logo le monde

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 

logo le monde

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

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 competitiveness"

LWP Fellow Xi Hu

Xi (Sisi) Hu

Program Fellow of the LWP
Research on Technological and Climate Disruptions on Labor


Xi's research at the LWP examines the impact of software on economic outcomes with a focus on jobs. In addition, she is looking at how climate change affects infrastructure investment decisions as well as the implications of climate change on the future of work. Prior to joining the LWP, Xi worked as a consultant for numerous organisations, including the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE), International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), UK-India Business Council, and Legal & General Investment Management. She is the co-founder of the Oxford International Infrastructure Consortium (OXIIC), whose aim is to facilitate communication and collaboration on infrastructure between academics, policymakers, and practitioners worldwide. She is also a co-author of "The Self We Choose (我们选择的自己)", a book published in Chinese that features the life stories of scientists from the largest ever all-women expedition to Antarctica. Xi holds a DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, and a BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics from the London School of Economics.

WRAL Tech Wire logo

Can a Mad Max dystopia be stopped? Ex-RTP entrepreneur Wadhwa to find out at Harvard

April 13, 2018

by Rick Smith 
WRAL Tech Wire

Vivek Wadhwa has been named a Distinguished Fellow with the Labor and Worklife program at Harvard Law School “to help with what I consider to be the most important research project of our times: to understand the impact of technology on jobs and develop policies to mitigate the dangers.”

Reached by WRAL TechWire, Wadhwa says the project is “something that [economist] Richard Freeman and I have long been discussing. There is anecdotal evidence automation is affecting jobs but not enough hard research.”... Read more about Can a Mad Max dystopia be stopped? Ex-RTP entrepreneur Wadhwa to find out at Harvard

New York Times logo

Senate Bill to Curtail Labor Rights on Tribal Land Falls Short

April 16, 2018

By Noam Scheiber
New York TImes

Organized labor managed an increasingly rare feat on Monday — a political victory — when its allies turned back a Senate measure aimed at rolling back labor rights on tribal lands.

The legislation, called the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, would have exempted enterprises owned and operated by Native American tribes from federal labor standards, even for employees who were not tribal citizens.

“It’s a very, very troubling step at a moment when we should be doing everything we can to try to protect people’s collective rights and when there are so many people who feel so disempowered in this economy,” said Sharon Block, a former member of the National Labor Relations Board who is executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

logo marketplace

For some minor league baseball players, wages can seem like peanuts

April 5, 2018

By Mitchell Hartman

In 2014, Broshuis brought a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against the baseball owners. The goal was to force the teams to follow the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and pay players as hourly workers, including for all hours of play and practice.


Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and an Obama administration appointee to the National Labor Relations Board, said that because many minor league players are paid such a low salary — in some cases working out to less than minimum wage for all the hours worked — their lawsuit should proceed.

“We are talking about paying people $7.25 per hour, and time-and-a half when they work over forty hours. These are just bedrock principles of minimum standards,” Block said. And she said that not paying players during spring training flies in the face of other labor law precedent. “Generally, if you are in training and it is for the employer’s benefit, meaning you’re learning to do your job better, you have to be compensated.”... Read more about For some minor league baseball players, wages can seem like peanuts

These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit
Terri Gerstein. 4/8/2018. “These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit.” The Guardian. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Why would dozens of news anchors recite a Sinclair Broadcast group script? Because their contracts entrap them


Above all, workers and their allies can take the lead in joining together to unearth and combat these abusive practices. Teachers from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma are rising up, seeking better conditions for themselves and their students. Workers at media companies have been electrified, too, organizing new unions in recent years. 

The Sinclair anchors spoke in unison delivering the company’s message. Maybe one day soon, they can take back the power and again speak in unison, this time delivering their own. 


The Vox logo

The emerging plan to save the American labor movement

April 9, 2018

By Dylan Matthews

The Trump era has sparked some of the most creative thinking in labor in years.

