In the last 10 years, labor unions have become more sophisticated in how they recruit, organize and pressure companies to implement labor and human rights standards. Prior to this shift, disputes between labor unions and their employers tended to be local issues settled between the parties. Now these disagreements can quickly escalate on a global scale, causing great concern among corporate leaders for good reason.
As companies worldwide face rising pressure to comply with international labor and human rights standards, failure to manage these risks can have a lasting impact on their business strategies, legal risk profile and brand reputations. These risks are only increasing as recently introduced legislation – such as the UK Modern Slavery Act and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act – imposes new requirements on companies to certify labor and human rights compliance within their supply chains.
As thought leaders on this development, our labor lawyers have helped shape international labor standards by their participation in International Labor Organization committees, considering issues such as working time arrangements and the informal economy. We also advised the UN Global Compact on its Business for the Rule of Law Framework, a set of guidelines on how companies can support efforts to respect human rights and reduce corruption and violent conflict.
We apply our collective knowledge to helping multinational companies mitigate supply chain and other compliance risks, while providing expert counsel on labor relations matters. We advise clients on developing industrial relations strategies, and assist in negotiations and consultations with works councils, trade unions and other employee representative bodies. We also represent employers in industrial actions, designing and implementing programs and policies to maintain positive employee relations in non-union workplaces.