Fellows

Lisa Xo

Lisa Xu

LWP Fellow
Research on job misclassification and payroll fraud
Lisa Xu received a PhD in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in November 2018. Her dissertation research focused on the transition away from agriculture and the rise of wage employment and industrialization in developing countries.... Read more about Lisa Xu
Phillippe Scrimger

Phillippe Scrimger

LWP Fellow
Research on Labor unions and inequality: Do unions promote more equal societies?
Phillippe Scrimger joined Harvard Law School's Labor and Worklife Program as a postdoctoral fellow in October 2018, after finishing his doctoral dissertation at the University of Montreal’s School of Industrial Relations.... Read more about Phillippe Scrimger
Dora Sari

What do we really know about trade and labor?

September 21, 2018

Labor and Worklife Program hosts workshop in the shadow of NAFTA negotiations

On August 31, Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program (LWP), in collaboration with the University of Reading, organized a workshop on the “Past and Future of Labor Provisions in the Context of Trade.” Coincidentally, it was the same day President Donald Trump, twenty-six years after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), notified Congress of his intent to sign a revised agreement with Mexico and, potentially, Canada...

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Labor Provisions in Trade Agreements (LABPTA): Introducing a New Dataset
Damian Raess and Dora Sari. 8/3/2018. “Labor Provisions in Trade Agreements (LABPTA): Introducing a New Dataset.” Global Policy.Abstract
Global labor policy through trade has begun to receive growing attention with the inclusion of labor provisions in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Until recently there has been a shortage of available data that would adequately capture the variation that exists with respect to the scope and stringency of labor provisions, preventing scholars and practitioners from addressing key questions about the design and effects of the trade‐labor linkage. This paper introduces a new dataset covering 487 PTAs from 1990 to 2015 coded against 140 distinct items pertaining to six main categories, presenting – to our knowledge – the most rigorous and fine‐grained mapping of labor provisions. It also offers the first systematic description of key trends in the design and occurrence of those commitments. Our study shows that labor provisions have not only expanded in terms of their content and participating countries but that labor provisions have, although to a varying degree, also become more stringent over time. The provisions that have across all PTAs increased most steadily are the ones related to the institutional framework set up for the monitoring and implementation of labor commitments, becoming more specialized and more inclusive of third party involvement over time.
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Ending the Dead-End-Job Trap

July 12, 2018

By Terri Gerstein and Sharon Block
NY Times Op Ed

It’s the American dream: We’re supposed to improve ourselves, get a better job, move on and up. But in too many instances, secret agreements between employers are stifling workers’ ability to parlay their hard work and experience into better-paying jobs and a chance to climb the career ladder.

On Thursday, the attorney general of Washington State, Bob Ferguson, announced that he had obtained agreements from seven fast-food chains, including Arby’s, Carl’s Jr. and McDonald’s, not to use or enforce “no poach” or “no hire” agreements. Under these arrangements, franchisees pledge not to hire job applicants who are current or recent employees of the company or any of its franchisees, without the approval of the applicants’ employers.... Read more about Ending the Dead-End-Job Trap

Bloomberg BNA

These U.S. Workers Are Being Paid Like It’s the 1980s

May 25, 2018

By Josh Eidelson
in Bloomberg

Thanks to a web of loopholes and limits, the federal government has been green-lighting hourly pay of just $7.25 for some construction workers laboring on taxpayer-funded projects, despite decades-old laws that promise them the “prevailing wage.”

The failure of government to keep up with what’s going on in the labor market, [Erlich] said “is a large piece” of why construction has faded as “a pathway to the middle class.”

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Reviving the Manufacturing Sector, Starting in Middle School

May 22, 2018

By Benjamin Herold
Education Week

"Manufacturing is changing dramatically," said Emily DeRocco, the education and workforce director of Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, or LIFT. "We want young people to understand that there are actually exciting jobs available."

Her group is one of 14 "innovation institutes" aiming to bring government, industry, and academia together to support technology-related research and education in advanced-manufacturing fields such as clean energy, lightweight materials, and robotics. The groups all fall under the umbrella of Manufacturing USA, a national network of public-private research institutes created under the Obama administration.

 "There is a lot to like about this kind of data-driven approach to connecting educational activities with the world of current and future careers," said Michael S. Teitelbaum, a senior research associate at the labor and worklife program at Harvard University.... Read more about Reviving the Manufacturing Sector, Starting in Middle School

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Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Workers

May 21, 2018

By Terri Gerstein and Sharon Block
New York Times Opinion

Federal labor law protects the right of workers to join together to improve their conditions, whether through a union or other means. But the court has now carved out a big exception to that longstanding principle. In a 5-4 decision on Monday, the court said that companies can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to bar workers from joining forces in legal actions over problems in the workplace. In other words, workers who are underpaid, harassed or discriminated against will have to press their cases alone in arbitration, rather than with their colleagues in a class-action case, or even with their own lawsuit.

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I worked for Eric Schneiderman. And I still believe in government.

May 11, 2018

By Terri Gerstein
Washington Post

Most public servants are true believers. We choose to work for modest pay and little glory. When I used to send my mother news stories about our cases, she would get indignant: “Why doesn’t it mention your name? You did the case!”

After the initial shock wears off, aides try to understand, trying to make sense of the incomprehensible contrast between the person we knew and the person he turned out to be. Were there signs I missed? Is this just something that happens when people have power? Is it that the wrong kind of people are...

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MEDA: On Democracy at Work 

April 14, 2018

By Dominique Méda
Le Monde  

The « Firm and Common Interest" report, requested and submitted on March 9 by Nicole Notat and Jean-Dominique Senard to the French Government, proposes to reinforce co-determination - the participation of employees in the management of the company. At the proposed level, it will certainly not allow French employees to give voice as much as their counterparts in Sweden or Germany. But this proposal makes it clear in the public debate that the company is a political entity.

In the book just published by Belgium's sociologist and political scientist Isabelle Ferreras (Firms as Political Entities, Cambridge University Press, 2017, not translated to french), this idea is at the heart of her thinking, and she deduces logically that corporate governance should result from the election by two "chambers" - one representing the capital contributors, the other the labor contributors - this government having to collect the majority in each of them.... Read more about MEDA: On Democracy at Work 

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 "We must make French companies benefit from a shock of democratic competitivity"

April 20, 2018

By Isabelle Ferreras Professor of Sociology at the University of Leuven (Belgium)
Le Monde - Op-Ed

"The firm is a political entity, and must therefore be governed according to the rules of democracy with the participation, on an equal footing, of workers and capital investors," says the sociologist Isabelle Ferreras, in a forum in Le Monde.

The recent Notat-Senard report commissioned by the French government, which brings to life the reflections of Pierre de Gaulle, Pierre Mendes France and Michel Rocard, makes a correct diagnosis: the 21st century firm is much more than a « corporation » , this legal instrument serving shareholders. But it is also more than an "object of collective interest", as the report modestly describes it.... Read more about  "We must make French companies benefit from a shock of democratic competitivity"

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