UC Irvine Symposium Looks at a Post-Labor Union World

With labor unions losing ground around the world, a two-day symposium kicking off this morning at UC Irvine has gathered together academics, advocates and labor lawyers to explore a post-union world.

Presentations are tasked to answer these questions: What are alternatives to or improvements upon the Wagner Act model of majority unions and workplace collective bargaining? What institutional structures could be or have been created to provide dignity, opportunity and protection to work?

According to a UC Irvine School of Law statement:

The panelists present a range of ideas and approaches to the challenge. They propose to increase the voice of workers without unions and to increase transparency about workplace standards; they describe and generalize from alliances between labor and environmental groups to change local law regarding independent contractor status; they propose reforms of immigration law, changes in the structure of bargaining and union elections and changes the legal rights and obligations of unions in right to work states. 

Each panel combines ideas presented by scholars for legal change with commentary by lawyers with significant contemporary experience in practice with the problems that the papers attempt to address. It is our hope that the conversation between scholars and practitioners about the nature of contemporary workplaces, the weaknesses of the current system, and the proposals for change will yield a wide-ranging and creative discussion about realistic proposals for change and will inspire scholars and practitioners alike to consider new ways of enforcing labor standards.

There are formal, scheduled panels and topics of discussion and addresses. But the university says lawyers from non-governmental organizations and law school clinics who support low-wage, immigrant worker organizing will also meet throughout Saturday.

Featured speakers are: Fran Ansley, University of Tennessee; Sameer Ashar,  UCI School of Law; Dan Clifton, Lewis, Clifton & Nikolaidis, P.C.; Lance Compa, Cornell University,  ILR School; Marion Crain, Washington University Law; Scott Cummings, UCLA School of Law; Matt Dimick, SUNY Buffalo Law; Cynthia Estlund, NYU Law; Catherine Fisk, UCI School of Law; Betty Hung, Asian Pacific American Legal Center; Stephen Lee, UCI School of Law; Marie Kennedy, UCLA ILR; Wilma Liebman, National Labor Relations Board; Deborah Malamud, NYU Law; and Chris Newman, National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Also, Brian Olney, UCI School of Law; Michael Oswalt, SEIU Law Fellow; Jayesh Rathod, American University, Washington College of Law; César Rosado Marzán, Chicago-Kent Law; Ben Sachs, Harvard Law; Judith Scott, general counsel, Service Employees International Union; Anthony Segall, general counsel, Writers Guild of America, West; Michael Selmi, George Washington Law School; Katherine Stone, UCLA School of Law; Chris Tilly, UCLA ILR; Chris Williams, Workers' Law Office, P.C.; Haeyoung Yoon, National Employment Law Project; and Noah Zatz, UCLA School of Law.

For the complete program and other information, visit www.law.uci.edu/events/labor_law_symposium_feb2013.html.

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