of California utility PG&E had denied the company’s proposed multi-million dollar bonus plan for its top executives. The article, seeking comment by experts not involved in the case, quoted CWS partner Peter DeChiara saying that it was “gratifying to see that the PG&E judge scrutinized the bonus plan and turned it down.”  “Sometimes judges will do that,” his quote continued, “but more often than not those plans are approved. It’s a shame because typically, by the very nature of the bankruptcy, the stakeholders including the rank and file workers are sacrificing, taking a hit. While other stakeholders are suffering, management is getting bonuses.”

Peter DeChiara represents unions and benefit funds in employer bankruptcy cases and edits the firm’s blog on bankruptcy labor issues: http://www.cwsny.com/bankruptcy-blog/.

CWS Client Defeats the NLRB’s Request for a Preliminary Injunction that Would Have Prevented the Use of an Inflated Rat and Other Free Speech

July 1, 2019

On July 1, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York rejected a request by the National Labor Relations Board for a preliminary injunction that would have enjoined the Union’s protest activity directed at a Staten Island supermarket chain.  The underlying dispute centers on the supermarket agreeing to move one of its stores into a new shopping center that is being constructed with non-union workers paid wages and benefits below the area standard.  In an attempt to “shame” the supermarket for the move, Local 79 of the Laborers began in late April 2019 erecting inflated balloons—often a rat, but sometimes a cockroach too—distributing leaflets, and holding a single lunch-time rally outside the current supermarkets.  In response, the Regional Director for Region 29 issued a complaint that Local 79 had violated the National Labor Relations Act’s so-called secondary boycott provisions by “enmeshing” the supermarket in the Union’s dispute with the non-union construction company.  Pending resolution of that complaint, which is to be tried before an administrative law judge, the Regional Director sought a preliminary injunction against all Union activity directed at the supermarket other than the distribution of leaflets.  In refusing to issue such a “remarkably broad” injunction, the district court held that the Union’s “peaceful” and “expressive” conduct was lawful under current NLRB case law, and more importantly, the conduct was protected by the First Amendment.  The district court’s decision can be found here.  Local 79 is represented by CWS partner Joseph Vitale and Tamir Rosenblum, General Counsel for the Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York.

Jani K. Rachelson, Richard M. Seltzer and Lisa M. Gomez present at sessions at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 65th Annual Employee Benefits Conference in San Diego, CA

October 20-23, 2019

Jani K. RachelsonRichard M. Seltzer and Lisa M. Gomez will present at sessions at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 65th Annual Employee Benefits Conference on October 20-23, 2019 in San Diego, CA.  Ms. Rachelson will participate in a panel on “Lessons Learned in Health Plan Mergers” that will review an actual case study of a health plan merger and discuss the decisions and facts leading to merger, legal considerations and obstacles, trustee steps, benefits, surprises, outcomes and costs.  Mr. Seltzer will present on “Enforcing Client Rights in Bankruptcy” discussing bankruptcy rules as they apply to employee benefit plans, the role of the creditors committee, maximizing payouts and other legal considerations.  Ms. Gomez will present on “Avoiding Common Mistakes in Claims and Appeals” discussing compliance with the ERISA claims and appeals regulations and tips for plans to avoid procedural errors in handling claims and appeals.

Kate M. Swearengen’s article, “Joint Employer Standard May Have Nine Lives,” published in the Spring 2019 issue of the American Bar Association Section of Labor & Employment Law Newsletter

June 26, 2019

Kate M. Swearengen’s article, “Joint Employer Standard May Have Nine Lives,” has been published in the Spring 2019 issue of the American Bar Association Section of Labor & Employment Law Newsletter.  The article discusses the D.C. Circuit’s Browning-Ferris decision and its implications for the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rulemaking on the standard for joint employer status.

A copy of the article is reprinted here with permission.

Melissa S. Woods elected as a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

June 8, 2019

Melissa S. Woods was elected as a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  The College was established by the Section of Labor and Employment Law of the American Bar Association to recognize those “who, by long and outstanding service, have distinguished themselves as leaders in the field” of labor and employment law.  The College notes that election as a Fellow in the College “is the highest recognition by one’s colleagues of sustained outstanding performance in the profession, exemplifying integrity, dedication and excellence.”  Ms. Woods will be formally installed as a Fellow on November 9, 2019 at the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section’s Continuing Legal Education Conference in New Orleans, LA.  A copy of the College’s press release can be found here.

Kate M. Swearengen is selected to participate in the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law’s 2019 Leadership Development Program

May 29, 2019

Kate M. Swearengen has been selected to participate in the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s 2019 Leadership Development Program (LDP).  Members of the LDP will attend training where they will learn more about the structure and leadership of the Section, routes of advancement within the Section and the ABA, and training in general leadership skills.  At the conclusion of the training, each member is assigned a role in a Section project.

Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP attorney Kate Swearengen is quoted in two Daily Labor Report articles entitled “Trump’s Top Lawyer Seeking Pro-Union Findings to Overturn” and “Challenges to Union Fees Made Easier by Top NLRB Lawyer.”

May 7, 2019

Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP attorney Kate Swearengen is quoted in two Daily Labor Report articles about the NLRB General Counsel’s scrutiny of alleged union wrongdoing and union fees.  The articles are entitled “Trump’s Top Labor Lawyer Seeking Pro-Union Findings to Overturn” and “Challenges to Union Fees Made Easier by Top NLRB Lawyer.”  Links to the articles can be found here: Trump’s Top Labor… Challenges….

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