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Barnes Receives State Bar's Distinguished Service Award Weeks Before Starting Arbitration Practice

February 28, 2011

Varnum attorney Thomas Barnes is the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Service Award presented by the 2,600-member Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

The honor is given each year to a Michigan attorney who exemplifies outstanding service and professionalism in the practice of labor and employment law. Those considered for the award have made major contributions to the practice of labor and employment law, reflect the highest ethical principles and are recognized and respected by all constituents in the labor and employment community.

After practicing law for 39 years, Barnes is leaving Varnum to start a full-time practice as an independent neutral arbitrator and mediator of labor and employment disputes. His new practice comes with years of experience. For the past 16 years, Barnes has served as an arbitrator for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and now will additionally serve on the labor and employment panels the American Arbitration Association and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Currently, there are no labor arbitrators in Grand Rapids.

Barnes' experience in the area of management and labor relations is recognized and respected by both management and labor representatives around the Midwest. He has represented a wide variety of clients in union organizing campaigns, labor negotiations, arbitrations, and in matters before the National Labor Relations Board and was involved in the same work as a consultant to health care unions early in his career.

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