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Andrew Kramer is always on the road. In fact, he says, he’s out of town about 60 percent of the time representing clients on both coasts — in the courtroom and at the bargaining table. “If you’re a traditional labor lawyer, Washington may be the home of the [National Labor Relations Board], but it’s not the home of the problem,” he says. But 59-year-old Kramer is not complaining. Indeed, he considers himself lucky, because he’s still a busy player in the shrinking bar that handles labor disputes, collective bargaining, and NLRB matters. According to his clients, including the General Motors Corp., Knight Ridder Inc., Gannett Company Inc., the HR Policy Association, and General Mills, Kramer is a savvy negotiator. “His preparation, litigation, and negotiation skills are absolutely top-notch,” says Marshall Anstandig, general counsel of Knight Ridder. Not only that, “he’s fun to work with.” Kramer got his start at labor firm Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago after he graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1969. Labor was an attractive practice, Kramer says, because he was able to work on matters that have an immediate impact on people’s lives. “In labor law, at least traditional labor law, you get to see things to a close, generally without waiting many years,” he explains. Kramer took a leave of absence from Seyfarth in 1973 when Illinois Gov. Dan Walker asked him to head up the state’s Office of Collective Bargaining. He returned to Seyfarth in 1974, and in 1977 came to Washington to head up the firm’s office here. But in 1983, Kramer was offered the chance to build Cleveland-based Jones Day’s national labor and employment practice. He jumped at the offer and took a handful of lawyers with him. Today, the practice, headed by top labor attorney Willis Goldsmith, counts more than 100 lawyers. In 1995, Kramer successfully sued President Bill Clinton on behalf of the Bridgestone Corp. after the president issued an executive order barring companies that hire permanent striker replacements from federal contracts, during a bitter Bridgestone strike. “It was a very vitriolic dispute,” he says. Kramer has represented Virginia-based Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. in the “battleground of unions in the South,” as he calls it. He helped shepherd the company through contentious negotiations with unions, including the United Steelworkers of America, and through a tense four-month strike in 1999. Kramer also represented General Motors during the 1998 United Auto Workers strike, a bitter, two-month dispute that cost the company about $2 billion and workers $1 billion in lost wages. He represented the Detroit Newspaper Agency, jointly held by media companies Knight Ridder and Gannett, during the Detroit newspaper strike of the late 1990s. Knight Ridder’s Anstandig says Kramer’s genius is in his ability to effectively communicate with different types of people, “whether it’s the head of an agency or a second-year law student.” “That’s a real art form,” says Anstandig.

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