Wertheim Fellows

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The germ of innovation: The lessons from accelerated COVID-19 vaccine development

May 24, 2021

EMRAN QURESHI
Opinion
THE GLOBE AND MAIL

There is one bright flicker of hope: biotech. The spread of the pandemic is being slowed by the emergence of effective vaccines that were developed and deployed in fewer than 11 months. This is an extraordinary advance from past vaccine development, which ranged from five to 10 years. Two of the first vaccines that were out of the starting gate and jabbed into arms were from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.... Read more about The germ of innovation: The lessons from accelerated COVID-19 vaccine development

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Gig workers deserve employment protections

December 18, 2020

Mark Erlich
Boston Globe 

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.

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Misclassification in Construction: The Original Gig Economy

November 26, 2020

by Mark Erlich
ILR Review

The misclassification of employees as independent contractors has been the focus of recent attention as a result of the implementation of that employment model by ride-share and other gig employers. But the practice long predates the emergence of the gig economy, particularly in the construction industry. This article traces the history of misclassification in construction and the subsequent emergence of a cash-based underground system of compensation, which have lowered standards and been among the major causes of the decline of union density in the industry. In addition, the author examines the regulatory environment at the federal level, which has largely enabled misclassification as well as attempts by state agencies to adopt more aggressive enforcement policies. Downloand Article 

MISCLASSIFICATION IN CONSTRUCTION: THE ORIGINAL GIG ECONOMY
Mark Erlich. 11/26/2020. “MISCLASSIFICATION IN CONSTRUCTION: THE ORIGINAL GIG ECONOMY.” ILR Review. Download PaperAbstract
The misclassification of employees as independent contractors has been the focus of recent attention as a result of the implementation of that employment model by ride-share and other gig employers. But the practice long predates the emergence of the gig economy, particularly in the construction industry. This article traces the history of misclassification in construction and the subsequent emergence of a cash-based underground system of compensation, which have lowered standards and been among the major causes of the decline of union density in the industry. In addition, the author examines the regulatory environment at the federal level, which has largely enabled misclassification as well as attempts by state agencies to adopt more aggressive enforcement policies.

Worker Misclassification in Washington State Leads to Millions in Revenue Losses, New Harvard Report Details

December 16, 2019

Widespread misclassification of workers could mean millions of dollars uncollected and thousands of workers underpaid and without benefits

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON — The number of employers engaging in worker misclassification in Washington state has risen substantially over the last 10 years. Misclassification has resulted in the denial of pay and benefits for tens of thousands of workers as well as millions of dollars in lost revenue, according to a new study from researchers with Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program.... Read more about Worker Misclassification in Washington State Leads to Millions in Revenue Losses, New Harvard Report Details

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“Confronting Misclassification and Payroll Fraud”

June 25, 2019

Report details increasing role of state agencies in enforcing misclassification laws and providing worker protections, crucial in era of lax federal enforcement

by Mark Erlich and Terri Gerstein 

BOSTON, MA – Researchers from the Harvard Labor & Worklife Program, a program of Harvard Law School, released on Wednesday a report detailing the expanding and increasingly inventive role of state-level agencies regarding enforcement of worker misclassification laws and upholding workers protections. The report, “Confronting Misclassification and Payroll Fraud: A Survey of State Labor Standards Enforcement Agencies” is published in the midst of a decades-long trend of employers increasingly misclassifying workers as independent contractors. More urgently, within the past two years, the federal government, through the United States Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board, has been increasingly rolling back worker protections and enforcement.

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2018 Apr 13

The Value of an Overseas Research Trip

12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: 

Baker 103, Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School
SPEAKER: Gokhan Aykac (RA, Gazi University Dept of Economics, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School) 
TITLE: "The Value of an Overseas Research Trip"
2017 Sep 15

Innovation in the Cell Phone Markets of US and China

12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: 

Baker L​i​brary, Harvard Business School

Economics of Science and Engineering Workshop
Given by: Richard Freeman (Harvard University and NBER), Jorn Boenke (Labor & Worklife Program, Harvard Law School), and Maggie Cheng (Stanford University) 

Cell phones are a product with continual innovation that have impacted lives around the world.  American adults spend 2 hours 51 minutes on their smartphone every day.  This paper analyzes the changing attributes of cell Phones in the two largest economies in the world, USA and China.  It uses hedonic price regressions to assess the speed of innovative change from data on prices matched with the attributes of new and older models.  It assesses the impact of innovations on cell phones on consumer well-being and assesses the seeming inconsistency between micro data on products with improved technological features and macro data that show sluggish growth of GDP per capita in the US.

Mark Erlich

Mark Erlich

Wertheim Fellow
Research on Misclassification and Underground Economy

Mark Erlich retired as Executive Secretary-Treasurer (EST) of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, a 19,000 member organization in March 2017.  A member of Carpenters Local 40 since 1975, he worked at his craft as an apprentice, journeyman, foreman, and superintendent. While EST, Erlich chaired the New England Carpenters Benefits Funds and the New England Carpenters Training Fund. He was a Vice-President of the Mass AFL-CIO and Mass Building Trades.  He continues to serve as a member on the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals, MassINC board, and the Federal Reserve Advisory Council.... Read more about Mark Erlich

Congratulations to Elaine Bernard for receiving the Sefton/Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations

Congratulations to Elaine Bernard for receiving the Sefton/Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations

March 30, 2017

The award, given by Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resource at the Univeristy of Toronto, honours individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field of labour relations and human rights. Both practitioners in labour relations as well as academics have received this award.

The award will be presented at the Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture on March 30, 2017. This years speaker is Richard Yeselson, Labour Journalist, talking on "Trade Unions and Populist Politics: What The Trump Presidency Truly Means for Labour"

We are proud that our former Executive Director is this year's recipient.

[Info on Award]

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