Joseph J. Stevens
Tough in negotiations, diligent in drafting agreements, Joseph Stevens counsels employers on a wide variety of labor-related issues. He has earned a well-deserved reputation as an effective representative when negotiating collective bargaining agreements, and he is particularly experienced at advising businesses with unionized employees about their rights and obligations under such agreements as well as under labor statutes. Michael Roche recruited Joseph, attracted by his record of success; leadership unanimously invited him to join our Board of Directors in 1993, the same year he joined our firm.
As a young attorney working for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Joseph identified the need for collective bargaining and therefore established the organization's labor relations department. More than twenty-five years later he continues to negotiate on behalf of management for the CTA, extending similar representation to local municipalities and to the trucking and gaming industries. In addition, Joseph represents Pace (a six-county public transportation company), Chicago-area racetracks, off-track betting parlors and the Village of Gurnee, handling all negotiations with its unionized fire and police departments.
For some 30 years Joseph has served on the board of directors for Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Illinois, the residence and school for abused, neglected and abandoned children. He visits this facility—one of the largest of its kind in the nation and the largest in Illinois—several times a month in his current capacity as secretary of the board, which he joined at the encouragement of administrator Father John Smyth. While Joseph's children were young, he also was active in various capacities at his parish.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Joseph's expertise in collective bargaining includes having built a niche market here in Chicago conducting interest arbitration, so-called because it can affect the interests of an entire organization—a complete contract being under arbitration, not just one or two provisions. Common in the public sector where striking by police officers or fire fighters could paralyze a community, interest arbitration keeps workers on the job while a contract is renegotiated. A typical interest arbitration can last up to six months and demands numerous exhibits and documentation. Knowledgeable about its mechanics and the markets interest arbitration best serves, Joseph has handled a variety of negotiations in both the public and private sectors.
As a labor counselor and contract negotiator, he also handles grievances and arbitrations involving discharged employees or workers who have filed discrimination complaints with management or the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. In addition, Joseph:
- negotiates contracts and collective bargaining agreements on behalf of management at companies ranging from 12,000 to 50 employees
- spends a significant portion of his time writing and analyzing complex collective bargaining agreements and achieving precision in structuring and implementing these specialized contracts
- investigates charges of unfair labor practices filed by unions with the National Labor Relations Board and the Illinois State and Local Labor Relations Board.
Joseph has personally negotiated more than 100 collective bargaining agreements with a variety of unions during the course of his career. He is proud to have:
- won a major interest arbitration in 1994 for all Chicago-area racetracks that saved his clients millions of dollars and secured them a six-year collective bargaining agreement with various unions
- saved the CTA significant funds over three years following interest arbitrations in 1983 and 1985, the resulting economics extending years beyond the terms of the final agreement.
Should your organization require labor-related counseling and wish to benefit from Joseph's unique experience, please call.