With workers more and more confronting common legal issues worldwide, often involving multiple jurisdictions, it is increasingly critical to the effective representation of workers and unions to unite legal practitioners and scholars to exchange information and ideas from around the world.
Unions & Worker Organizations
Research & Publications
Although the short-term effect of today’s decision is to throw 17 million public sector workers into uncertainty, it is also possible that Janus v. AFSCME will serve as a turning point for both a reinvigorated politics of labor and a revitalized conversation about the importance of the public sector to our social compact. Both our economy and our democracy depend on what happens next.
Perhaps the most important effect of a strong labor movement is the countervailing force it poses to the corporate sector in the political and public policy arenas. This effect is clearly visible in California. With the support and backing of labor, California has passed ambitious laws promoting the rights of workers—union and nonunion alike—as well as policies advancing the common good broadly.
A new study from UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education shows that California’s unions have had a strong impact on working families, regardless of union status, through their engagement in public policy. The third brief in a series, the findings were released as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that threatens to weaken public sector unions.
In this report, we present data for the state of California on the union advantage in wages and employer-sponsored health and retirement benefits for women, workers of color, and immigrants.
May 31, 2018
A Three-Part Series: The Union Effect in California
January 24, 2020
Worker Rights Lawyers Launch New Global Network—International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW)
February 8, 2020
Are You Serious About Winning? LIVE with Jane McAlevey
June 10, 2020
Jane McAlevey’s Vision for the Future of American Labor
June 27, 2018
What comes next? Janus v. AFSCME
Tools & Resources
“We’ve seen a big trend recently in the labor movement around bargaining for the common good,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. “It’s a focus that reflects that workers have lives that go beyond the workplace.”
Steven Pitts, a longtime labor economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said Biden should pursue two sets of labor policies. “One is try to raise and protect labor standards like a higher minimum wage and tougher safety rules,” he said. “Second is to build worker power into policy. Too often we focus on the former and not the latter.”
“We should draw a really clear line between how union busters surveil workers, versus how workers offer up their own connections via wall place charting [an exercise unions use to identify social and communication networks within a workplace and track progress toward winning a union drive] in an effort to win [union elections],” said Jane McAlevey.
UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education published a study in 2017 which found that PLA projects do not reduce the number of bidders, nor do they increase project costs.