Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program released a set of sweeping recommendations to fundamentally rewrite U.S. labor laws and help shift the balance of power in this country back into the hands of working people.Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program, and ...
The decline of those labor market institutions is one big reason why growth is no longer broadly shared. The institutional infrastructure of equality is in disrepair. It has to be rebuilt or created anew.
The good news is that there are plenty of good ideas about what that infrastructure needs to be. One of these is to allow workers to organize across an industry, rather than firm-by-firm. Employees in different firms could then come together to bargain with their employers, without disadvantaging any one firm vis-a-vis its competitors. This is just one of many proposals from a team of scholars, advocates and policymakers working on a new project at Harvard law school: Rebalancing Economic and Political Power: A Clean Slate for the Future of Labor Law. This way to think about collective bargaining – so-called “sectoral bargaining” – is new in the US but works in other countries such as Germany.... Read more about The economy isn't getting better for most Americans. But there is a fix
What’s at stake? The transformation of work has produced two well-known problems: one, many workers can no longer rely on stable employment to provide them with benefits like retirement, vacation, or insurance, and, two, it is increasingly difficult to enforce basic laws like minimum wage and overtime pay. Although there are many ways to address these problems, putting workers in charge of the organizations that deliver benefits and conduct enforcement could ensure efficient delivery of services while building economic and political voice for working people...
What’s at stake? Historically, labor unions have been the key organization for worker voice and power, and we need legal reforms that enable us to strengthen unions. But we also need to consider legal support for other worker institutions, including organizations that represent workers outside of formal collective bargaining processes.
At this convening, we will explore the features of organizations that can build power for workers. Our exploration will include works councils, members-only unions, worker centers, organizations that address the interests of consumers and communities, and organizations that build workers’ political power. ... Read more about Clean Slate Convening on New Organizations for Worker Power
Harvard Labor and Worklife conference starts up a journey toward systemic reform, economic equality
By BRETT MILANO Harvard law Today
Last month, Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program began an ambitious effort to fix a broken system of labor laws. The program, “Rebalancing Economic and Political Power: A Clean Slate for the Future of Labor Law,” began with a daylong seminar at Wasserstein Hall. It will continue with a series of followup meetings over the next eighteen months, with the goal of producing major recommendations to reform labor law.
Attendees came from across the country, including law professors, labor activists, and union and online organizers. Because Chatham House rules were invoked for the event, none of the panelists will be identified or quoted; Block explained that this allowed for a freer exchange of ideas.
Co-organizers Sharon Block, executive director of HLS’s Labor and Worklife Program, and Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry and faculty co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program, said that some significant work was begun.... Read more about A ‘Clean Slate’ for the future of labor law
Project Background: Wages have been stagnating for decades. Income inequality is at its highest level in history and still growing. The political and economic power of ordinary Americans is dwarfed by the massive influence of corporations. The right to unionize has been eviscerated. Demagogues are seeking (sometimes successfully) to capitalize on these trends to advance their own goals to the further detriment of working people. In the face of these trends, how can ordinary Americans organize and mobilize for economic and political justice? And what does the law...