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Robert H. Lavitt is a senior partner with Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP, where he practices labor and employment law, advising and representing labor unions in all aspects of litigation, organizing, collective bargaining, contract enforcement, and legislation.  He has extensive experience representing unions during strikes, lockouts, injunctions, and unfair labor practice disputes.  He has advocated for workers successfully before federal and state administrative agencies, trial courts, and at the appellate level.  Rob fights on behalf of clients across a range of settings including early learning, maritime, longshore, transportation and manufacturing, as well as the public sector.  He frequently advises unions on regulatory and compliance issues.  Rob maintains an active litigation practice and has extensive arbitration and interest arbitration experience. 

Rob serves currently on the Board of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee (LCC)and is a member of the Washington State and King County Bar Associations (Labor and Employment Law Sections). He is licensed to practice in both Washington and Oregon.  He is a past member of the Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Law Conference planning committee and chaired its Labor Law Subcommittee in 2005 and 2007.  He is a former Contributing Editor to the BNA's The Developing Labor Law

Rob writes and lectures regularly on labor and employment law issues, and has presented at the AFL-CIO LCC Conference, the Washington State Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law CLE, and the ABA Labor & Employment Law Section's Committee on Technology in the Workplace.  He speaks regularly to union members and conducts trainings to help unions more effectively represent their members.

Before law school Rob worked from 1992-1994 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 family where they avidly support the Seattle Sounders FC professional men's soccer team.

Representative Work

  • Extensive Public Records Act litigation at trial and appellate court level defending public sector union membership lists from Freedom Foundation.
  • Successfully defended over a dozen duty of fair representation claims before the National Labor Relations Board.
  • Litigated numerous secondary boycott and hot-cargo unfair labor practice cases under NLRA Sections 8(b)(4) and 8(e) before the NLRB and federal court.
  • SEIU 925 v. State of Washington and Freedom Foundation, No. 96578 (2019), Argued before Washington Supreme Court regarding application of Initiative 1501 to pending Public Records Act request for roster of child care providers.
  • CET v. ILWU, et al, No. 3-18-CV-2177 (D. Oregon), defending union and 150 members from RICO allegations.
  • Katherine Miller and Cynthia Mentele v. State of Washington and SEIU 925, (W.D. Washington)(summary judgement dismissing plaintiff's First Amendment attack on exclusive representation collective bargaining system for child care providers).
  • 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 affected 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, Divison III 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.)
  • State of Washington  v. Service Employees International Union Local 925,  (Interest Arbitration awards for family child care providers in 2018, 2014, 2010, 2008, and 2006).
  • 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.)
  • 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, The 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