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Robert H. Lavitt has been a partner in the firm since 2001.   Rob's practice focuses on labor and employment law, advising and representing unions in all aspects of litigation, organizing and collective bargaining, and representing workers in employment matters, including wage and hour disputes and class actions.  Rob's work frequently involves contract enforcement and interest arbitration.  He has extensive experience representing unions in a range of industries including maritime, longshore, early learning, long-term care, warehouse, transportation, education, and public sector.   

Rob writes and lectures regularly on labor and employment law issues and conducts trainings to help unions more effectively represent their members.

During law school Rob clerked for the AFL-CIO's Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C.  He served as a Judicial Extern for U.S. District judge William Dwyer in Seattle. Before law school Rob worked as an organizer for Southern Echo, Inc. in Greenville and Jackson, MS, on voting rights, environmental justice and education issues.  He lives in Seattle with his wife and twin daughters, where they are avid supporters of the Seattle Sounders FC.

Representative Work

  • Teamsters Local 117 v. Dept. of Corrections (Vivenzio, 2011)(finding employer violated contract by imposing furlough days, and awarding full back pay plus interest to 800 effected employees).
  • Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific, and Masters Mates & Pilots v. Washington State Ferries, 127 Lab. Arb (BNA) 601 (Tim Williams, 2010) (sustained union's safety based challenge to crew schedules aboard ferry vessels).
  • Jones, Mertens, et al v. Home Care of Washington, 152 Wn. App. 674, 15 Wage & Hour.2d (BNA) 645 (2009), review denied 169 Wn.2d 1002 (2010)(trial court erred by failing to vacate dismissal and permit putative class to intervene; on question of first impression, held that court must assess need for class wide notice under CR 23(e) before dismissing pre-certification class action wage claims.)
  • Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific v. WSDOT- Ferries Division, (Sylvia Skratek, 2010) (Interest Arbitration Award, 2011-2013 CBA.  Preserving travel time pay for relief AB deckhands)
  • Teamsters 117 v. Macy's Department Stores (Joe Duffy 2010) (finding employer breached contract by fragmenting full-time positions, held by senior employees, into numerous part-time positions without benefits.  Brought Section 301 LMRA lawsuit against Company seeking reverse Boys Market injunction in federal court in anticipation of arbitration. Company settled and agreed to preserve status quo pending arbitration.)
  • Levias v. PMA & ILWU, Cause No. 08-cv-01610-JPD (W.D. Washington 2010) (successfully opposed class certification in wage case threatening status of longshore dispatch hall)
  • WSNA v. King County, Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-30082-8-SEA (2009) (Obtained preliminary injunction preventing disclosure of public records, including names of jail health services nurses, to inmate.)
  • State of Washington v. Service Employees International Union Local 925,  (Interest Arbitration awards for family child care providers in 2010, 2008, and 2006)
  • Morin v. Harrell, 161 Wn.2d 226, 164 P.3d 495 (2007) (amicus counsel for SEIU 775)(rejecting challenge to constitutionality of Minimum Wage Act provision protecting home care workers)
  • WPEA, UFCW 21, IFPTE 17, WSNA, IBU, SEIU Locals 775, 925 & 1199NW, & Teamsters Local 117 v. State of Washington; Evergreen Freedom Foundation, Superior Court, Cause No. 07-2-05431-6-SEA (2007)(Multi-union coalition successfully thwarted anti-union group's effort to obtain bargaining notes and proposals prior to legislative authorization of funds for state employee CBAs)
  • Inlandboatmen's Union Of The Pacific, vs. Skagit County, Decision 8746-A (PECB, 2006)(County committed unfair labor practice by changing employee and vessel schedules without bargaining, and by unlawfully subcontracting out bargaining unit work)
  • Sunrise Services Inc., v. Snohomish County, 135 Wn. App. 1007 (2006)(affirming award of attorneys fees to union for successfully dissolving employer's restraining order against County preventing disclosure of records)
  • SEIU 775 v. Home Care of Washington, Inc. (2005) (employer violated neutrality agreement and was ordered to provide extended additional access during organizing campaign).
  • SEIU 775 v. State of Washington, (2004) (arbitrator awarded $1.6 million in back dues based on agency's bad faith conduct in implementing dues deduction for individual provider bargaining unit).
  • Associated Western Pulp & Paperworkers 155 v. Daishowa America Co. LTD  (Richard Stratton, 2002) (Reinstatement of three senior employees accused of marijuana use at work where employer denied access to union representation and unilaterally compelled each to submit to drug test)
  • Terry Kertis v. OCAW Local 1-591, 118 Wn. App. 1060 (2003) (Affirming trial court dismissal of DFR claim against business agent who assisted former member in filing pro se suit)
  • Teamsters 117 v. Associated Grocers (Carlton Snow, 2001) 01-2 ARB (CCH), 2001 WL 738473 (Arb) (Prevented outsourcing of entire warehouse operation. Employer ordered to restore over one hundred union positions)

Robert Lavitt

Partner

tel - 206.285.2828 x6004
fax - 206.378.4132
lavitt@workerlaw.com

18 West Mercer Street
Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98119


Practice Emphasis
Union Litigation 
Advising Unions 
Union Organizing 
Union Administration 
Wage & Hour Lawsuits 
Class Action Lawsuits
Employment Discrimination
Public Records Act

Admissions
Member of Washington and Oregon State Bars
U.S. District Court, W.D. Washington
U.S. District Court, E.D. Washington
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Oregon

Education
J.D., Northeastern University School of Law
BA, Duke University

Professional & Civic Engagement
Contributing Editor, Developing Labor Law (BNA)

Professional Honors & Activities
AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, past presenter
Past Chair, Labor Law Subcommittee, Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Law Conference
Labor & Employment Law Sections, Washington State and King County Bar Associations
ABA, Labor & Employment Law Section, Developing Labor Law; Technology in the Workplace
Washington Employment Lawyers Association