Strategic Restructurings

Clients regularly call upon Crowell & Moring to provide strategic advice and representation in connection with corporate restructurings where labor cost considerations and corporate culture are paramount. Our work in this area spans the globe and includes representations in the shipping, freight forwarding, energy, and transportation sectors. When labor unions are involved, we serve as lead negotiator to achieve our clients' collective bargaining or negotiation goals, including securing contracts that provide long-term flexibility and ensure productivity and/or defending post-impasse implementation of collective bargaining proposals that are designed to achieve the same result.

Our recent representations include the following:

  • Operationally restructured the worldwide market leader in the secure transportation business by achieving strategic workforce change through an internal and external labor relations strategy. This representation included prevailing in hundreds of proceedings before the NLRB and in various tribunals and courts throughout the U.S. and Canada in connection with elimination of the representational status of the historical collective bargaining representative. As a result of the operational restructuring and cultural change  implemented through our strategy, the employer achieved and retained non-union status in the U.S., as well as continued operational success  throughout North America for the 30-year period of the representation. Not one proceeding before any regulatory authority in the US and Canada, including the NLRB, EEOC and DOL, resulted in an adverse outcome during the period.
  • Structured the acquisition and merger labor relations strategy of the largest domestic non-union heavyweight freight forwarder in its acquisition of an organized competitor. Through the creative use of NLRB processes in conjunction with our restructuring strategy, acting as lead negotiator, national non-union status was achieved except for one location, thereby increasing asset value and operational productivity without any business interruption.
  • Structured the acquisition and labor strategy of a leading heavyweight freight forwarder, following vote for unionization by pilots of its domestic air carrier provider. After finalizing the transaction, we designed the operating structure of the entities to enhance the application of the NLRA to protect the freight forwarder and its non-union NLRA workforce. While acting as lead negotiator, we successfully negotiated a first contract encompassing pilots and other classes and crafts concerning various types of aircraft under the RLA, containing groundbreaking productivity and flexibility provisions concerning scheduling, compensation and dispute resolution provisions, which enhanced the operating success of the overall enterprise.
  • Restructured an operating strategy for the largest over-the-road mail carrier of the USPS following a series of acquisitions, and implemented a national bargaining strategy to change historic collective bargaining relationships while maintaining compliance with the Service Contract Act and the NLRA. This engagement included design of a labor relations strategy for multiple bargaining units of acquired operating groups located throughout the US. Acting as lead negotiator, we successfully negotiated pattern-making agreements which improved the carrier's competitive position for future government contracts, which resulted in no adverse outcomes in any proceedings before regulators, including the NLRB, DOL and EEOC.
  • Structured an acquisition labor strategy and methodology of two EU-based freight forwarders in the US, which included the integration of the business and revenue of the acquired US freight forward operations. We served as lead negotiator and our collective bargaining strategy yielded no adverse outcomes in proceedings before the NLRB, DOL, and EEOC.