June 15, 2012
Collective Action at a Crossroads: A Critical Moment for Workers
David MadlandDirector, American Worker Project, Center for American Progress
Wilma LiebmanProfessorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School; former Chairman, National Labor Relations Board
Charles I. CohenSenior Counsel, Morgan Lewis
Catherine FiskChancellor's Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Nancy SchifferAssociate General Counsel, AFL-CIO
Over the past decade, workers’ collective action rights have been under constant attack. In the past two years, states like Wisconsin and Ohio have passed legislation stripping the collective bargaining rights of public employees, and similar legislation is being considered in numerous states. In addition, so-called “right to work” laws have been passed in numerous states, including most recently, Indiana. At the same time, the Supreme Court has severely limited the rights of workers and consumers to take collective action to vindicate their statutory rights. Recently, however, the National Labor Relations Board in D.R. Horton said that class actions for workers are protected under the National Labor Relations Act. What interaction, if any, does the D.R. Horton decision have with the Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion upholding class action waivers in consumer mandatory arbitration agreements? What lies ahead for the collective rights of workers?