Clean Slate Project Working Group III. Convening on:


Establishing the Scope and Power of Collective Action  

DATE & TIME Wednesday December 5, 2018, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  
(Closed Working Group III Session 3:30-5:00p.m.) 
LOCATION Harvard Law School, Wasserstein Hall, 2036 Milstein West A&B 
1585 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138 

We must ensure that workers have the ability to engage in collective action that leverages power. The number of significant strikes in the U.S. has fallen dramatically. That’s because the law puts up so many hurdles and obstacles – it severely limits where, when, and how workers can act together. Instead of maximizing power, the law diminishes it. We need to rewrite the law to allow workers to analyze power relationships and exercise collective power strategically.

The goal for the convening is to assess and build from existing ideas for reform to empower collective action towards a broader array of ideas. The convening will be successful if we are to be able to collaborate on innovative solutions to the questions listed here (or a variation of these questions):

  1. How might we define the right to strike, picket and boycott to be effective mechanisms for the expression of worker power?
  2. How might we define lawful targets for collective action to reflect the way power is exercised within today’s economy, in light of fissuring, multinational corporations, and other changes in dominant business models?
  3. How might we facilitate collective action for workers who do not share a physical work space and what role can technology play?
  4. How might we learn from social justice movements in order to best achieve empowered collective action for workers that is at scale and sustainable?
  5. How might we expand the playing field for collective action to include allies and the concerns that are important to them?


Registration and Breakfast 


Opening Remarks 

  • Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry and Faculty Co-Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School
  • Saket Soni, Executive Director, National Guestworker Alliance


Establishing Convening Agreement & Compiling the Inventory of Existing Ideas from Which To Build 

  • Sharon Block, Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School 





Socio-Economic Justice: Who Needs to Build Power Through Collective Action?

• Steven Pitts, Associate Chair, UC Berkeley Labor Center
Laura Hanna, Co-founder, Debt Collective
• Allynn Umel, Organizing Director, Fight for $15
Colin McMillen, Staff Software Engineer, Google Inc.


Leveraging Power: How to Match the Tool to the Target

Mark Barenberg, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law; Director, Program on Labor Law and Political Economy, Columbia Law School
Peter Ford, General Counsel, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
Turquoise LeJeune Parker, Vice President, Durham Association of Educators
Adam Shah, Senior Policy Analyst, Jobs With Justice


Technology as a Tool To Build Power

Carrie Gleason, Policy Director, OUR
Michelle Miller, Co-founder,
Surya Mattu, Data Journalist, The Markup 


Lunch Break 


Small Group Work Sessions: “How Might We . . .” 


Closing Discussion 

  • Charlotte Garden, Professor, Seattle University School of Law
  • Sharon Block, Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School 

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