Part of Mike Blum’s effectiveness as a litigator in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and as a counselor to employers comes from his 11 years with the National Labor Relations Board. Mike primarily focuses on Michigan labor and employment law and has litigated some of the state's most important cases. He went to work for the NLRB as a field examiner right out of college and became an NLRB trial attorney in 1987, when he finished law school and was admitted to the bar. Mike works in the firm's Southfield office.
Mike focuses his practice in five areas:
- Labor law. Counsels and represents employers in all kinds of labor matters, including negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, grievance processing, mediation and arbitration, development and implementation of union campaigns and matters before the NLRB. This includes election and unfair labor practice proceedings.
- Employment law for private employers: Helps in compliance with state and federal statutes affecting private-sector employers in Michigan and defense of claims before federal and state agencies.
- Employment law for public employers. Works with municipalities, road commissions, public schools and state courts in legal matters involving public employees. This includes defense of claims before governmental agencies.
- Handles high-stakes cases at the trial court and appellate levels. In 2009, for example, Mike prevailed in a precedent-setting claim before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which reversed a federal district court's denial of costs and attorneys' fees under the Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injunction Act.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution. Has represented employers in arbitrations and as an advocate and mediator. He’s a recognized arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association's Neutral Employment Panel and a recognized mediator on the American Arbitration Association's Roster of Mediators.
He’s a prolific author and is frequently invited to speak on complex labor and employment issues. Mike has written dozens of articles for leading organizations and publications. He recently assisted in revising the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring to Termination Guide. He has spoken on a wide range of key topics, including how to handle email communications and the significance of the amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as other state and federal rules and regulations.
Honors & Recognitions
AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell
Best Lawyers in America® 2013-2021 (Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management)
Michigan Super Lawyers Employment and Labor, 2009-2019
dBusiness Magazine 2021 Top Lawyer in Labor and Employment Law
dBusiness Magazine 2020 Top Lawyer in Labor and Employment Law
dBusiness Magazine 2019 Top Lawyer in Labor and Employment Law
dBusiness Magazine 2010 Top Lawyer
Memberships & Affiliations
- Michigan State Bar Association, fellow
- Macomb County Bar Association
- Oakland County Bar Association
- Labor/Employment Case Evaluator, Macomb County Circuit Court
Industry & Professional Associations:
- American Arbitration Association
- Employment Panel, arbitrator
- Roster of Mediators, member
- National Labor Relations Board, Practice and Procedures Committee
- Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA)
- Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- Chamber of Commerce, Macomb Chapter
- St. Clair Shores Hockey Association, Board of Governors
- Harrison Township Planning Commission
- Mike has recently successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements with various unions, including the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, the Michigan Association of Fire Fighters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of American, the Police Officers Association of Michigan, the Command Officers of Michigan, and the Michigan Nurses Association. By way of example, negotiations for a public sector employer completed in 2015 resulted in an almost 50% reduction in Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability and significant reduction in retiree health insurance costs.
- Mike has successfully defended class action litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and related state wage and hour laws in Michigan, Illinois, New York and Ohio. He is currently defending class action litigation involving the employment status of cosmetology students in Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee.
- In 2014, Mike was part of a trial team that won a 10-day jury trial in federal court. Mike represented one of the world's leading manufacturers of custom sporting equipment, claiming its former production manager and a retail sales agent unlawfully opened a competing business. A unanimous jury awarded damages on claims of unfair competition, breach of duty of loyalty, breach of fiduciary duty, civil conspiracy and false designation or origin.
- In December 2009, Mike won a precedent-setting case of first impression in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. It reversed a federal district court's denial of costs and attorneys' fees under the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which were incurred in obtaining dissolution of an ex parte temporary restraining order that a union had improvidently obtained ex parte from a state circuit court judge.
- Mike assisted in closing a client's business operations, which included issuance of notices under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and negotiation of a plant closing agreement with the union. This matter also involved COBRA continuation notification and compliance issues.
- In June 2008, Mike successfully defended a client in a lawsuit filed by an ex-employee alleging sex and age discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Elliott-Larsen. Summary judgment was granted by District Judge Bernard A. Friedman.
- Mike successfully defended clients in a lawsuit filed by an ex-employee alleging sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual stereotyping under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Summary judgment was granted in February 2002 by Macomb County Circuit Court Judge James Biernat and upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Recent Blog Posts
Michigan Labor & Employment Law Blog
- The Pro-Union PRO Act passes the U.S. House of Representatives
- Supreme Court to Determine Whether Employees in Michigan can Secretly Record Conversations
- Part Two: What You Need to Know Before Conducting a Workplace Investigation in Michigan
- Part Two: Stay on the Right Side of the Law When Conducting Job Candidate Background Checks
- Part One: What You Need to Know Before Conducting a Workplace Investigation in Michigan
- Part One: Stay on the Right Side of the Law When Conducting Job Candidate Background Checks
- Legal Pitfalls and Best Practices During the Hiring Process
- The End is Here…How to End the Employment Relationship
- Conflict at Work: Is it Harassment or is it Bullying?
- The Consequences of Misclassifying an Employee as an Independent Contractor
- Update MIOSHA Emergency Rules in the Workplace, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, May 25, 2021
- Michigan Employers Permitted to Resume In-Person Work May 24, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, May 11, 2021
- MIOSHA COVID-19 Emergency Rules for Employers Extended for Six Months, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, April 14, 2021
- Governor Whitmer Signs Extension of Unemployment Benefits into Law and Other COVID-19-Related Legislation, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, October 23, 2020
- How Do Recent Michigan Supreme Court and MDHHS Orders Regarding COVID-19 Impact Employers?, Foster Swift Legal Update E-blast, October 6, 2020
- Guide to Bringing Back Workers and Resuming Operations for Michigan Municipalities, July 29, 2020
News & Events
- Hot Employment Law Topics for HR Teams in 2021, Foster Swift, February 25, 2021
- Employer Accommodations During and After COVID-19, ASE HR Comply 2020, December 2, 2020
- Now That the Stay at Home Order is Lifted, What do Municipalities Need to Know?, Michigan Municipal League, June 8, 2020
- Employer Guidance for a Lawful and Safe Re-Opening, Foster Swift, May 27, 2020
- Responding to Workplace Violence: Harassment or Bullying, Foster Swift, October 17, 2018
- National Labor Relations Board Updates, Foster Swift: Developing Labor Law Update, May 9, 2018
- Foster Swift in dbusiness 2021 Top Lawyers, dbusiness, November 12, 2020
- When Employees Need to Home School, Material Handling & Logistics (MH&L), September 10, 2020
- Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2021 Best Lawyers in America©, August 20, 2020
- Foster Swift Attorneys Listed in dbusiness 2020 Top Lawyers, November 12, 2019
- 23 Attorneys Selected to 2019 Michigan Super Lawyers and “Rising Stars”, Automation Alley, September 3, 2019
- 42 Foster Swift Attorneys Listed as Best Lawyers® 2020, August 15, 2019
- Three Foster Swift Attorneys Named to dbusiness 2019 Top Lawyers, November 14, 2018
Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1986, cum laude
Michigan State University, B.A., 1978, Personnel Administration, with High Honors
Bar and Court Admissions
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals