David Rosenfeld Named 2014 Honoree by Peggy Browning Fund

Several hundred labor activists, union lawyers, and labor arbitrators gathered last week in San Francisco to honor Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld partner David Rosenfeld, distinguished labor law professor Joseph R. Grodin, and SEIU—United Service Workers West President Mike Garcia for their lifetime contributions to the Labor Movement. The Peggy Browning Fund, an organization devoted to recruiting new lawyers to work for Labor’s cause, paid tribute to the three leaders at its annual West Coast fundraising dinner.  In 2013, the Fund, named for a labor lawyer who served as a pro-worker member of the National Labor Relations Board, supported 71 highly qualified law students who spent their summer working for unions, the NLRB, the Department of Labor, and union-side law firms.

David received his B.A. from Brown University, where he was active in the student movement.  After teaching for four years and repeatedly getting in trouble, David decided to learn the trade of lawyering to advance progressive causes.  David then attended law school in Berkeley, California at Boalt Hall (now Berkeley Law) where he found that labor law was his true calling.

In 1973, David joined the Van Bourg law firm and is now a partner in Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld, succeeding the Van Bourg firm, in Alameda, California.  He quickly became a trusted advisor to many unions known for his creative use of the law on behalf of workers and their collective efforts to challenge corporate power.  He has devised legal strategies that have resulted in numerous victories—both in the courtroom and on the picket line.

David is a frequent presenter to union groups on diverse issues such as use of wage and hour laws to organize, the Family Medical Leave Act, expressive activity and boycotting, service as a steward, and officer training.  David is widely known for his presentation on “Offensive Bargaining” and his book of the same name.

David has taught at Berkeley Law since 2005, where he developed and taught a seminar entitled “Representing Low Wage Workers.”  He has also taught the basic Labor Law Course and developed seminars entitled “The Law of Organizing Workers” and “Current Topics in Employment and Labor Law.”  He has also taught at Hastings College of the Law.  Many of his students have gone on to legal careers dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights.

Recently, David co-authored a book entitled “California Workers’ Rights” published by the Institute for Research on Labor Employment, U.C. Berkeley, and its recent 2013 supplement. This manual of job rights, protections, and remedies lays out the federal and state laws governing California workplaces in a style that is free of legal jargon and is designed to be a handbook that Union representatives and stewards will find valuable in their everyday work representing workers.

David was pleased to be honored at the same time as Mike Garcia and the Hon. Joseph R. Grodin.  Mike Garcia has lead a life of action and service on behalf of working people in California.  He is renowned for his success in leading the Justice for Janitors campaign that successfully organized janitors cleaning the Silicon Valley headquarters of Oracle, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and others and later forging a statewide union for property services workers, SEIU United Service Workers West with a membership of close to 40,000.

Joseph Grodin practiced union labor law, became a labor law professor, served on the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court, and is recognized as one of the foremost scholars on the development of public sector labor law.  He is now a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Hastings College of the Law, where he has taught labor and employment law as well as constitutional law.

By Ted Franklin | February 18, 2014

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