Howard L. Bernstein - Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

Howard L. Bernstein

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2006

Howard L. Bernstein represents employers throughout the U.S. in labor relations and
employment law matters and employment-related litigation, with an emphasis on contract negotiations, arbitrations and injunction proceedings, NLRB election campaigns, unfair labor practice cases and employment discrimination matters. 

From 1970 to 1972, Howard was counsel to the chairman of the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. Later, he served as special outside labor counsel to the city of 
Chicago. In that capacity, he was the chief labor negotiator in the city’s negotiations with all of the unions representing the city’s employees. He has also served as outside labor counsel and chief negotiator for the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Housing Authority.

Howard provides labor and employment counsel on behalf of health care clients and served as chief labor negotiator for a multi-employer association of more than 100 nursing homes.

A member of the American Bar Association Labor Law Section, he was the program chairman of its Committee on Development of the Law under the National Labor Relations Act. He also served as a member of the Labor Relations Council of the Illinois State Bar Association, as well as the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce Human Resources Committee. Howard is Secretary and former Chairman of the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners for the city of Highwood.  He is also a former member of the firm’s Executive Committee.

Howard is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Management Institute and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Howard is a frequent speaker and lecturer on a variety of labor and employment topics, including “Dealing With Unions With Confidence,” “Keys To Effective Enforcement and Administration of Union Contracts,” “Top 10 Ways To Be An Effective Manager of a Unionized Facility,” “10 Steps To Increasing Your Chances of Winning a Union Election,” “What’s a Prospective Purchaser to do About a Seller’s Union Contract?” and “10 Steps to Winning at Arbitration.

Additional Information

Court Admissions U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Experience — Represented worldwide meat packing company in numerous union organizing drives and NLRB unfair labor practice cases, including a multi-plant nationwide corporate campaign involving United Food & Commercial Workers International Union.
  • Served as special labor counsel and chief labor negotiator for the City of Chicago in negotiating union contracts with all unions representing City of Chicago employees, including the SEIU, AFSCME, Coalition of Construction Trades Unions, Firefighters and Fraternal Order of Police.
  • Served as labor counsel to private equity  regarding the labor aspects of acquisitions of businesses, including the negotiating of favorable new union contracts containing substantial changes in work rules, compensation and benefits.
  • Represented nationwide transportation company in multi-city, multi-facility attempt by Teamsters Union to “raid” 1,000 employee bargaining unit from the Machinists Union
  • Represented the Chicago Board of Education in negotiating with the Chicago Teachers Union a new collective bargaining agreement containing a two-year salary freeze, significant increase in teaching time, and the first-ever employee contribution to health care costs.
  • Represented multi-employer association of health care facilities in negotiations with the SEIU for a collective bargaining agreement covering more than 100 facilities and 7,000 employees.
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    University of TexasBBA 1965University of Texas Law SchoolJ.D. 1968

    Client Comments

    "Howard Bernstein is a seasoned veteran who works extremely hard and looks out for what is in the best interest of the company. He is quick to respond when a crisis arises and recommendations are always on the money."

    -Bruce Pautsch
    Vice President Human Resources Operations
    Tyson Fresh Meats

    "I have worked with Howard since 2003 on union contract negotiations and labor law. Howard is just excellent to work with. He is timely, thorough, experienced, and a pleasure to be around. He has given us very good advice and direction over the years. He is both strategic and tactical in his approach."

    -Doyle Tubandt
    Grain Processing Corporation

    "Howard is a seasoned veteran who has seen it all, knows the right answer, and is very structured and committed to the issue and company. He is a top gun in the labor arena."

    -Bruce Pautsch
    Vice President Human Resources Operations
    Tyson Fresh Meats

    Office Location

    Two North LaSalle Street, Suite 1700
    Chicago, IL 60602-3801
    United States

    Practice Areas

    Employment Law - Management
    Labor Law - Management