Richard L. Samson

Shareholder || Chicago

Rick has represented management in all aspects of labor and employment law for over 30 years with a particular emphasis on traditional labor law. He has also litigated cases before federal and state courts as well as state and local agencies in employment discrimination and wrongful discharge actions. He routinely advises clients on a host of employment-related issues including employer investigations, claims of harassment, employment policies and social media.

In the traditional labor arena, his experience covers the gamut of issues arising under the National Labor Relations Act including matters affecting both unionized and non-union employers in litigation, trial work and day to day counseling. He is currently outside labor counsel to one of the nation’s largest steel producers with over 12,000 represented employees, and also represents multi-employer bargaining associations in their negotiations with several construction craft unions for labor agreements covering several thousand employees. He has experience in a variety of industries including construction, ready mix supply, material supply (aggregate mining), steel, light and heavy manufacturing, retail, food distribution, theatrical production, casinos, meatpacking and assisted living. He regularly appears on behalf of employers before the National Labor Relations Board in the defense of unfair labor practice charges and in representation cases. Over the course of his career he has handled such matters throughout the country in the Labor Board’s various regional offices including Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis, Oakland, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Rick has been an adjunct professor of law at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law where he taught a course on the law of employment relationships and established a seminar class on employee privacy rights.

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Organizing Activities

Rick frequently advises employers who are confronted with union organizing campaigns. His experience ranges from the training of supervisors to the oversight of legal activities associated with communications affecting the voting group. He also regularly is engaged to handle representation proceedings at the NLRB and in this connection has handled dozens of hearings at the agency addressing the legal issues affecting the petitioned for unit including questions relating to supervisory status, temporary employees, confidential employees, security guards, and a host of other issues relating to the scope and appropriateness of the voting unit. In one matter, Mr. Samson was the primary counsel handling a 21 day hearing on behalf of a major steel company in response to an effort to organize over 1000 employees in a technical and clerical unit.

Unfair Labor Practice Cases

The handling of unfair labor practice charges is a routine part of Rick’s practice having handled hundreds of such charges including through trial and appeal to the NLRB. In one matter, he successfully defeated a claim for a Gissel bargaining order after an 11 day trial. His ULP experience includes, among other things, allegations involving discipline and discharge of employees – including during the course of organizing campaigns – refusal to bargain allegations, information request matters, questions relating to supervisory status, union salting and strike related claims. He also regularly prosecutes charges filed by employers at the NLRB in matters relating to illegal secondary picketing and other unfair labor practice claims against labor organizations.

Collective Bargaining

Rick has assisted a variety of employers in different industries in their collective bargaining negotiations whether behind the scenes as a “contract language drafter” or as the principal spokesperson “at the table.” In this capacity he has negotiated contracts covering only a handful of employees to those covering several hundred and he has also negotiated on behalf of employer associations where the units have included thousands of employees. Most recently he was management’s chief spokesperson for area-wide construction negotiations affecting hundreds of employers and over 25,000 thousand employees.


Arbitration is also a routine part of Rick’s practice having handled matters involving discipline and discharge of employees as well as significant contract interpretation issues in a variety of industries. He also has arbitrated claims against unions for damages arising out of their breaches of no strike clauses in the construction and elevator industries and has been involved in several Boys Markets injunction cases in federal court seeking to uphold grievance/arbitration procedures in the face of strikes that are in violation of contractual no-strike clauses. His arbitration practice also extends to the withdrawal liability arena, having acted recently as lead counsel in an arbitration contesting a nearly $1Million assessment of liability, as well as to the arbitration of disputes between trustees of Taft-Hartley benefit funds.

Construction Industry Matters

Rick has also developed a significant practice representing employers as well as employer associations in the construction industry. He routinely is asked to address questions involving secondary picketing, bannering, hot cargo agreements, multi-employer bargaining issues, trust fund liability problems, jurisdictional disputes, dual shops and double breasting, the negotiation of project labor agreements and a host of issues unique to the industry. He is an active member of the Associated General Contractors Labor and Employment Lawyers Council and a contributor to its annual labor law symposium where he has spoken on such topics as dual shops, union access to employer property, multi-employer bargaining, deferral to arbitration, and 8f/9a conversion issues.


Admittance to Practice

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section, Committees on Employee Rights and Responsibilities and the Development of the Law under the National Labor Relations Act)
  • Chicago Bar Association (Chair, Labor and Employment Committee, 2006-2007)
  • Associated General Contractors Labor and Employment Lawyers Council (Member and Chair, 2015)


Insights by Richard L. Samson