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Labor Rights Under Fire From Trump’s Administration

August 15, 2017

By Sam Seder
Ring of Fire Radio

The National Labor Relations Board has been immune to any major changes by the Trump Administration. But that all changed when Donald Trump announced of two new Republican Board members. Sharon Block, the former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor under the Obama Administration joins Ring of Fire’s Sam Seder to talk discuss Donald Trump’s anti-labor policy and how Trump plans to take us back in time on labor rights.

Private Equity and American Labor: Multiple, Pragmatic Responses Mirroring Labor’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Larry W. Beeferman. 2009. “Private Equity and American Labor: Multiple, Pragmatic Responses Mirroring Labor’s Strengths and Weaknesses.” Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 51, No. 4,, Pp. pp. 545-558 .Abstract
This article briefly describes the recent growth of private equity, details some of the challenges such growth has posed for American labor, and outlines ways in which labor has chosen to respond. In so doing it suggests that the diverse, complicated, and practical choices labor has made to date have been shaped by the particular strengths and weaknesses of its position in American society. More particularly, these choices place the emphasis on (1) legislative change, relating mainly to tax rather than regulatory policy (labor-related or otherwise); (2) capital strategies, by which unions and pension funds engage companies in connection with corporate governance and investments that might be made in or withheld from them; and (3) high-profile campaigns relating to the reputation of private equity firms and the companies in their portfolio.
US Pension Funds’ Labour-Friendly Investments
Tessa Hebb and Larry Beeferman. 2010. “US Pension Funds’ Labour-Friendly Investments.” In "Social" in Social Security: Market, State and Associations in Retirement Provision,, Pp. Chapter 4. Lampeter, UK: Hyde, Mark and John Dixon, Edwin Mellen Press.Abstract
This article explores the evolution of labor friendly US investments by pension funds in the period since the downturn of the financial markets in 2001. It argues that both pension funds and investment vehicles that bring intentional targeting to their investments are becoming increasingly sophisticated financial players. Labor friendly investments that focus on risk adjusted rates of return as the driver for investment are increasingly able to point to strong track records that encourage a wide range of pension fund investors to engage with these vehicles and practices.
Origins of the Financial Markets Meltdown, the Need for Financial Reform, and the Dodd-Frank Bill Response
Larry Beeferman. 1/2011. “Origins of the Financial Markets Meltdown, the Need for Financial Reform, and the Dodd-Frank Bill Response.” Commissioned for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper reviews: (1) what typically are seen as important near- or short-term causes linked to the financial crisis, (2) the kinds of individual and institutional behaviors that many believe contributed to these causes, (3) the most important among the provisions of recently enacted financial markets reform legislation – the Dodd-Frank Act – ostensibly calculated to change those behaviors, and (4) some critical perspective on whether the provisions are suited to the task.
Capital Stewardship in the United States: Worker Voice and the Union Role in the Management of Pension Fund Assets
Larry W. Beeferman. 2/2011. “Capital Stewardship in the United States: Worker Voice and the Union Role in the Management of Pension Fund Assets.” Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, vol. 17 , no 1, Pp. 43-57.Abstract
This article describes US unions’ efforts at capital stewardship, that is, the investment and management of the assets accumulated in pension and other retirement plans (frequently termed ‘workers’ or ‘labour’s capital’) — on behalf of plan participants and in the interest of workers more generally. It focuses particularly on the opportunities for direct worker voice in the governance and management of those assets through workers serving as trustees of the plans. The article explores the challenges these trustees face in navigating that role in addition to their possibly conflicting role as a union member or official. It details unions’ visions for capital stewardship and their efforts to integrate trustees’ activities within the broader range of union activities. Finally, it describes ways in which unions have collaborated in support of their trustees and to develop a cross-union capital stewardship agenda.

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