An accomplished labor and employment lawyer with over 25 years of experience, Tom’s practice includes counseling clients on labor and employment issues in business transactions, international employment issues, and traditional labor matters.

During the last two years, Tom has provided employment and labor advice on more than 100 transactions. Those matters, which include mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, involve employment issues in the U.S. and abroad. With his extensive international experience, Tom is sought after by clients outside the United States for advice on U.S. labor and employment laws, as well as by U.S. clients for his counsel on international employment matters in regions as diverse as South America, Europe, and the Far East.

Tom also advises employers on union relations and assists them on collective bargaining negotiations. His labor work has been under both the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act. Tom’s labor clients include international airlines; oil, gas, and chemical companies; and hospitals and other healthcare employers.

Tom is V&E’s Employment, Labor and OSHA Practice Group Leader.

Representative Experience

International Labor Law

  • Assisted several non-U.S. clients in the start of their operations in the United States; the clients originated from countries such as Mexico, Peru, Denmark, and the Netherlands; the industries involved included offshore drilling, pipelines, food, and shipping
  • Represented within the past two years clients headquartered in the United States which were either opening or closing operations in South America, Europe, the Middle East, including Israel and Iraq, and the Far East including China
  • Co-author of  a chapter on Norwegian labor and employment law for the ABA’s International Labor Law Treatise
  • Represented a Belgium company sued in Texas state court by Belgian employee alleging various contract and tort claims relating to stock options in the Belgian company’s U.S. parent; the Texas Supreme Court reversed lower court rulings that the case could proceed in Texas state court and dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction
  • Advised international oil company on employment matters involved in disposition of refinery in Aruba
  • Trained managers of Chinese company on international labor law issues
  • Advised U.S. communications company on employment matters in the establishment and reorganization of businesses in India, Austria, and France

Business Transactions

  • Representing Houston-based Continental Airlines in its agreed merger with UAL Corp’s United Airlines, in a deal estimated to be worth more than $3 billion
  • Since January 1, 2007, provided employment and labor advice to clients on more than 100 transactions; these transactions were in numerous different industries including pipelines, alternative energy, health care, and oil and gas exploration
  • In two transactions, advised the client on the proper handling and organization of employment and labor matters in the context of a transaction that involved employees in 25 different countries with unions representing those employees in five different countries
  • Advised and negotiated on labor and employment matters for Plains Pipeline Company in its purchase of pipeline assets in the U.S. and Canada
  • Advised energy company on employment matters in merger of gas gathering and processing business with another energy company’s gas gathering and processing business
  • Advised Duke Energy on employment matters in purchase of Canadian company with assets in the U.S.

Traditional Labor Law

  • Represented airlines, both domestic and international, on matters pertaining to contract negotiations and other labor issues under the Railroad Labor Act; represented airline clients in these matters before the Railroad Labor Commission, federal courts, and other government agencies including the IRS
  • For clients with union represented employees who were either closing or mothballing plants, advised and represented these clients in labor negotiations, and in defense of charges of unfair labor practices, equal employment claims, and claims for benefits under ERISA

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Education and Professional Background

  • University of Tennessee, J.D. with high honors, 1985
  • Drake University, B.A. Journalism cum laude, 1982
  • Admitted to practice: Texas, 1985; United States Supreme Court; Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Western, and Southern Districts of Texas

Professional Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America® in labor and employment law, 2003 – 2006, 2008 – 2014
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers in labor and employment law, 2006 – 2014
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers, 2003 – 2004, 2006 – 2013

Activities and Affiliations

  • Member: American Bar Association, Committees on International Labor and Employment Law and OSHA, Labor Relations Advisory Committee; American Health Lawyers Association; Interamerican Bar Association
  • Elected to the National Executive Board of the U.S. Branch of the International Society for Labor and Social Security Law, 2009

Publications and Presentations

  • «International Labor and Employment Law Update: Summer 2014,» V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, July 8, 2014 (co-author)
  • «International Labor and Employment Law Update: Spring 2014,» V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, March 11, 2014 (co-author)
  • «International Labor and Employment Law Update: Fall 2013,» V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, November 20, 2013 (co-author)
  • «Managing the Worldwide Energy Workforce,» World Oil, June 2013
  • «Recent and Future Developments in the Energy Work Place,» V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, March 6, 2013 (co-author)
  • «Best Practices for Transferring U.S. Employees Overseas,» Practical Law The Journal, February 12, 2010
  • A chapter on Norwegian labor and employment law for the ABA’s International Labor Law Treatise (co-author)
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