Re-Imagining Labor Law

Building Worker Collectivities After the NLRA

Symposium Jointly Sponsored by UC Irvine School of Law and the Labor Law Group

February 22-23, 2013
University of California, Irvine School of Law

The goal of the symposium is to think about alternatives to the Wagner Act and employment law models of workplace protection. Eminent and rising scholars, experienced lawyers, and lawyers engaged in working with worker centers and other new types of organizations have been asked to consider fundamental 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?

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.

In addition to the symposium program detailed below, lawyers from non-governmental organizations and law school clinics who support low-wage, immigrant worker organizing will meet throughout the day on February 23. These sessions will focus on current issues and legal capacity needs of organizers, and sharing and drafting best practices. Immigrant Worker Center Sessions program (PDF)

Featured Speakers

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

Wilma Liebman
National Labor
Relations Board

Deborah Malamud

Chris Newman
National Day Laborer
Organizing Network

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

Anthony Segall
General Counsel
Writers Guild of America, West

Katherine Stone
UCLA School of Law

Chris Tilly

Chris Williams
Workers’ Law Office, P.C.

Haeyoung Yoon
National Employment
Law Project

Noah Zatz
UCLA School of Law