Overview

Robert P. Brooks is the firm’s Managing Partner and Chairman of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Group. He represents management in all facets of labor relations and employment law in the public and private sectors.

Bob’s labor and employment experience includes counseling employers on day-to-day personnel administration as well as on such complex administrative law issues as OSHA compliance and wage and hour issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Bob also regularly and successfully handles collective bargaining negotiations and the defense of union organizing campaigns. He has successfully represented employers in employment discrimination matters, and represents employers in a wide variety of labor arbitration and administrative proceedings. In addition, he lectures frequently to groups and private companies on many of the issues facing human resource professionals on a daily basis.

Bob is Immediate Past President of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence and he is the recipient of the RI Bar Association’s Dorothy Lohmann Community Service Award, given in recognition for his work with the Boys and Girls Clubs. He serves on the AP&S Executive Committee and is a member of its Diversity Committee.

For several years, Bob Brooks with Adler Pollock has represented us with regard to all labor relations issues at our Rhode Island plant. At our Connecticut plant, Bob helped us maintain excellent employee relations and a positive working environment for our employees when this location expanded rapidly. Bob is particularly valuable as he brings a practical approach to problem resolution, as opposed to a simple legal response. He has a professional, calm, confident demeanor and a good business sense.

– Joanne Bagley, President, Kenyon Industries, Inc.

Education

  • Suffolk University Law School (J.D., 1987)
  • Rhode Island College (B.A., 1982)

Admissions

  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Representative Matters
  • Served as chief negotiator and spokesperson for State of Rhode Island’s labor negotiations with Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME, the State of Rhode Island’s largest collective bargaining representative, representing 12,000 State employees as well as the coalition of 17 other bargaining representatives representing other state employees. Successfully negotiated a new three year collective bargaining agreement, which includes a new health insurance plan which will save the State approximately $14,000,000, as well as concessions on seniority rights used for promotions and for the first time language allowing for performance development plans.
  • Representation of State of Rhode Island in collective bargaining negotiations with the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers. Serving as chief negotiator and spokesperson for State’s bargaining team, was able to assist the State in reaching agreement with the union on a three year collective bargaining agreement without the parties needing to go to interest arbitration for the first time in many years. 
  • Successful completion of collective bargaining negotiations with Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council on behalf of Local Union 271, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local No. 99 and Plumbers & Pipefitters Union, Local No. 51. All three contracts were negotiated over a short timeframe with minimal wage and benefit increases.
  • Successful completion of collective bargaining negotiations with New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199, S.E.I.U., which represents the attorneys and the paralegals at Rhode Island Legal Services. The new agreement calls for modest wage increases and concessions in the length of medical and parental leaves granted to bargaining unit members. 
  • Successfully defended grievance arbitration on behalf of one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world which provides gas and electric service to customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. The union representing a design engineer with 22 years of seniority who had been terminated for running an outside business from his company computer sought the employee’s reinstatement, along with back pay and benefits. The arbitrator determined that the employee’s termination was for just cause, and that the employee’s termination, despite the lack of any prior discipline, was justified under the circumstances.
  • Represented same utility in grievance arbitration with United Steelworkers, Local 12431 regarding a 25-year employee discharged for stating that she could have shot her supervisor and later stating that she would like to shoot eight of her ten co-workers. The union sought the employee’s reinstatement, along with back pay and benefits. The arbitrator found that the employee’s termination was for just cause, particularly given that the employee lacked any remorse for causing her supervisors and co-workers to be in fear for their safety.
  • Recently assisted a steel fabricator that had shut down its operations due to its inability to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the union representing its steel fabricators. The company had been shut down for more than 18 months. Bob was able to negotiate an agreement with the union that all but three bargaining unit members from a bargaining unit of over 20 employees would be terminated, negotiated an entirely new collective bargaining agreement with much more favorable management rights language and negotiated concessions in wages and employee benefits. After the terms agreed to by the union were presented to the three remaining bargaining unit members, those employees also resigned, resulting in the employer’s ability to hire an entirely new workforce.
  • Represented a textile manufacturer in Massachusetts that was facing the possible shutdown of its operation due to economic circumstances. Bob developed a strategy for collective bargaining negotiations with the union and represented the employer as the chief spokesperson at the bargaining table. Collective bargaining negotiations were concluded without a work stoppage and the employer achieved its goals, including wage and benefit concessions and strengthening management’s rights as set forth in the collective bargaining agreement.
Seminars / Publications
  • Co-Author, Leave Laws: Rhode Island, Practical Law Labor & Employment, Thomson Reuters, 2018.
  • Co-Author, Independent Contractors: Rhode Island, Practical Law Labor & Employment, Thomson Reuters, 2018.
  • Co-Author, Background Check Laws: Rhode Island, Practical Law Labor & Employment, Thomson Reuters, 2018.
  • Co-Author, Non-Compete Laws: Rhode Island, Practical Law Labor & Employment, Thomson Reuters, 2018.
  • Contributing Editor, Practical Law Company, Rhode Island State Q&A Surveys for the following areas of Labor & Employment Law:
                • Anti-discrimination Laws - July, 2014
                • Leave Laws - July, 2014
                • Leave Policy Language - October, 2013
                • Drug Testing Laws - July, 2013
                • Wage and Hour Laws - August, 2013
                • Non-compete Laws - August, 2013
                • Trade Secret Laws - August, 2013
  • Inside The Minds Series, Complying With Employment Regulations, "Understanding Key New Employment Regulations," Aspatore Books 2012.
Honors
  • Named in 2018 as one of the "Top 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in the Nation" by Lawdragon Magazine and Human Resource Executive.
  • Named in 2012 - 2017 as one of the “Top 20 Most Powerful Labor Attorneys in the Nation” by Lawdragon Magazine and Human Resource Executive.
  • Best Lawyers’ 2012, 2014 and 2019 Lawyer of the Year, Labor Law- Management, Providence.
  • Recognized in the 2006-2018 Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers in the area of Labor and Employment Law.
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2007-2019 editions in the field of Labor and Employment Law.
  • Selected as a Rhode Island Super Lawyer, 2007-2018.
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for attorneys.

SL-brooks

Professional Affiliations
  • Rhode Island Bar Association’s Labor Law Committee, and served as its chair for one year.
  • Member, American Bar Association.
In the Community
  • Immediate Past President, Boys & Girls Club of Providence.
  • Member, East Greenwich Personnel Board.
  • Treasurer, East Greenwich Little League.
  • 2003 Graduate Leadership Rhode Island.
Blog
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