We typically think of debt that ordinary people and families owe to corporations as a consumer problem, but in today’s marketplace, it causes distinct harm to workers as workers. Very often, employer-driven debt holds workers hostage in their jobs and undermines their bargaining power to get a better deal.
President Joe Biden has vowed to be the most pro-worker leader this country has seen in years, and fortunately, he can use the authority of the federal government to address these abuses even without action from a gridlocked Congress.
One simple, yet powerful solution is to direct certain key agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Transportation, to create dedicated offices for worker protection. Such a move would ensure that abusive worker-consumer situations are systematically and routinely addressed — not just through one-off cases — and would serve as a major acknowledgment that worker protection must look different in today’s economy.... Read more about How Corporations Keep Their Own Workers in Debt
If and when federal OSHA enacts its national Covid-19 shot-or-test requirement, some state governments opposing that mandate could stave off for months the enforcement of its requirements.
That’s because the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration allows the governments of 26 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to adopt and enforce their own workplace safety and health rules for private-industry or state and local government workers.
No release date for it has been announced. But, when federal OSHA enacts a new rule, state workplace safety agencies are required by federal law to adopt the U.S. rule or enact a measure of their own that is “at least as effective” as the federal mandate.
The need for criminal prosecution of wage theft and other employment law violations has become all the more imperative, said Terri Gerstein, the director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program.
"I think that the situation of working people in our country has become dire," she said. "One of the benefits of criminal prosecution is it just sort of changes the calculus … there's a whole other set of consequences other than just, 'OK, I'm going to pay...
Most unions have strongly supported vaccination efforts, often including mandates. But they also want a place at the table in relation to implementation.
“Labor unions are a microcosm of the society we live in,” Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of Cornell University’s Worker Institute, told Yahoo News. “The same political divide we have right now exists within the rank and file of unions.” Unions represent and give voice to their members — of course they want ...
I enforced workplace laws in New York State for the better part of two decades, and this case stands out to me, because it so clearly exemplifies why all of us should care about workers’ rights. When people have bad working conditions and no voice on the job, it’s obviously bad for them. But the impact of rotten jobs — those with low pay, long hours, bad treatment, or no worker voice — radiates far beyond the workers themselves. Other people’s rotten jobs affect our collective health, safety and well-being.
A new study shows that electric, autonomous cabs could increase greenhouse gas emissions — not reduce them
A new study led by Dr. Ashley Nunes, a fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, concluded that, counterintuitively, fleets of electric, autonomous taxis could dramatically increase energy consumption and emissions that contribute to climate change — not reduce them.
“While electric vehicles themselves have lower emissions than traditional gasoline-powered ones, our work...
For many American workers, the traditional eight-hour-plus days, five days a week is no longer tolerable. Can we reimagine the status quo?
“People want the ability to make a living, have work-life balance, and be able to care for their families,” said Gerstein, who is also the director of the project on state and local enforcement at the Harvard Law School labor and worklife program. “This includes a predictable schedule with sufficient pay, and where one job should be enough.”
The president's July 9 executive order takes aim at an increasingly common and oft-criticized feature of the labor market: noncompete agreements. Under these restrictive agreements, which cover an estimated one-fifth to one-half of private-sector workers, employees give up future work in their industry as a condition of keeping their current job.
Terri Gerstein, director of the state and local enforcement program at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, noted there were other legal ways, including...
In light of the widespread jobsite transmission of the virus, and Covid-19’s devastating impact on working people, we should also do everything possible to eliminate obstacles for essential workers. Fortunately, there are two non-flashy but surefire approaches to boost rates among the many workers who want the vaccine but haven’t had it: first, pass paid sick leave laws covering the shot as well as side effects; and second, turn to unions, worker organizations, and others that are already known to and trusted by workers and their communities.
But their path to ending forced arbitration on Wall Street is seen as long and arduous. Much of the finance industry, including Goldman, remains committed to settling disputes behind closed doors, and change is unlikely to pass easily through a divided Congress.
“It still helps to build momentum and build a shared understanding that this practice of forced arbitration is not right,” Terri Gerstein, director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at Harvard Law School, said in an interview. “It’s not fair, and it’s not good...
Top law firms are building out practice groups focused on state attorneys general, whose aggressive moves on everything from workers’ rights to Big Tech have clients looking for lawyers with a deep understanding of the process.
Harvard Law School’s State and Local Enforcement Project director Terri Gerstein, former head of the Labor Bureau in the New York attorney general’s office, cautioned private practice lawyers against relying too heavily on relationships formed during their past work in state offices.
In December, Uber’s CEO asked the governors of all 50 states to give the ride-hailing company’s workers priority for the coronavirus vaccine. The company sent a similar letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s a profoundly cynical move. Uber and friends just spent over $200 million on California’s Proposition 22, a successful ballot initiative to exempt themselves from basic employment laws (paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, workplace safety requirements), in exchange for a seriously slender benefits package.
The misclassification of employees as independent contractors predates the emergence of the gig economy and has been a method of skirting the cost of standard worker protections.
In the midst of all the presidential transition drama, one of the most overlooked but consequential outcomes of the November election was the victory of Proposition 22 in California. Funded by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates to the tune of a record-breaking $200 million, the ballot measure exempted ride-hailing and delivery drivers from a 2019 law, Assembly Bill 5, which brings California’s gig economy into compliance with conventional employment laws.