"After Labor Law?  Reframing Labor Law as the Law of Economic Subordination"

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
12:30 - 2:00 pm
UCLA Public Affairs| Luskin Faculty Lounge 5391

Presented by Harry Arthurs, Osgoode Hall Law School

with Discussants: Goetz Wolff, UCLA Urban Planning & Catherine Fisk, UCI Chancellor's Professor of Law


About the Talk:

"Labour" is a term that is ceasing to have salience as the descriptor of a class, movement, scholarly or professional domain or field of public policy. Consequently, it becomes increasingly difficult to mobilize working people for political or industrial action or even to defend their legal rights and claim their legal entitlements. Perhaps, then, the future of labour law is to become what in an historical counterfactual it might always have been: "the law of economic subordination and resistance". Such a reframing of labour law might have many advantages.

About the Speakers:


Harry W. Arthurs is University Professor Emeritus, former Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School (1972-77)  and former President  of York University (1985-92).  He has  published extensively in the fields of  legal education and the legal profession,  legal history and legal theory,  labour and administrative law,  globalization and constitutionalism.  In addition to serving as  an arbitrator and mediator in labour disputes,  Arthurs has conducted inquiries and reviews at Canadian, British and American universities, and has  provided advice to governments on  issues ranging from higher education policy to the constitution to labour and employment law.   Most recently he has chaired reviews of federal labour standards legislation (2004-2006), Ontario pension legislation (2006-2008) and the funding of Ontario’s workplace safety and insurance system (2010-2012). 

Arthurs’ contributions have been recognized by his election as  an  Associate  of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and  a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.  He has been  awarded the  Canada Council’s  Killam Prize  for  his lifetime contributions to  the social sciences (2002), and both the Bora Laskin Prize (2003) and the Labour Law Research Network prize (2113) for his contributions to labour law.  He was also co-winner (with Joseph Stiglitz) of  the ILO’s Decent Work Research Prize (2008).   He has received honorary degrees from a number of Canadian universities. 


Goetz Wolff is a faculty member of the Urban Planning Dept. in UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs and in the Labor and Workplace Studies program, teaching primarily graduate courses focusing on economic development and social justice dimensions.  Goetz was the Research Director of the 800,000 member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO for six years. He has a long history of working on behalf of unions; he has recently consulted for the United Food and Commercial Workers, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the Teamsters.  Goetz was recently elected president of his UCLA local of the UC-American Federation of Teachers.  Goetz was graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Occidental College, and holds advanced degrees from Yale University.


Catherine Fisk

Catherine Fisk, Chancellor’s Professor of Law teaches and writes on the law of the workplace, legal history, civil rights and the legal profession. She is the author of dozens of articles and four books, including the prize-winning Working Knowledge: Employee Innovation and the Rise of the Corporate Intellectual Property, 1800-1930, and Labor Law in the Contemporary Workplace.

Her research focuses on workers at both the high end and the low end of the wage spectrum. She has written on union organizing among low-wage and immigrant workers as well as on labor issues in the entertainment industry, employee mobility in technology sectors, employer-employee disputes over attribution and ownership of intellectual property, the rights of employees and unions to engage in political activity, and labor law reform. She is the co-author of an innovative interdisciplinary casebook, The Legal Profession.


This event is presented by the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) and cosponsored by Globalization and Labor Standards (GALS), UCLA Canadian Studies Program (CSP), and UCLA Public Policy