June 20, 2014

Workers and Their Unions: Knox, Harris and the Aftermath

Catherine Fisk, Harris v. Quinn, Kent Greenfield, Knox v. SEIU, Nicole Berner, Sarita Gupta, Scott A. Kronland

Kent Greenfield

Boston College Law School
Begin: 0:00

Catherine Fisk

University of California Irvine School of Law
Begin: 4:19

Scott A. Kronland

Altshuler Berzon LLP
Begin: 15:34

Nicole Berner

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Begin: 28:00

Sarita Gupta

Jobs With Justice
Begin: 37:54

This year, the Supreme Court revisited its review of the First Amendment as applied to union dues in the case of Harris v. Quinn, where the Court considered the right to collective bargaining by low wage homecare workers. Many consider the case a follow-up to Knox v. SEIU, Local 1000 and a possible death knell for public employee unions’ ability to function as they have for decades. Some have even declared that the case may be the beginning of the end for private sector unions. What does this case really mean for the right of workers to engage in collective action and form unions? What do Knox and Harris represent with respect to union treatment under the First Amendment, and are different rights afforded to corporate entities? What can workers and their unions do in response to an unfavorable ruling in Harris? And can current labor laws, such as section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, be strengthened or reimagined to support concerted activity for all workers, both union and nonunion?


Nicole Berner, Associate General Counsel, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Catherine Fisk, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California Irvine School of Law
Kent Greenfield, Professor of Law and Dean’s Research Scholar, Boston College Law School
Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice
Scott A. Kronland, Partner, Altshuler Berzon LLP