Clean Slate Convening on New Organizations for Worker Power

Date: 

Friday, March 1, 2019 (All day)

Location: 

Harvard Law School

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

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. 

Key Convening Questions:

  • How might we build minority unions that empower workers?
  • How might we build mass membership organizations that empower workers?
  • How might we build labor/community partnership organizations that empower workers?
  • How might we build service providing organizations that empower workers?
  • How might we build joint labor-management organizations that empower workers, including works councils?

For each type of organization, assess the following:

  • Can it achieve scale?
  • Does it create economic and/or political power?
  • Does it build solidarity?
  • How does membership work? How does the membership model balance inclusivity with making membership meaningful? Does the organization provide benefits to members?
  • What should the governance structure be?
  • Does it rely on the government to provide status?

8:30am-9:00am

Registration with Coffee and Snacks

 

9:00am-9:10am

Opening Remarks

  • Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor & Industry, Faculty Co-Director, Labor & Worklife Program, Harvard Law School
  • David Rolf, President Emeritus, SEIU Local 775

9:15am-9:35am

Empowering Social Change: the Role for Worker Organizations

  • Veena Dubal, Associate Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • Joel Rogers, Sewell-Bascom Professor of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs and Sociology & Director, COWS, University of Wisconsin-Madison

9:40am-10:15am

25’ Discussion

10’ Audience Q&A LWP staff runs mic and takes questions

Organizations that Empower Workers within the Firm(s)

  • Jim Conigliaro Jr., Founder, Independent Drivers Guild
  • Catherine Fisk, Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law, Berkeley Law
  • Rüdiger Krause, Professor, Institute for Labour Law, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany
  • Nidhi Mirani, Executive Director, Carina Care

10:20am-10:55am

25’ Discussion

10’ Audience Q&A LWP staff runs mic and takes questions

Organizations that Empower Workers Outside of the Firm

11:00am-11:35am

25’ Discussion

10’ Audience Q&A LWP staff runs mic and takes questions

Organizations that Empower Workers through their Communities

  • Ben Gordon, Senior Organizer, Industrial Areas Foundation
  • Sarah David Heydemann, Workplace Justice Legal Fellow, National Women's Law Center
  • Roxana Tynan, Executive Director, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy

11:45am-1:15pm

40’ per round

Small Group Discussions (Two Rounds):

  1. How might we build minority unions that empower workers? Facilitator: Catherine Fisk, Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law, Berkeley Law
  2. How might we build mass membership organizations that empower workers? Facilitator: David Rolf, President Emeritus, Local 775, SEIU
  3. How might we build labor/community partnership organizations that empower workers? Facilitators: César F. Rosado Marzán, Associate Professor of Law & Co-Director of the Institute for Law and the Workplace;  Alexandra Suh, Executive Director,  Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA)
  4. How might we build service providing organizations that empower workers? Facilitators: Jennifer Abruzzo,  Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives, Communications Workers of America;  Andrew Strom,  Associate General Counsel, SEIU Local 32BJ
  5. How might we build joint labor-management organizations that empower workers, including works councils? Facilitators: Kris Rondeau, Former President,  Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers & Rüdiger Krause, Professor, Institute for Labour Law, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany

1:15pm-1:45pm

Lunch

1:45pm-2:15pm

Small Group Readouts

2:15pm-2;20pm

Closing Remarks

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

2:30pm-4:00pm

Closed Working Group II.A. Session