Work, Justice, and the Labor Movement

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Public Policy 190 – 006 Special Topics in Public Policy

Course Number: 17530
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Off Campus: UC Berkeley Labor Center | 2521 Channing Way
Instructor: Anibel Ferus-Comelo

This course provides a broad, interdisciplinary overview of the U.S. labor movement in the fight for social and economic justice. It will introduce students to critiques of capitalism and the power dynamics inherent in paid work, while considering why and how workers form unions in response. One of the primary objectives of this course is to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of contemporary workers’ experiences of work in the U.S. shaped by race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, language, religion, and other social constructs. There will be a special comparative focus on the role of structures and the space for agency and mobilization in the Latinx, Black and Asian American communities. The course will cover current challenges facing the US workforce, such as wage theft, temporary and contingent employment, corporate restructuring, the impact of technology, and globalization. Disruptive innovations in workers’ rights campaigns such as the Fight for $15 and teachers’ walk-outs have led a resurgence of bargaining for the common good. The course will integrate guest speakers, films, current news, blogs, and community engagement to deepen students’ appreciation of the role of unions and workers’ centers in promoting intersectional equity and justice.

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