Patrick Szymanski

General Counsel, Change to Win

Patrick J. Szymanski is General Counsel for Change to Win, an alliance of seven Unions representing 6 million members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.  The seven unions are the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, the Service Employees International Union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the United Farm Workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE HERE.

Pat was raised in Detroit, Michigan, where his father was a professional football player, an elected state official and later a state court judge.  His father is a member of the Polish Sports Hall of Fame and in 2007 was selected as a member of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog Football Hall Fame.  His mother was a Detroit public school teacher and editor of The Polish World, a bilingual newspaper published in Hamtramck, Michigan.  Pat attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dropped out in the late 60’s and later received his undergraduate degree from Wayne State University where he majored in mathematics.  He received his law degree from Wayne State University Law School in 1976.

He was a lawyer in the Enforcement Division of the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., from 1976 through 1978 and again from 1983 through 1988 where he briefed and argued cases before the United States District Courts and Courts of Appeal and briefed cases before the United States Supreme Court.

From 1978 through 1983 he was attorney with the San Francisco office of Beeson, Tayer & Bodine where he advised and represented Teamsters Local Unions and Joint Councils in Northern California, other labor organizations and related benefit funds in negotiations, internal affairs, arbitration cases and proceedings before various state and federal agencies and courts.  From 1988 through 2002 he was an attorney and partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Baptiste & Wilder where he continued the practice of labor law representing primarily Teamster affiliates, related benefit funds and individual officers and members.

Pat became counsel to the Campaign of James P. Hoffa for presidency of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in late 1995 and represented the Campaign throughout the 1996 Election, at the 1996 Teamsters International Convention, and in litigation that led to the 1998 Teamsters Rerun Election.  He was named Teamsters General Counsel by General President Hoffa in March 1999 and served in that position until late 2005 when he became General Counsel to Change to Win.

He is a member of the bar in Michigan, California and the District of Columbia, the bar of the United States Supreme Court, and the bars of several federal district and appellate courts.

  • JD, Wayne State University Law School
  • BA, Wayne State University

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Publications and Multimedia
The Employee Free Choice Act
Online Debate
June 01, 2009