David Kucera and Dora Sari. Forthcoming. “ “New Labour Rights Indicators: Method and Trends for 2000-2015”.” International Labour Review. DataAbstract
The Labour Rights Indicators are based on coding the findings of selected nine sources and compiling this information in a readily accessible and concise manner. It is designed to be used both by practitioners and researchers. It builds on five basic elements: the premises of definitional validity, reproducibility and transparency; the 108 violation type used to code violations in law and practice; the textual sources selected for coding; the general and source-specific coding rules; and the rules to convert the coded information into normalized indicators. The country profiles provide detailed and verifiable information over time that can be easily traced back to the original textual source.
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.
Terri Gerstein. 8/27/2020. Workers’ rights protection and enforcement by state attorneys general. Economic Policy Institute. Economic Policy Institute.Abstract

Key takeaways

  • State attorneys general (AGs) have been playing a key role in enforcing and protecting workers’ rights.
  • State AGs have dramatically increased their involvement in this area in recent years; this report documents these activities in detail. Here are just a few examples of the many ways state AGs are protecting workers’ rights:
    • Helping workers attain safer working conditions during the pandemic
    • Recovering stolen wages through civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions
    • Fighting misclassification of workers as independent contractors instead of employees
    • Cracking down on companies’ use of noncompete and no-poach agreements, which limit job mobility
    • Proposing and supporting legislation to safeguard workers’ rights
  • State AG offices engaged in workers’ rights issues should continue to build on the work they’re doing, and more state AGs should join the effort.
  • State legislatures should grant explicit authority to state attorneys general to enforce workplace rights laws and should ideally also fund positions for enforcement.
  • Worker organizations and advocates should seek to build relationships and work with their state AGs to safeguard workers’ rights in their states.
Protecting Workers through Publicity: Promoting Workplace Law Compliance through Strategic Communication
Terri Gerstein and Tanya Goldman. 6/30/2020. Protecting Workers through Publicity: Promoting Workplace Law Compliance through Strategic Communication. LWP and Clasp.Abstract

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program have released a new toolkit on strategic communication, a critical component of driving compliance with workplace laws. Communicating about agency enforcement, which is critical to informing the public about their rights and responsibilities, is one of the most effective ways to deter violations. These goals are more important than ever as labor enforcement agencies strive to protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

This resource addresses why agencies should use media and other means of strategic communications and offers suggestions on how to do so. In a moment of reduced state budgets and limited resources, media coverage and strategic communications are a cost-effective way for agencies to multiply their impact and inform workers of their rights.

Download report

Why the Pandemic Paves the Way for Labor Reform
Sharon Block and BENJAMIN SACHS. 5/20/2020. “Why the Pandemic Paves the Way for Labor Reform”.
Jane Flanagan, Terri Gerstein, and PATRICIA SMITH. 5/15/2020. How States and Localities Can Protect Workplace Safety and Health . NELP and LWP.
Terri Gerstein and Jane Flanagan. 4/28/2020. State and local labor standards enforcement during COVID-19. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. Publisher's Version
Construction Workers and the Gig Economy
Mark Erlich. 4/2020. “Construction Workers and the Gig Economy.” Dissent Magazine. Download article
Larry Beeferman. 1/14/2020. U.S. Investors’ Understanding of Workplace Policies and Practices and the Need to Change Them: Progress and Future Efforts. Publisher's VersionAbstract
There have been increasing efforts by investors to spur disclosure of companies' workplace-related policies and practices. This paper provides a "case of first impression" assessment of the state of the field of such efforts among U.S. investors. Part I describes attributes of some of the important actors - investors and investor-related organizations - in the field, including their goals, their particular focus on workplace-related issues, and the standards/frameworks/criteria for what should be disclosed relevant to such an analysis. Part II offers a characterization of the success of efforts in the field to date and details challenges posed to making further progress. Part III provides suggestions and ideas about how those challenges might be might.
Lisa XU and Mark Erlich. 12/15/2019. Economic Consequences of Misclassification in the State of Washington. Labor and Worklife Program. Cambridge: Harvard law School. Publisher's Version
Terri Gerstein. 11/20/2019. “Commentary: Don't suppress votes of new citizens.” Sun Sentenial. Publisher's Version
Why conservatives must take principled action for workers
Terri Gerstein. 9/17/2019. “Why conservatives must take principled action for workers.” Publisher's Version
What California should do next to help Uber drivers
Sharon Block and BENJAMIN SACHS. 9/13/2019. “What California should do next to help Uber drivers.” Washington Post. Publisher's Version
Addressing Racial Exclusion Through Sectoral Bargaining
Christine Blumauer. 7/23/2019. “Addressing Racial Exclusion Through Sectoral Bargaining.”
Mark Erlich and Terri Gerstein. 6/25/2019. Confronting Misclassification and Payroll Fraud:A Survey of State Labor Standards Enforcement Agencies. Cambridge : Labor and Worklife, Harvard Law School. Publisher's Version
India is wise to curb big tech's monopolistic ways
Vivek Wadhwa. 2/7/2019. “India is wise to curb big tech's monopolistic ways.” Economic Times. Publisher's Version
From Immigrants to Robots: The Changing Locus of Substitutes for Workers
Richard B. Freeman and George J. Borjas. 1/2019. “From Immigrants to Robots: The Changing Locus of Substitutes for Workers”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Increased use of robots has roused concern about how robots and other new technologies change the world of work. Using numbers of robots shipped to primarily manufacturing industries as a supply shock to an industry labor market, we estimate that an additional robot reduces employment and wages in an industry by roughly as much as an additional 2 to 3 workers and by 3 to 4 workers in particular groups, which far exceed estimated effects of an additional immigrant on employment and wages. While the growth of robots in the 1996-2016 period of our data was too modest to be a major determinant of wages and employment, the estimated coefficients suggest that continued exponential growth of robots could disrupt job markets in the foreseeable future and thus merit attention from labor analysts.