2018 Mar 29

The Politics of Labor in the Trump Era with Gil Cedillo

12:30pm to 1:30pm


L-166, IOP Conference Room, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

You are invited to a lunch conversation with Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo to discuss the politics of labor in the Trump era. In May, 2013, Cedillo was elected to the Los Angeles Council, representing the city's first council district. He previously served in the California State Assembly and State Senate, where he authored a number of major laws, including bills strengthening workers' right to organize, the California Dream Act, and legislation to granting drivers' licenses to undocumented immigrants. Before holding elective office, Cedillo worked for the Service Employees...

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2018 Mar 28

Charting the Future of Labor Policy



WCC Milstein West A, Harvard Law School

Current affairs are full of stories of labor law in practice – professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem, or a bicyclist being fired for gesturing at the presidential motorcade.  Join us for this informal and lively discussion with HLS experts presented by HLS Joint Council.

Panelists include: Sharon Block, Executive Director of LWP and Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School.

2018 Apr 06

Denying workers their rights from their first day on the job



The Economic Policy Institute 1225 I Street NW, Sixth floor Washington, DC 20005 and Live streamed

Join the Economic Policy Institute for an examination of the growing use of mandatory arbitration and class and collective action waivers and their impact on workers. The panel includes Sharon Block, Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School. 

The event will be live streamed on the EPI Website

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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...

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New Leading Questions episode: Sharon Block on loving labor

March 6, 2018

Posted by Evelyn Douek
in Podcast , The Harvard Law Record

Evelyn and Hannah spoke with Sharon Block, the Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at HLS, about her two decades of service in labor policy positions across the federal government, what it’s like in the West Wing, and staying positive through difficult career transitions.

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2018 Apr 10

What Would Frances Perkins Do?

10:00am to 12:00pm


Harvard Law School

Francis Perkins Event FlyerA distinguished panel of labor experts and new economy thought leaders will discuss how the global economy, technology, and the fissured workplace are eroding the legal regime Frances Perkins designed for 20th century workplaces: minimum wages and overtime pay, the 40-hour work week, unemployment insurance, safety standards, and retirement security. And, in the bold and action-oriented tradition of Frances Perkins, panelists will explore innovative solutions to the immediate challenges facing 21st century workers. 

Free but must register to attend.

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Board Vacates Hy-Brand, Raising More Questions
Sharon Block. 2/27/2018. “Board Vacates Hy-Brand, Raising More Questions.” Publisher's VersionAbstract

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board vacated its December decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors.  (Ben and Sharon had called for this action in OnLabor last week here and here.)  The Board’s unusual action follows a finding by the Board’s Inspector General that Member Bill Emanuel should have recused himself from participation in the case.  The Board noted in its press release that because Hy-Brand had been vacated, “the overruling of the Board’s decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), set forth therein is of no force or effect.”

The Board’s action was a welcome first step in correcting the damage done by the Hy-Brand decision.  Most importantly, for the time being, the Board will determine joint employer status using the standard set forth in Browning-Ferris – a standard that takes into account the reality of today’s fissured workplaces.  Beyond that important restoration, however, the Board’s one sentence order vacating Hy-Brand leaves many questions about the future unanswered.

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Labor Board Scraps Controversial Joint Employer Decision (Updated)

February 26, 2018

By Hassan Kanu and Chris Opfer
in Bloomberg Law

The National Labor Relations Board is taking a redo on its controversial decision to limit joint employer liability for affiliated businesses, thanks to ethics questions surrounding Member William Emanuel’s (R) participation in the case.

The board announced today that it has vacated its decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors. A Republican-majority NLRB in December used the Hy-Brand case to scrap an expansive Obama-era legal test that made it easier to tag affiliated businesses as joint employers. It overturned a previous decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, a case then pending before a federal appeals court that Emanuel’s former law firm participated in.

“This was one of the most important issues that this board was going to deal with and everyone knew that his firm was involved,” former NLRB member Sharon Block told Bloomberg Law of Emanuel’s participation in the case. The board “broke precedent in dealing with an issue of this magnitude” by taking up the joint employment question in a case in which it could have been avoided, Block added.

2018 Mar 09

MIT Sustainability Summit: Good Jobs for a Thriving Economy



Four Seasons Hotel, Boston

Sharon Block, Executive Director of LWP will speak at the 10th annual MIT Sustainability Summit: Good Jobs for a Thriving Economy on Friday March 9th at the Four Seasons in Boston. Learn more about how businesses and other stakeholders are working toward a new normal, reimagining standards of work, and collectively mobilizing to build a thriving economy. Speakers and panelists will explore such topics as what are the benefits and challenges of implementing a “Good Jobs Strategy”? What does it look like to pay a living wage? What are effective strategies to partner across the private and public sectors to achieve “wins” for workers? 

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Ethics Conflict at NLRB Pushes Agency Into 'Uncharted Territory'

February 23, 2018

By Erin Mulvaney 
The National Law Journal

The NLRB inspector general’s report reinforced the concerns of union attorneys and Democratic senators that Trump-appointed member William Emanuel should not have voted in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case in December that overturned the broad joint-employment standard the Obama-era board set. Emanuel’s former firm, Littler Mendelson, where he’d been a shareholder in Los Angeles, represented a party in the original case Browning-Ferris Industries that expanded joint-employment liability.

Sharon Block, former NLRB member and now executive director of Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program, said the inspector general report makes it clear that the Hy-Brand decision must be invalidated. Block said the board could ask for input from the parties in the case to show why it should or should not validate the decision.... Read more about Ethics Conflict at NLRB Pushes Agency Into 'Uncharted Territory'

2018 Feb 26

What Fight for $15 and ‘Alt-Labor’ Tells Us About the Past and Future of the American Middle Class

12:05pm to 12:50pm


WCC 2004 Classroom, Harvard Law School

Sharon Block, former Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor and head of the policy office at the Department of Labor, will discuss how the decline of the labor movement in the U.S. has led to a crisis for the American middle class and offer insights into the worker organizations that may fill the economic and political void.

Hosted by the HLS American Constitution Society

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Trump’s ‘Tip-Pooling’ Plan Could Screw Your Bartender

February 13, 2018

By Dave Jamieson

The Trump administration is seeking to change wage regulations so that restaurants and other businesses with tipped workers can decide how the gratuities are divvied up.

Sharon Block, a former Labor Department official under Obama, said it’s hard to read the proposal any other way. In adopting a judge’s dissent in a tip-sharing lawsuit, Trump’s team seems to argue that the Labor Department can’t tell an employer what to do ― or not do ― with a worker’s tips if the employer pays the federal minimum wage of $7.25. As the...

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Trump’s Labor Board Is Making it Even More Difficult to Unionize Fast-Food Workers

February 9, 2018

By Michelle Chen
The Nation

In a jarring reversal of fortunes, a pending National Labor Relations Board case that was supposed to be a weapon for unionizing hundreds of thousands of low-wage fast-food workers under Obama may now morph into an anti-labor bludgeon for big business under Trump. The fate of one of the country’s largest poverty-wage workforces now hangs on an arcane legal debate over whether McDonald’s can be held responsible as a formal employer for all the workers who toil under the Golden Arches.

According to Sharon Block, former...

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