Robert Mulcahy Photo

Robert W. Mulcahy



Rob is a skilled negotiator whose practice includes both public and private sector management labor and employment law. His work includes National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings, collective bargaining, contract administration and arbitration proceedings.

Rob also has extensive experience working on employment discrimination matters and wage and hour claims. He helps clients tackle tough issues, including:

  • Union elections and right to work
  • Severance agreements
  • Health insurance issues
  • Title IX
  • Investigations and complex employment issues
  • Collective bargaining
  • Succession planning
  • Boardsmanship and open meeting law
  • Employee handbooks, policies, and procedures

As an advocate for employers, Rob is regularly called on to resolve complex and challenging cases. He prides himself on collaborative resolutions, often partnering with clients to resolve extensive road blocks to success. 

Rob has extensive experience with unionized work environments, especially as they relate to public and private institutions of higher education. In addition to collective bargaining, discrimination, and other labor issues, he works on matters relating to student/faculty discipline and codes of conduct, regulatory and program compliance issues, and drafting policies and handbooks for students and staff.

Rob also acts as general counsel for Districts Mutual Insurance Company, dealing with a wide variety of issues involving the Wisconsin Technical College System. Prior to joining Michael Best, he worked as a trial lawyer and Hearing Examiner with the NLRB in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin regional office.


Private sector know-how

When the AFL-CIO asserted that Licensed Practical Nurses at a health care facility were improperly acting as supervisors, Rob helped his client secure a favorable ruling that the “Employer has met its burden of establishing that these licensed practical nurses possess the authority, in the interest of the Employer, to both reward and discipline, or to effectively recommend such action, using independent judgment, in more than a merely routine or clerical nature.” In short, the nurses were acting as supervisors and could not be involved in any union organizing efforts. The NLRB invalidated the authorization cards and the union withdrew its election petition.

Skilled labor negotiator

When the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local No. 18 accused Rob’s client of failing to provide timely written notice of its intent to modify or terminate a collective bargaining agreement in a concessionary bargain. Rob successfully argued to the NLRB ALJ that the company had made its intentions known in earlier written proposals. As a result, the union was ordered to promptly commence bargaining for a successor contract to avoid an automatic rollover of the contract.

Defending a termination  

When a food service worker contended that he was unjustifiably terminated — despite undocumented years of poor performance — Rob worked with the client to win an arbitration that the client had "just cause" to terminate the worker. 

Grievance Arbitration – Vacation Payout

Rob successfully won a grievance arbitration award involving the union’s claims for accrued vacation benefit payout for vacation benefits upon sale of the company.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Leader in the Law, Wisconsin Law Journal, 2018
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rated
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Labor Law – Management, 2013-present
  • "Leading Lawyers" list, Milwaukee's M Magazine, 2015

Professional Activities

  • Past Chair, Milwaukee Bar Association, Employment Law Section
  • Past Chair, State Bar of Wisconsin, Employment Law Section
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Wisconsin School Attorneys Association
  • Member, National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPELRA)
  • Member, Wisconsin Public Employer Labor Relations Association (WPELRA)
  • Past Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
  • Former Management Representative, WERC’s Council on Municipal Collective Bargaining
  • General Counsel, Districts Mutual Insurance Company (WTCS)
  • Member, Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA)



Community Involvement

  • Member, Management Resources Association
  • Board Member, American Diabetes Association - Southeast Wisconsin Community Leadership Council
    • Co-chair, Gala, "Betting on a Cure"
  • Past Chair, Charles Allis/Villa Terrace Board
  • Co-Chair, Villa Terrace Garden Renaissance Project
  • Board Member, Secretary, Chair of Human Resources Committee, Charles Allis / Villa Terrace 
  • President Emeritus, St. Monica Booster Club
  • Past Board Member, Marquette University Blue & Gold Fund
  • Former Board Member, Gateway Technical College Foundation
  • Past Board Member, Town Club
  • Past Chair, Whitefish Bay Police Commission
  • Member, Marketing and Human Resources Committee, Milwaukee Athletic Club
  • Chair, Uecker's Ride for the Performing Arts (UPAF)
  • Past Vice Chair, First Stage Children's Theatre
  • Past Board Member, UPAF
  • Past Board Member, United Way
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