Clean Slate Convening on Levels, Actors and Scope of Bargaining

Working group meeting of the  Rebalancing Economic and Political Power:  A Clean Slate for the Future of Labor Law  Project


TIME: 12:30pm-5:00pm

LOCATION: Harvard Law School, Wasserstein Hall, 2036 Milstein West A

1585 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138



TIME: 8:30am-2:00pm, (Closed Working Group I.A.-B. Session 2:00pm-5:00pm)

LOCATION: Harvard Law School, Wasserstein Hall, 2036 Milstein East B

1585 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138


Reimagining Collective Bargaining:

The economy is fissuring and disaggregating, but since 1935 collective bargaining has largely taken place at the level of a single “firm,” has excluded millions of workers who don’t fit a particular definition of employee, and is limited to a narrow set of topics.  This convening will explore how to adapt the scope of collective bargaining to meet these challenges.

Key Convening Questions:

  • Should we move all or some collective bargaining to the sectoral level?
  • How should we expand collective bargaining rights so that more workers can bargain collectively?
  • How should we expand the scope of bargaining subjects to allow for more robust and productive worker voice?

Day 1 – Tuesday January 15, 2019



Registration with Coffee and Snacks


Opening Remarks


Economic Table Setting Remarks: Who Has Been Excluded from Collective Bargaining and What Are the Consequences

  • Darrick Hamilton, Executive Director, Kirwan Institute of the Study of Race and Ethnicity; Professor, Glenn College of Public Affairs; Professor, Departments of Economics and Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences, The Ohio State University
  • Rakeen Mabud, Fellow, Roosevelt Institute, Author of Left Behind: Snapshots from the 21st Century Labor Market


Sectoral Bargaining: What Can We Learn from the International Experience


Overview of what we need to learn from the international experience:


Deep Dive into International Examples – What is Working:

  • Fredrik Söderqvist, Senior Economist, Unionen, Sweden
  • Cecilia Nahón, Executive Director of the Model G20 Initiative, American University & Former Ambassador to the U.S., Argentina
  • Halton Cheadle, Emeritus Professor, Department of Public Law, University of the Cape Town, South Africa
  • Olaf Deinert, Professor, Institute for Labour Law, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany



Deep Dive into International Examples – What is Changing

  • Nicole Maggi-Germain, Lecturer and Director of the Institut des Sciences Sociales du Travail, University Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
  • Anthony Forsyth, Professor, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Australia
  • Keith Ewing, Professor of Law, Kings College, London, United Kingdom
  • Sandra Polaski, Former Deputy Director-General for Policy of the International Labor Organization (ILO) from 2012-2016

Open Discussion with International Experts




Government Involvement in Bargaining: What Are the Pros and Cons

Day 2 – Wednesday January 16, 2019


Registration & Breakfast


Sectoral Bargaining: What Can We Learn from the U.S. Experience

  • Nelson Lichtenstein, Distinguished Professor, Department of History, University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Bob King, Former President, United Auto Workers
  • Ray Rodriguez, Chief Contracts Officer, SAG-AFTRA
  • Don Siegel, General Counsel, MA Building Trades


Expanding What We Bargain Over and Who Bargains

  • Isabelle Ferreras, Professor of Sociology, University of Louvain, Senior Tenured Fellow, Belgium National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS), Belgium
  • Kris Rondeau, Former President, Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers
  •  Sarita Gupta, Co-Executive Director, Jobs With Justice
  •  Brishen Rogers, Associate Professor, Temple University Beasley School of Law


Small Group Discussions (Two Rounds):

  1. How might we combine sectoral and enterprise based bargaining?  How might we decide which subjects are appropriate at which level? Facilitators: Kate Andrias, Mark Schneider
  2. If we move some bargaining to the sectoral level, how might we define the role, if any, the government should have in bargaining? Facilitators: Larry Cohen, Sarita Gupta
  3. If we adopt a sectoral bargaining regime, how might we design a transition Facilitator: Brishen Rogers
  4. How might we define the scope of subjects appropriate for collective bargaining? For meet and confer rights? For informational rights?  Any limits? Facilitators: Nicole Berner, Cathy Ruckelshaus
  5. How might we define who has the right to collective bargaining?  If we move to a sectoral system, is it everyone in the sector? Are there limits? Facilitators: Raj Nayak, Rakeen Mabud


Small Group Readouts & Open Discussion with Working Group Members


Closing Remarks

  • Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor & Industry, Faculty Co-Director, Labor & Worklife Program, Harvard Law School



Closed Working Groups I.A. and I.B. sessions



See also: Clean Slate

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