Our labor law firm was founded in Oakland, California, in July 1981, by Bob Bezemek, to represent the interests of labor unions and employees in the public and private sectors. As of 1981, Bob had spent 8 years practicing labor law, for the National Labor Relations Board, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and with a union-side law firm in San Francisco. Bob was committed to creating a firm where the lawyers worked closely with their clients, and were well prepared for their cases. The firm was designed to not only be aware of the standard labor law approaches to cases, but was also committed to finding creative solutions to the problems our clients confronted. In addition, from its inception our firm has always had a strong ideological commitment to unionism, and employs highly qualified lawyers and assistants who share this commitment.
Since 1981, much of our work has involved representing labor unions in the California public schools and community colleges, in large research universities such as the University of California, and in private schools and colleges. Our clients have included the California Federation of Teachers, numerous local unions of academic and classified employees affiliated with the CFT and with the American Federation of Teachers, chiropractors and psychologists, and independent faculty unions. In addition, we have represented labor unions who represent bargaining units in cities, counties and special districts, including unions of firefighters, AFSCME, office and technical employees, public defenders and district attorneys, air resource district employees, taxi drivers, and other groups.
Our firm has also represented a number of private sector labor unions covered by the National Labor Relations Act, including locals of the IBEW, Teamsters, Plasterers and Cement Masons, and taxi drivers.
Besides labor unions, we have periodically represented individual employees working in a variety of public and private entities, organizations, and industries. These have included teachers in private schools and colleges, professors and researchers at the University of California and other California universities, and safety-related employees.
Our firm has also represented several large groups of public sector retirees in legal disputes over their rights to continue to receive employer-paid, lifetime retiree health benefits, including retirees who retired from Contra Costa Community College District, San Leandro Unified School District, West Contra Costa Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Fresno Unified School District, Mendocino College, Yuba Community College District, and various counties.
In the 1970s, Bob was extensively involved in initial PERB cases which secured bargaining rights for academic and classified employees employed by school and community college districts, for State of California employees, and for University of California employees. In the 1980s the firm continued its representation of public and private sector unions,1 and began to represent large groups of public sector retirees in actions to protect their vested retirement rights. In the 1990s and into the 21st century, our lawyers have protected union and worker rights in a variety of forums.2 Patricia Lim and David Conway have counseled many unions through tough negotiations and impasse proceedings, and every lawyer has extensive experience handling contract enforcement through arbitration, and employee defense to disciplinary action.
Besides work before labor boards and in trial courts, the firm has considerable experience in appellate matters, including submitting friend-of-the-court briefs to state and federal appellate courts on matters of widespread union interest. The firm’s lawyers regularly appear at conferences and provide training for our clients.
1. See, e.g., Novato Unified School District, PERB Dec. No. 210, 6 PERC ¶13114 (1982); California State University, Sacramento PERB Dec. No. 211-H, 6 PERC 13115 (1982 ); Cervisi
v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board 208 Cal. App. 3d 635 (1989); San Leandro School Retirees Action Association v. San Leandro Unified School District, Alameda County Superior Court No. 104212-0 (1986)[enforcing retirees right to lifetime reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums].
2. See, e.g., Marin Community College District PERB Dec. No. 1092, 19 PERC 26070 (1995); Stryker v. Antelope Valley, 100 Cal. App. 4th 324 (2002), Fresno Unified Retirees Association v. Fresno Unified School District, Fresno Co. Superior Court No. 06CECG03088, Judgment entered 2010) [enforcing retirees right to lifetime health benefits].