For 41 years, Bradley Kafka has concentrated his practice in labor and employment law. He represents management in a wide variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, consumer goods, banking, health care, and retail services. Brad is experienced in all aspects of labor and employment law including:

  • Federal and state court litigation
  • Collective bargaining negotiations
  • Defense of union organizing campaigns
  • Defense of discrimination claims
  • Advice pertaining to withdrawal liability and defense of withdrawal liability claims
  • Non-competition and non-solicitation disputes
  • ERISA litigation involving multi-employer pension and welfare plans
  • FLSA and other class and collective actions
  • Restrictive covenants including non-competition, non-solicitation, and nondisclosure agreements 
  • Drafting employee handbooks and employment policies
  • Assisting clients with COVID-19 issues

Brad successfully negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with the United Steel Workers, the Teamsters, and the Oil and Chemical workers, for separate manufacturing employers in which employees were required, for the first time, to make substantial contributions towards health care premiums. He has also defended publicly traded companies in disputes over funding deficiencies and withdrawal liability with multi-employer pension plans. He has defended employers in federal and state court cases involving claims under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and ERISA.

Brad is a frequent lecturer on labor, employment, and ERISA topics before business groups and trade associations.

  • Litigated a Fair Labor Standards Act class and collective action in United States District Court for a large privately owned home health care company. The plaintiff and opt in plaintiffs sought a national class of employees who allegedly had not been paid for traveling between locations or otherwise had not been paid overtime. Following informal discovery, there was no conditional certification and the matter was settled for small payments (less than $1,000 each) to the five plaintiffs and a small payment to the attorneys for the putative class.
  • Negotiated separate collective bargaining agreements with unions representing theatrical stagehands and musicians. Both collective bargaining agreements contained wage increases that were below the level sought by the unions and also below the level contained in previous collective bargaining agreements.
  • Litigated a matter involving ten large employers and a Delaware pension fund. The result was a landmark agreement approved by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation ("PBGC") in which employers in the building and construction industry can continue working in the same geographic area without paying withdrawal liability, notwithstanding a contrary provision in ERISA.  This case also involved a separate, but related, funding deficiency lawsuit which was dismissed. 
  • Obtained a declaratory judgment and an injunction on behalf of a client in a case involving conflicting claims of work jurisdiction. Along with numerous employers and unions, the client was signatory to a project labor agreement. This case set the parameters for resolving jurisdictional disputes under the project labor agreement and other similar agreements involving the same large owner.
  • Negotiated a provision in a collective bargaining agreement to eliminate the employer’s participation in a multi-employer defined benefit plan and to instead place the bargaining members in the employer’s defined contribution plan. The negotiation also involved withdrawal from the multi-employer pension plan and negotiation of withdrawal liability. The collective bargaining agreement provision was negotiated without a strike.
  • On behalf of a group of contractors, litigated a case in which the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations used an incorrect formula for establishing the prevailing wage. Successfully litigated the case in Circuit Court and in the Missouri Court of Appeals – Western District. Established a methodology for how the prevailing wage is determined in Missouri.
  • Litigated an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case in which a multi-employer pension fund claimed the client was obligated to pay contributions on behalf of employees of other local unions who traveled into the area despite the client having already made such contributions to the pension funds of those traveling employees. Established precedent regarding reciprocity agreements among fringe benefit funds.
  • On behalf of a business client in the software industry, successfully obtained a multimillion dollar jury verdict against a publicly traded corporation for misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Defeated an effort to certify a class of employers in Madison County, Ill. The plaintiffs had alleged violations of state overtime laws. When the class was not certified, the plaintiff dismissed its lawsuit against the client.
  • Defended a consolidated case filed by two employees who had been terminated by a subsidiary of a large publicly traded company. The employees each alleged that they had been terminated due to their disabilities. Obtained a summary judgment on behalf of the client and against the plaintiff employees on all counts.
  • On behalf of a private, family owned business, enforced an agreement containing non-competition and non-solicitation provisions that established new law in Missouri.
  • Obtained an injunction against a construction industry union that was picketing six separate worksites of a large construction employer. The injunction forced cessation of picketing and allowed the contractor to resume working at its projects.
  • On behalf of a client that had sold its business to another unrelated entity, obtained a dismissal of a lawsuit by a multi-employer pension plan in which the plan attempted to assess withdrawal liability against the client.
  • Drafted an employee handbook for an employer that operates in all 50 states. The handbook contained variations appropriate for each state in which the employer operates.
  • Drafted and helped implement an Affirmative Action Plan for an employer that entered into contracts with the federal government, several state governments, and many local governmental entities.
  • After a lengthy hearing in federal court, obtained an injunction in favor of employer and against a union that had insisted that it would only sign a pattern collective bargaining agreement formulated by its international union. After this successful result, the union ended its strike against the employer and was required to negotiate the terms of the bargaining agreement.
  • Represented client during a union organizing campaign. The client later learned that at the time the Petition for Election was filed, 70% of its employees had signed union authorization cards. Lead all aspects of the client’s campaign. Among other things, assisted the client by preparing numerous speeches, talking points and leaflets. Interacted exclusively with the National Labor Relations Board throughout the pre-election and election process. The election was conducted within four weeks of the time the Petition for Election was filed, and the client won the election by a vote of 87 to 36. The union did not file any election objections or unfair labor practice charges. 
  • Filed a petition for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction against a former employee and his new employer. The former employee had significant customer contacts and was attempting to move large amounts of business to his new employer. Successfully obtained a TRO followed by a preliminary injunction, and then a permanent injunction that prevented the employee and the new employer from contacting the client’s customers or doing business with those customers.
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Co-Author, Polsinelli At Work Blog
March 11, 2021
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October 22, 2018
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April 25, 2018
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Polsinelli at Work Blog
November 30, 2017
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St. Louis Public Radio
February 10, 2017
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Stay Tuned: Right To Work Broadcast
nineNetwork of Public Media
February 3, 2017
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January 12, 2017
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August 31, 2016
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Polsinelli At Work Blog
April 12, 2016
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November 19, 2015
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