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The American Corporation is in Crisis—Let's Rethink It

October 2, 2019

BOSTON REVIEW Forum on corporate governance

Essay by Leonore Palladino, October 2019
http://bostonreview.net/forum/lenore-palladino-american-corporation-crisis—lets-rethink-it

Response by Isabelle Ferreras
http://bostonreview.net/forum/american-corporation-crisis—lets-rethink-it/isabelle-ferreras-shareholders-versus-stakeholders

Our senior research associate Isabelle Ferreras argues for the primacy of workers in corporate governance — a key step in order to « rebalancing economic and political power »

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Fortune.com

Economists Sound Off on Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Reform Labor Laws

October 8, 2019

By Andrew Hirschfeld
Fortune.com

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has released a comprehensive plan to reform America’s labor laws. While the Democratic presidential hopeful’s campaign says her proposal will empower American workers and raise wages, it has economists from across the political spectrum sounding off.

“What really struck me the most is the framing of it around the issue of power—the fact that workers collective power is at a historic low,” said Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.... Read more about Economists Sound Off on Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Reform Labor Laws

Fortune.com

Announcing Uber Works, the Ride-Hailing Giant Changes Lanes into Temporary Work

October 3, 2019

By Lisa Marie Segarra
Fortune.com

While Uber faces legal battles over whether its drivers should be classified as employees or contractors, the tech company unveiled an unexpected new service on Wednesday: Uber Works.

An extension of the gig economy model that Uber arguably popularized with its original ride-hailing service, Uber Works will be an app that matches temporary workers with potential jobs and employers. The move seems provocative for Uber, which is currently pushing back against a pending California law that could reclassify on-demand workers like Uber's drivers as employees.

Despite Uber's new take on temporary employment, Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum professor of labor and industry at Harvard Law School, says it's more of the same.

"The connection between Uber Works and the ride-hailing side that I see is this massive company with intense tech resources fueling the degradation of work, rather than to make work meaningful," Sachs told Fortune.... Read more about Announcing Uber Works, the Ride-Hailing Giant Changes Lanes into Temporary Work

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Why the Gig Economy Matters — Even If It’s Small

September 18, 2019

By Sarah Kessler
OneZero

When I started reporting on gig workers in 2014, I was surprised to find some of the people who represented labor organizations would respond to my inquiries with mild irritation. But is this really a harmful distraction from the wider workforce? In my book, Gigged, I argued that the gig economy was like a Trojan horse — that problems faced by Uber and Lyft drivers are shared by other types of workers, and that...

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Why conservatives must take principled action for workers

Why conservatives must take principled action for workers

September 17, 2019

BY TERRI GERSTEIN
The Hill

When conservative British lawmakers bucked their leader on Brexit, many of us in the United States were left wondering, where are our principled conservatives willing to take on the president? Maybe our conservatives have lost the muscle memory of how to do something like this. It seems unlikely any will take on the president any time soon. But maybe they can begin with smaller steps to start rebuilding that muscle.

A great opportunity for taking principled action is happening this month. A bill that prohibits forced...

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What California should do next to help Uber drivers

September 13, 2019

By Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs
Washington Post

Recognizing them as employees was a fine first step. Letting them unionize is crucial.

The struggle for gig workers’ rights took a big step forward this week when the California legislature passed a law classifying many such workers — including Uber and Lyft drivers — as “employees.” Once it is signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the law...

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Why Uber Thinks It Can Still Call Its Drivers Contractors

September 12, 2019

Aarian Marshall
Wired
Uber will not treat its California drivers as employees, the ride-hail company’s head lawyer said Wednesday, despite a new law designed to do just that. The law would create a more stringent test to separate independent contractors from full-time employees. The company’s argument rests on a premise that’s been a cornerstone since its early days: that Uber is a technology company, not a transportation one.

The ...

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Forging a new workplace compact: An optimistic Labor Day message

Forging a new workplace compact: An optimistic Labor Day message

September 2, 2019

BY THOMAS A. KOCHAN
The Hill

I approach this Labor Day optimistic that a broad cross-section of American workers and leaders are ready to negotiate and build a new workplace compact that reduces income inequality, restores dignity and respect for all who work, narrows the divides that separate us and ushers in a new era of sustained prosperity.

The academic community is likewise poised to play a more activist and constructive role in supporting a new workplace compact. MIT is about to issue initial findings of a ...

