In recent years, states and cities across the U.S. have pursued a range of creative -- and increasingly assertive -- efforts to strengthen workers' rights. New standards-setting legislation has been enacted that establishes sharply higher minimum wages, guarantees various forms of paid leave, prohibits abusive scheduling practices, and provides access to public retirement savings programs, among other measures. However, legislation that would directly strengthen worker organizing has been pursued more tentatively and with less success. Notable initiatives in this vein include legislation to allow app-based drivers to unionize in Seattle and a law in New York City that would allow fast food workers to form a novel form of organization and fund it through payroll deductions.
In this panel, a diverse set of speakers will take stock of the new wave of policies concerning workers’ rights, assess strengths and limitations, and discuss strategies for furthering a pro-worker agenda at the state and city level.
Janice Fine, Professor of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, will provide an overview and analysis of the recent wave of state and local activity on workers’ rights.
Mansoor Khan, Organizing Coordinator at SEIU, will discuss the history of unionization among publicly-financed home care and child care providers. Driven by state and local policy innovations, home care and child care workers’ successes over the past two decades, followed by recent setbacks, hold important lessons for current strategy.
Sam Krinsky, Research Director at the New York City Office of Labor Policy and Standards, will review recent proposals for using wage boards and benefit programs to strengthen worker organizing and discuss how these can be implemented by states and cities despite constraints posed by federal law.