2013

The Unbundled Union: Politics Without Collective Bargaining
Benjamin I. Sachs. 2013. “The Unbundled Union: Politics Without Collective Bargaining.” Yale Law Journal, Vol. 123, Pp. 148-207. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Public policy in the United States is disproportionately responsive to the wealthy, and the traditional response to this problem, campaign finance regulation, has failed. As students of politics have long recognized, however, political influence flows not only from wealth but also from organization, a form of political power open to all income groups. Accordingly, as this Essay argues, a promising alternative to campaign finance regulations is legal interventions designed to facilitate political organizing by the poor and middle class. To date, the most important legal intervention of this kind has been labor law, and the labor union has been the central vehicle for this type of organizing. But the labor union as a political-organizational vehicle suffers a fundamental flaw: unions bundle political organization with collective bargaining, a highly contested form of economic organization. As a result, opposition to collective bargaining impedes unions' ability to serve as a political-organizing vehicle for lower and middle-income groups. Public policy in the United States is disproportionately responsive to the wealthy, and the traditional response to this problem, campaign finance regulation, has failed. As students of politics have long recognized, however, political influence flows not only from wealth but also from organization, a form of political power open to all income groups. Accordingly, as this Essay argues, a promising alternative to campaign finance regulations is legal interventions designed to facilitate political organizing by the poor and middle class. To date, the most important legal intervention of this kind has been labor law, and the labor union has been the central vehicle for this type of organizing. But the labor union as a political-organizational vehicle suffers a fundamental flaw: unions bundle political organization with collective bargaining, a highly contested form of economic organization. As a result, opposition to collective bargaining impedes unions' ability to serve as a political-organizing vehicle for lower and middle-income groups. This Essay proposes that labor law unbundle the union, allowing employees to organize politically through the union form without also organizing economically for collective bargaining purposes. Doing so would have the immediate effect of liberating political-organizational efforts from the constraints of collective bargaining, an outcome that could mitigate representational inequality. The Essay identifies the legal reforms that would be necessary to enable such unbundled "political unions" to succeed. It concludes by looking beyond the union context and suggesting a broader regime of reforms aimed at facilitating political organizing by those income groups for whom representational inequality is now a problem.
2013 May 16

Promoting Labor and Human Rights Through Investments

9:00am to 4:00pm

Location: 

U.S. Department of State 320 21st Street, NW Washington, DC 20520

US Dept of State LogoCo sponsored with the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. 
Participants included activist pension fund, SRI, and other institutional investors, US. State Department officials and staff.
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Larry Beeferman and Allan Wain. 8/2013. I N F R A S T R U C T U R E: Deciding Matters. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Second in a series of papers, the first entitled ‘Infrastructure: Defining Matters’

This paper builds upon the understanding of infrastructure developed in “Infrastructure:Defining Matters.” Through a primarily case study approach it explores in-depth a particular method of deciding upon infrastructure investments and identifies ways that decision-making can be strengthened drawing upon that understanding and a revised version of the linked categories for analysis based on them, which were described in the previous publication.

2013 May 01

ELEVENTH ANNUAL PENSIONS AND CAPITAL STEWARDSHIP CONFERENCE

Wed - Fri, May 1 to May 3, 9:00am - 5:50pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

From May 1 to May 3, 2013, the Project held its eleventh annual conference, attended by pension trustees from across the United States as well as from Canada and the United Kingdom.  They were joined by scholars, researchers, and practitioners from the U.S., Canada, France, and Australia, and Colombia. The conference explored a range of issues concerned with possible fund investment in emerging market countries: the political, social, legal, economic, etc. landscape  of the countries in which those investments might be made; the factors and considerations which funds attend to when contemplating investments of this kind; the relationship between emerging market country development goals and investors’ goals; and the rationale for and means by which funds take into account the impact of their investments on the countries which are the object of that investment. 
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2013 Feb 14

"ORGANIZING THE FUTURE OF WORK"

4:00pm to 6:00pm

Saket Soni
Saket Soni
Executive Director
New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and
National Guestworker Alliance

 

Elissa McBride
Opening Remarks by
Elissa McBride,
Director of Education and Leadership Training, AFSCME
 

Opening Remarks by Elissa McBride:
"Born and raised in New Delhi, India, Saket Soni has been a driving force in the effort to secure justice for workers fighting for their dignity in post-Katrina New Orleans. During the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, black workers whose families had lived in New Orleans for generations were denied jobs. At the same time, thousands of immigrant workers were given false promises of steady jobs, fair pay, great conditions and even permanent legal status...Saket Soni brought those workers together, linking their struggles across the lines of race and class and citizenship. He helped build a broad platform from which they could wage an inspiring fight for justice and dignity."

 Brochure of full transcript: [Download]