Peter H. Peterson

Pete Peterson leads the firm’s employment and labor practice area as it relates to public employers.  He has extensive experience in matters of collective bargaining, disabilities and accommodation, employment discrimination, labor arbitration and ADR, union management relations, wage and hour law, and workplace harassment.

Mr. Peterson has represented municipalities such as cities, counties, townships and villages as labor and employment counsel in an ongoing capacity for more than 28 years. Current clients include Allegan County, Kent County, Washtenaw County, the City of Wyoming, the City of Kentwood, the City of East Grand Rapids, the City of Holland, the City of St. Joseph, the Holland Board of Public Works, Herrick District Library, the Village of Lake Odessa, Ada Township, the Central County Transportation Authority, the Macatawa Area Express Transportation Authority, and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority.

Pete takes a preventive approach, counseling employers through the hiring process, employment terminations, misconduct investigations, reductions in force, employee handbooks, personnel policies and various disciplinary issues.

Wage and hour law is just one area in which he provides clear, practical and authoritative advice, tracking developments under federal and state legislation to ensure that a client’s practices do not run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act and state statutes.  Pete also has significant experience working with employers on issues related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  He provides clear direction on eligibility, written notices, medical certifications, second opinions and how to work with health care providers.

Mr. Peterson has extensive experience in the areas of collective bargaining, grievance arbitration, unfair labor practice charges and other proceedings before the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, and a wide variety of general labor relations and employment issues involving subjects such as civil rights laws, FOIA, OMA, and unemployment benefits.

During his nearly three decades as a labor attorney in the public sector, Pete has engaged in frequent and significant work relating to public safety agencies.  He has negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements on behalf of public employers covering supervisory and non-supervisory police officers, sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers, firefighters/EMS, and dispatchers.  He has represented employers in a wide variety of grievance arbitration, MERC, and court cases in connection with those types of employees.  He has specific and in-depth familiarity with cross-trained, unified police/fire/EMS public safety operations.

Pete has also prepared and tried many cases under Act 312, Michigan’s compulsory interest arbitration statute, involving all types of eligible public safety employees and a wide spectrum of non-economic and economic issues, and disputes concerning comparable communities and the employer’s financial status/ability to pay.  In addition, he has also pursued and defended actions seeking judicial review of Act 312 awards.