Section Description Provided by Instructor
The United States working class is in crisis, accounting in part for the recent populist political movements of the far right and left. This course examines the role that law has played in the long-term transition from the economic and political "organization" of working people to their "disorganization;" the shift in bargaining power from labor (wages and salaries) to capital (profit and executive compensation); increased economic inequality; corrosion of workers' family and community life; and reconfiguration of the New Deal and Great Society partisan coalitions. The core legal subject of the course is the regulation of workers' and employers' collective organization, bargaining, economic leverage, and political participation. The course considers other fields of law insofar as they affect workplace relations and labor markets, including social insurance, financial regulation, taxation, regulation of consumption, constitutional regulation of economic and political speech, macroeconomic legal-policy, international trade law, and others. Finally, the course discusses options for fundamental re-working of workplace law, broadly conceived in this way.
This course has been offered to 1Ls in several past years. The 1L students have performed as well as upper-year students. The course presupposes no special prior knowledge -- that is, the legal, political, economic, and historical concepts that students must master are fully contained in the course materials and discussion.