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Equal Pay For Women: Why The U.S. Needs To Catch Up On Data Disclosure And Transparency

April 10, 2018

Alison Omens , Contributor
co-authored by Sharon Block

The United States has fallen behind on equal pay. According to JUST Capital’s 2017 Rankings, 78 of the 875 largest publicly-traded U.S. companies have conducted pay equity analyses, while only 54 have established a policy, as well as targets, for diversity and equal opportunity – that’s 9% and 6% of these corporations, respectively. When it comes to pay equity, corporations in the U.S. are not beholden to the same rules as those in other nations, and are lagging when it comes to equal pay for women.

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1099 Nation spreads its tentacles: Employees in every sense of the word — but without the benefits

April 10, 2018

Commonwealth Magazine

For the past 40 years, employers have pursued a strategy of shedding obligations to their employees as part of a broader outlook that views labor as one more risky liability to move off a balance sheet. For some, this has meant the purposeful misclassification of employees as independent contractors, a tactic adopted by Beldi’s disreputable construction contractors as well as more high-profile and celebrated firms such as FedEx and Uber.

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Minor League Baseball players are latest victims of anti-worker Trump and GOP

March 29, 2018

Sharon Block, Opinion contributor
USA Today

Congress just killed workplace protections for underpaid minor league baseball players. Notch another win for the 1% under Republicans and Donald Trump. 

The team owners who make up Major League Baseball had spent more than two years and more than $1 million lobbying Congress and the White House to exempt themselves from having to pay minor league players minimum wage and overtime.

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'Energetically Corrupt' Mulvaney Gave Green Light to Delete Data on Trump's Tip-Stealing Rule

March 21, 2018

by Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

"Further revealing how far the Trump administration is willing to go to "actively make workers' lives worse," Bloomberg Law reported on Wednesday that White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney personally approved the Labor Department's decision to delete an internal analysis showing that its proposed "tip-sharing rule" would allow companies to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from their employees per year."

"The story about how Secretary Acosta pushed out the tip stealing rule while hiding the cost from the public keeps getting...

Read more about 'Energetically Corrupt' Mulvaney Gave Green Light to Delete Data on Trump's Tip-Stealing Rule
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Trump Plans To Kill An Obama Regulation Protecting Restaurant Servers

December 6, 2017

By Dave Jamieson

The administration says the changes will steer more money to cooks and dishwashers. Worker groups say it will lead to lower pay and wage theft.  Sharon Block, LWP, tweeted, "Hard to see how workers benefit when employers are allowed to keep their tips."

"Loosening the rule is right in line with Trump’s assault on regulations since he took office. As HuffPost previously reported, many of the changes his administration has pursued have benefited lower-wage employers like retail and restaurant chains. Trump has...

Read more about Trump Plans To Kill An Obama Regulation Protecting Restaurant Servers
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Under Trump, Union Election Rules Could Be Tilted In Employers’ Favor

December 12, 2017

By Dave Jamieson

The newly conservative National Labor Relations Board may scrap worker-friendly reforms made under Obama.

Sharon Block, a former Democratic member of the labor board, tweeted Tuesday that the “predictions of catastrophe” hadn’t materialized and that the only good reason to revisit the rules is “a political one.”

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While Iowa pushes STEM education, most job growth in technology

December 8, 2017

By Erin Murphy
Quad City Times

While all American students should have a working knowledge of science and math, it may be misleading to suggest the country faces a shortage of STEM workers, an expert on science education and policy told the Times.

“When it gets generalized to all of STEM, it’s misleading,” said Michael S. Teitelbaum, a senior research associate in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. “We’re misleading a lot of young people.”

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Will Trump Lawyers Switch Sides in Supreme Court Labor Case?

December 5, 2017

By Ben Penn
Bloomberg BNA

Speculation has been simmering for months that the Trump administration might ask the Supreme Court to ban public sector unions from collecting mandatory fees. Calling for a decision that could significantly reduce labor movement finances and political influence would be a major shift in approach for the federal government.

“If they were to take such a radical step to undermine workers’ rights, I have no doubt that it would be motivated not by a genuine concern about constitutional rights but by a desire to destroy the labor movement,” Sharon Block

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We need an agenda for new laws to prevent sexual harassment

December 2, 2017

By Sharon Block and Terri Gerstein
The Guardian

What we’ve learned from the current flurry of revelations about sexual harassment is that public shaming may reform behavior but the law, as is, won’t. That means we need a broad agenda to change the law to protect the millions of women who don’t work for a famous boss.

In so doing, we should be especially careful to protect low-wage women workers, who often have less economic mobility than better educated, higher-wage workers, and are even less able to quit when they end up in a hostile work environment.... Read more about We need an agenda for new laws to prevent sexual harassment

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It should be illegal to fire the cyclist who gave Trump the finger

November 8, 2017

By Benjamin Sachs, LWP and Harvard Law School
Washington Post

"Once the president makes the workplace a political battleground, the Constitution should ensure that the battle not be one-sided."

"these aren’t conventional times, and the conventional legal approach doesn’t make sense today. Briskman’s firing is unconscionable, and it should be illegal."

"Why? We have a president who doesn’t hesitate to insert himself into private workplace disputes, and is thereby turning the workplace into a battleground for politics and public policy. By...

Read more about It should be illegal to fire the cyclist who gave Trump the finger

Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t)

November 2, 2017

New York TImes,  Education Life

"Michael S. Teitelbaum, an expert on science education and policy and LWP Senior Research Associate, believes that STEM advocates, often executives and lobbyists for technology companies, do a disservice when they raise the alarm that America is facing a worrying shortfall of STEM workers, based on shortages in a relative handful of fast-growing fields like data analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and computer security."... Read more about Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t) logo

Time to Aim Higher for Workers’ Rights

October 12, 2017


"Labor activists must aim much higher if we are to push through the severe structural obstacles that limit organizing in the US. And now is the time as workers’ rights in the US are at a 100 year low and sinking at both the national and state level. "..."In a symposium  hosted at Harvard, Sharon Block and Ben Sachs asked, “Is it time to end preemption?”   In recent years, partly because of NLRA reform failure, there have been many successful campaigns to pass higher state and local government minimum wages since the national law (FLSA) does not preempt state or local action as long as the federal floor is maintained."

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How Unions Are Already Gearing Up for a Supreme Court Loss

October 5, 2017


The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will add a case critical to the future of public-sector unions to its docket. "If the Supreme Court rules that making agency fees mandatory is unconstitutional, unions in those states fear the loss of revenue from existing nonunion members and the loss of more members, who could quit unions if granted the right to avoid the paycheck deduction. Such a scenario would weaken unions' bargaining power and their political clout."

“It is an enormously big deal,” says Harvard law professor Benjamin Sachs, who often writes about labor issues. “Unions have to provide services and representation equally to everyone in a bargaining unit. But if you can get those services for free, a lot of people won’t pay them. You have a classic free-rider situation.”... Read more about How Unions Are Already Gearing Up for a Supreme Court Loss

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The Supreme Court Could Prevent Millions of Workers From Suing Their Employers

October 2, 2017

Mother Jones

"On Monday, the Supreme Court opened its fall term with National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, and two similar cases, that will determine whether companies can force workers like Hobson to sign away their right to file collective suits. The decision in the cases, which were heard jointly, has the potential to push millions more workers into individual arbitration hearings that lack many of the protections of the US legal system."

"Sharon Block, the director of Harvard’s Labor and Worklife Program and a former NLRB board member, is concerned that Murphy Oil could be used to stamp out other workplace rights."