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Charles S. Birenbaum serves as the firm’s Chair of Northern California. Chuck is an experienced labor and employment attorney who focuses his practice on traditional labor and employment law matters, and has wide-ranging experience litigating in state and federal courts as well as various administrative agencies. He has testified on proposed legislation impacting entire industries before state legislative committees, and has interfaced and negotiated with labor organizations, politicians, regulators, and industry leaders to resolve complex issues for his clients in the health care, energy, construction and other industries.

Chuck is an experienced trial lawyer, having tried race harassment class actions, noncompetition trials, unfair labor practice hearings before the National Labor Relations Board, and multiple arbitrations. His appellate work includes decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit under the National Labor Relations Act, Labor Management Relations Act, and the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act.

In the area of traditional labor law, Chuck has a broad array of experience in collective bargaining, union organizing and trust fund litigation for employers in the construction, energy, health care, manufacturing, and service industries. He has first chaired collective bargaining for all bargaining units at a health care system; first chaired collective bargaining over a bargaining unit of registered nurses at a dialysis provider; first chaired collective bargaining for construction agreements covering billions of dollars of heavy infrastructure development; and first chaired collective bargaining for a steel manufacturer and fabricator.

Chuck has been honored by numerous organizations for his labor and employment practice. Since 2013, he has continuously been listed with Chambers USA Guide for his work in labor and employment law, as well as being listed as one of the nation’s top 100 most powerful employment lawyers with Human Resources Executive® magazine each year. Chuck is also recognized by The Legal 500 United States for both Labor-Management Relations and Labor and Employment Disputes – Defense.


  • Labor and employment class actions
  • Traditional labor law
  • Appellate advocacy
  • Employment law advice, counseling and training
  • Unfair competition, restrictive covenants and trade secrets



  • Acted as lead trial counsel for the defendants in Adams et al. v. Pinole Point Steel Company et al. (No. C-92-1962MHP, N.D.Cal. September 26, 2012). The Federal District Court for the Northern District of California’s Judge Marilyn Hall Patel rendered a defense judgment with a 66-page opinion for a group of steel companies in a race harassment class action certified by the court over 15 years ago. The court noted that the class certification was probably unwarranted based on the trial record and the class counsel did not appeal the judgment.°
  • Represented an employer in a noncompetition trial in California Superior Court under Cal. B&P Code 17200 et seq.°
  • Represented employers in multiple unfair labor practice hearings before the National Labor Relations Board.°
  • Represented a sole-source community provider of health care by analyzing its work force and recommending work force restructuring to modernize its employment architecture and respond to the new PPACA legislation. This resulted in extensive collective bargaining over nurse, technical and service and maintenance workers and representation in all ensuring unfair labor practice litigation and arbitration. The employer was able to implement needed work force changes.°
  • Represented a leading provider of on-board entertainment for a cruise and event company in a wage and hour class action in California, which included allegations of failure to pay overtime and expense reimbursement violations.°
  • Represented a blood dialysis center in connection with unfair labor practices charges before the NLRB brought by UFCW Local 262 of New Jersey. Charges arose out of its attempt to become the exclusive collective bargaining representative of licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and other employees. The union alleged that the employer violated federal labor laws by terminating two and threatening other employees. Termination-related charges were dismissed and the union withdrew the remaining charges.°
  • Represented the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in a class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA. Won summary judgment on the pleadings that a plaintiff could not bring that type of action under Title I of ERISA.°

°The above representations were handled by Mr. Birenbaum prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Reconocimientos y Liderazgo

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Labor & Employment Law - Management, 2007-2024
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, Labor & Employment Law, 2013-2023
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States
    • Labor and Employment - Labor-Management Relations, 2016-2017, 2019-2023
      • "Leading Lawyer," 2023
    • Labor and Employment - Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions) - Defense, 2019
  • Listed, Benchmark Litigation, "Labor & Employment Star," 2020-2024
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Northern California Super Lawyers, 2004-2023
  • Listed, Lawdragon 500, Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers, 2020-2024
  • Listed, Lawdragon and Human Resources Executive® magazine, "The Nation's Most Powerful Employment Lawyers - Top 100," 2013-2019
  • Listed, The Daily Journal, "Top Labor and Employment Attorneys in California," 2016
  • Listed, The Daily Journal, "Top 75 Labor Attorneys in California," 2013-2016
  • Team Member, Law360, "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2013
  • Board Member, Board of Trustees, Oberlin College, 2014-Present
  • Board Member, California Chamber of Commerce, 2017-Present
    • Chair, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, 2021-Present
  • Member, Oberlin College, President’s Advisory Council, 2011-2014
  • Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association, Employment Law Panel
  • Chair and Board Member, Georgetown University Law Center, National Law Alumni Board
  • Member, Bar Association of San Francisco
    • Board Member, Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco, 2013-2016
  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Past Adjunct Professor, Santa Clara University Law School
  • Past President, Lawyers Club of San Francisco


  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
  • B.A., Government, with honors, Oberlin College
Con licencia para ejercer en
  • California