Skip to content


Charles Sakai is a founding partner of the firm. He practices in the areas of employment and labor law, focusing on traditional labor relations, including unit determinations and modifications, representation and decertification elections, collective bargaining, interest arbitrations, contract grievances and rights arbitration, and unfair labor practice charges.

Charles primarily handles complex negotiations and collective bargaining issues, including multi-party negotiations, interest arbitrations, and collective-bargaining-related litigation.

Charles has extensive experience in addressing difficult fiscal situations, including negotiations under Chapter 9 Bankruptcy protection. Recent negotiations have achieved structural changes in compensation and benefit cost structures as well as furloughs and other temporary solutions.

Charles also has significant experience dealing with pension and retiree-medical issues for both 37 Act and PERS agencies and has assisted agencies in securing significant reductions in GASB liability.

Related Experience

Charles began his career at the California Department of Personnel Administration, where he represented the State before the State Personnel Board (disciplinary hearings), Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) (unfair practice charges), and grievance arbitrators. He also advised various state departments on labor relations and personnel matters and handled litigation in State and Federal Courts, including civil writs, and Fair Labor Standards Act litigation.

In 1996, he accepted a Governor’s appointment as a Legal Advisor to a member of the PERB, where he drafted legal memoranda and decisions and worked with other Board members and legal advisors to interpret and develop California’s public sector labor relations laws. He also assisted the General Counsel’s office in investigating unfair practice charges, assisted the Board in deciding requests for Injunctive Relief, and represented the agency in appellate litigation.

During his tenure with PERB, Charles taught “Labor and Employment Law and Legislation” for the University Extension program at the University of California at Davis.

Selected Presentations

  • Currently serves on the Editorial Board of Bender’s California Labor & Employment Bulletin.
  • City of Vallejo: Bankruptcy and Beyond,” 2009 California State Municipal Finance Officers Association
  • Bankruptcy: Is It Coming To A Place Near You?” 2009 Industrial Relations Association of Northern California
  • Traveling with the In-Laws: Labor Negotiations in Difficult Times,” 2009 League of Cities Employee Relations Institute
  • Challenges in Employee Compensation, Pension Funding, And Post-Employment Benefits,” 2009 League of Cities City Attorney Conference
  • Negotiating Retirement and Retiree Medical Issues,” 2009 19th Annual Northern California Public Retirement Seminar
  • Building Relationships through the Labor Negotiation Process,” 2009 Municipal Managers Association of Northern California Annual Conference
  • “Through The Looking Glass: Bargaining Under Chapter 9 Bankruptcy,” 2009, CALPELRA Annual Conference
  • “Sonoma County’s Success Story: A Template For Negotiating And Implementing Systemic Changes To Relieve OPEB Liability” 2009 CALPELRA Annual Conference
  • “Labor Relations – Communications and Problem Solving In A Financial Crisis,” 2010 League of California Cities City Managers Department Meeting
View PDF Version of Bio