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No More Corporate Lawyers on the Federal Bench

August 21, 2019

Brian Fallon and Christopher Kang
The Atlantic

In response to President Donald Trump’s historic transformation of the federal judiciary, several Democratic candidates for president have promised to prioritize the swift appointment of a new wave of federal judges if they enter the White House.

But if Democrats hope to reverse Trump’s success in seeding the federal judiciary with extreme ideologues, they need to do more than nominate and confirm judges swiftly. They need to start nominating a whole different kind of judge. The next Democratic president should try nominating judges who haven’t been partners at big law firms.

Instead of someone like Katyal, Democrats ought to nominate judges whose day jobs involve working for ordinary Americans. That means, for example, choosing lawyers who represent workers, consumers, or civil-rights plaintiffs, or who have studied the law from that vantage point. Many outstanding lawyers have dedicated their career to advancing the interests of workers. For example, Deepak Gupta has represented the employees’ side in multiple arbitration cases before the Court, and Jenny Yang is a former plaintiffs’ lawyer and former chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sharon Block is a former National Labor Relations Board member who now runs an employment-law program at Harvard Law School,... Read more about No More Corporate Lawyers on the Federal Bench

Bernie Sanders Sets a Goal: Double Union Membership in 4 Years

Bernie Sanders Sets a Goal: Double Union Membership in 4 Years

August 23, 2019

By Thomas Kaplan and Noam Scheiber
New York Times

Mr. Sanders called his new labor plan “the strongest pro-union platform in the history of American politics.” The plan “is an important recognition of the fact that tinkering around the edges isn’t going to be enough to return power to American workers in our economy,” said Sharon Block, a former National Labor Relations Board member appointed by President Barack Obama, who is executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

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Barstool Sports Founder’s Tweetstorm Raises Labor Row

August 13, 2019

by Alex Ebert and Chris Marr
Bloomberg Law

In a series of Aug. 13 tweets, Barstool’s Dave Portnoy threatened to fire and sueemployees that reached out to union lawyers. The tweets followed an Aug. 12 blogpost where he dared his employees to attempt to form a union, so that he can “smash their little union to smithereens.”

“Under any reading of the federal labor law, telling workers that they’re going to be fired if they seek advice or help about a unionization campaign is flatly illegal,” said Harvard law professor Ben Sachs. “In my estimation, even the Trump NLRB would consider that illegal.”

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The Next Union Era

July 25, 2019

By ELI LEHRER
National Review

While labor unions can have value, their current structure in the United States serves almost nobody well. As much as anything else, organized labor needs individuals who like Rolf not only want to organize but also see the need to be innovative in the very way that labor organizations do business.

In addition, as Harvard Law School’s Benjamin Sachs has proposed, unions should be allowed to “unbundle” their services so that they can advocate political causes without bargaining collectively. This could help give workers a...

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Global Policy Logo

Assessing Trade–Labor Linkages: A Big Step Forward

January 2, 2019

by
Kimberly Ann Elliott
Global Policy

 

Labor Provisions in Preferential Trade Agreements (LABPTA) are an important and necessary step forward in being able to better assess the role of these trade‐labor linkages in improving workers’ lives. A Response to ‘Labor Provisions in Trade Agreements (LABPTA): Introducing a New Dataset’, Damian Raess and Dora Sari, LWP Fellow

There are a great number of research questions that this new dataset allows us to explore, and that work has just begun. LABPTA is thus an important and necessary step forward in being able to better assess the role of these trade‐labor linkages in improving workers’ lives.... Read more about Assessing Trade–Labor Linkages: A Big Step Forward

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Fox in the henhouse? Why Trump’s latest appointment has labor advocates so alarmed

July 26, 2019

BY RICK WARTZMAN
Fast Company

The central question revolving around Scalia is whether he will be willing to act, first and foremost, as a proponent of workers.

Critics note that, as a corporate attorney, he has helped to wipe out a rule meant to safeguard those seeking retirement-planning services, killed off a Maryland law mandating that certain large employers spend a prescribed dollar amount each year on health coverage for their employees, sought to raise the burden of proof needed for whistle-blowers to be protected, and vociferously opposed requirements meant to help workers avoid repetitive stress injuries.

Time and again in the current administration, “the impact of proposed rules on business is what shapes the agenda—not the benefit to workers,” says Sharon Block, who served as a senior aide in the Obama Labor Department and is now executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

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