About Us

Jeffrey Natke, Labor Relations Attorney & General Manager, received his B.A. in History from Alma College and his law degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Michigan State University.  In law school, Jeff earned Achievement Awards for both Labor Arbitration and Sports Law, and served as Editor on the Michigan State Law Review. He was an intern with the U.S. Army JAG Corps, and an extern for a Michigan Supreme Court Justice.  Jeff later practiced labor and employment law in Las Vegas, prior to moving to California, where he has been representing public sector labor unions since 2009.

Mary LaPlante, Managing Labor Representative, worked for 16 years in public agencies in California, including several years as a Manager in the County of San Bernardino.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of La Verne with a B.S. degree in Public Administration and has over 30 years of experience as a Labor Relations Representative on the “union side.”  Mary’s special area of expertise is contract negotiations.  She has served as chief negotiator in dozens of cities and special districts and has proven experience in representing members in grievances, PERB hearings, and disciplinary appeals.

Vicky Barker, Labor Relations Attorney , received her B.A. in Political Science, Magna Cum Laude, from UC San Diego and her law degree from the University of California, Davis. In law school, she was an Editor on the U.C. Davis Law Review. Vicky has been representing public employees for more than 25 years and specializes in contract negotiations, disciplinary hearings and has arbitrated over 100 association grievances. Named one of the top women litigators by California’s legal newspaper, Vicky has dedicated her career to pursuing justice for workers and their families.

Nikita “Nik” Soukonnikov, JD, Labor Representative, received his B.A. from Bard College, and his law degree magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. Nik worked as a union organizer before law school, helping employees at public and private agencies form unions and negotiate labor contracts. During law school, he specifically represented victims of employment discrimination and wage theft, in state and federal courts.  Nik emphasizes his goal which is to “expand the rights of the average employee” through contract negotiations, and individual and group grievances

John Dalrymple, Labor Representative,  graduated from Antioch University with a degree in Labor Studies, but says his real education was the bargaining table, building strong unions and in helping to elect good working family champions into public office. John has represented employees in city, county, state and “special district” jurisdictions.  Later, he worked as a Staff Director for a division of a large health care local. For several years he was Director of the Contra Costa Labor Council, a coalition of dozens of unions with over 70,000 members. John’s 35 years in labor relations has given him extensive knowledge in organizing, negotiations and contract enforcement.

Naomi Demsas, JD, Labor Representative, received her B.A. in American Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz and her law degree from Suffolk University Law School. Naomi has over ten years of experience within the labor movement including a long tenure at Jobs with Justice National office before starting law school. In law school, Naomi participated in the Peggy Browning Fellowship program and spent her summers working for AFT-Michigan in Detroit and International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Washington D.C. After law school, Naomi has continued to advocate on behalf of working people in different roles and capacities including working in labor side law firm, unions and workers rights organizations.

Justin Adrian, JD, Labor Representative, received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri and his law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law. Justin completed an apprenticeship and worked as a union pipefitter out of UA Local 101 which motivated him to pursue a law degree to become a labor advocate. During law school, Justin participated in the Peggy Browning Fellowship program and spent a summer working for the Chicago News Guild. Justin is focused on using his union background and labor-focused law degree to protect and advance workers’ rights in the rapidly changing workplace.

Laura Holtan, Labor Relations Attorney, received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and her law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, with a concentration in Social Justice Lawyering. In law school, she participated in the Workers’ Rights Clinic and Mediation Clinic, and volunteered with Bay Area Legal Aid’s Consumer Law Unit. After law school, she worked as a city employee for several years as a policy and legislative staffer for Oakland City Council and as a legal fellow for the Palo Alto City Attorney’s Office. Laura is dedicated to using her public sector and legal background to advocate on behalf of city employees and their labor organizations.

Mindy Garland, Labor Relations Attorney, received her B.A. in Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz and her law degree from Case Western Reserve University Law School. Mindy has over eight years of experience fighting in the labor movement. Before law school, Mindy worked as a union organizer, where she unionized workplaces and fought for family sustainable jobs. During law school, Mindy was a Peggy Browning Fellow at UNITE Here and a legal extern for the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor. After law school, she worked at the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, creating and fighting for worker-side policies and worker justice. Mindy believes that every worker deserves a workplace free from discrimination, where they are respected and valued.

Eric Lindemier, Labor Representative, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science/Public Administration from Michigan State University in 1986. Eric has 30 years of experience as a Labor Relations Representative working for the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union/Healthcare Michigan, American Federation of Teachers/Michigan and the Michigan Conference of Teamsters Welfare Fund. He brings a broad range of skill and expertise as a contract negotiator, contract enforcement specialist and unique problem solver.  Eric has served as first chair for over 50 public and private employee labor negotiations, resolved hundreds of grievances and designed health care benefits for union members throughout the United States. In Michigan, Eric chaired the Operations Committee of the Oakland Community Health Network which has an annual budget exceeding $350 Million and provides Public Mental Health Services. 

Carlos Almendárez, Labor Relations Attorney, received his B.A. in History with Distinction in General Scholarship from UC Berkeley and his law degree from UCLA. At UCLA, Carlos was Class President and a graduate of the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. Additionally, Carlos was a legal extern for the Honorable Harry Pregerson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as well as a full-time legal extern at the National Labor Relations Board. Carlos gained in-house union experience as a Senior Labor Representative at one of the largest public-sector unions in California where he provided representation during formal hearings in arbitrations pertaining to high-level discipline and contractual disputes. During this time Carlos was elected by his peers to the bargaining team where he gained first-hand experience in contract bargaining and negotiations. Carlos has also worked at union-side labor law firms dedicated to exclusively representing unions, working people, and employee benefit plans.