“Sectoral bargaining is certainly getting more attention in legal academic and labor law policy debates,” Benjamin Sachs, a professor at Harvard Law School and former practicing labor lawyer, says. “The way I would think about it is that there’s an existential panic about what will happen to the labor movement. That’s not new, it’s just getting worse. … If we need unions for economic and political equality as I think we do...

Read more about The emerging plan to save the American labor movement
bloomberg law logo

Punching In: Confirmation Process Picks Up Steam

April 9, 2018

By Chris Opfer and Ben Penn


 When news of the proposed settlement in the McDonald’s joint employment case broke last week, some folks might have assumed we accidentally dropped a zero from the $170,000 that Mickey D’s is offering a group of workers to resolve their unfair labor practice complaints. Surely, the chance to resolve one of the biggest cases in the labor and employment space without risking a ruling that McDonald’s is a joint employer with its franchisees of franchise restaurant workers could fetch a bigger price tag?

“It sounds like they’re getting off awfully cheap,” former NLRB member Sharon Block (D) told me of the settlement.... Read more about Punching In: Confirmation Process Picks Up Steam

forbes.com logo

Equal Pay For Women: Why The U.S. Needs To Catch Up On Data Disclosure And Transparency

April 10, 2018

Alison Omens , Contributor
co-authored by Sharon Block

The United States has fallen behind on equal pay. According to JUST Capital’s 2017 Rankings, 78 of the 875 largest publicly-traded U.S. companies have conducted pay equity analyses, while only 54 have established a policy, as well as targets, for diversity and equal opportunity – that’s 9% and 6% of these corporations, respectively. When it comes to pay equity, corporations in the U.S. are not beholden to the same rules as those in other nations, and are lagging when it comes to equal pay for women.

bloomberg law logo

Labor Board Official Parries Criticism on ‘No-Plan’ Plan

April 4, 2018

Hassan A. Kanu
Bloomberg Law


The National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel is standing firm on a series of proposals to restructure the agency starting next year even as concern within the NLRB about the plans is said to have reached a boiling point.

Peter Robb refused to withdraw the proposals per a request from the union representing agency staffers at headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg Law. Although Congress kept the board’s funding steady this year, Robb noted that the White House budget request for next year is “well below” the current allotment.


“He seems to be doubling down on the budget rationale, but it just doesn’t ring true that the president’s budget would drive these kinds of changes in a practical sense,” Block said. “If he’s got other reasons, then he should tell people what those reasons are.”

2018 Apr 04

Labor Problem: Can We Create Just Supply Chains in the Global Economy?



Wiener Auditorium, Taubman Building, Harvard Kennedy School

Please join us for the first Pollak Lecture Series event of 2018. Richard M. Locke, Provost and Schreiber Family Professor of Political Science and Public and International Affairs at Brown University, will speak. Marshall Ganz, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, will provide an introduction. 

Co-sponsored by:  by Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Relations and Resource Development. The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Carr Center for Human Rights, Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, and the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government are co-sponsors. 

2018 Apr 25

Equal Pay Act @ 55: Successes, Challenges & Momentum

10:00am to 12:00pm


WCC 2019 Milstein West A, Harvard Law School

event poster

Registration 9:30am | Program 10:00am – 12:00pm

It’s been 55 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, so where are we now? Join HLS Labor & Worklife Program and Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Charlotte Burrows for a panel discussion that explores the state of equal pay, its successes, challenges and momentum. The panel includes diverse leading perspectives from academia, business leaders, enforcement, and advocacy. The opening keynote is Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Please RSVP at EqualPayRSVP@eeoc.gov




usa today logo

Minor League Baseball players are latest victims of anti-worker Trump and GOP

March 29, 2018

Sharon Block, Opinion contributor
USA Today

Congress just killed workplace protections for underpaid minor league baseball players. Notch another win for the 1% under Republicans and Donald Trump. 

The team owners who make up Major League Baseball had spent more than two years and more than $1 million lobbying Congress and the White House to exempt themselves from having to pay minor league players minimum wage and overtime.