Catherine Fisk

Catherine Fisk

Home » Catherine Fisk

Show BioHide BioCatherine Fisk is the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at UC Berkeley Law, where she 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, with UCI Law Professor Ann Southworth, of an innovative interdisciplinary casebook, The Legal Profession. Her current public service includes membership on the SEIU Ethics Review Board, the Board of Directors of the Wage Justice Center, and committees of the Law & Society Association.  Prior to joining the founding faculty of UC Irvine School of Law, Fisk was a chaired professor at Duke Law School, and was on the faculty of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.  She practiced law at a boutique Washington, D.C. firm and at the U.S. Department of Justice.  She received her J.D. at UC Berkeley, and an A.B., summa cum laude, from Princeton University.

28 posts


Reforming Police Unions

Published July 31st, 2017 -

The many recent instances of police killing civilians have sparked calls to fire and prosecute the officers involved, and outrage at the police unions’ defense of accused officers and resistance to summary discipline. People rightly wonder why the union concei... More »


Politics and the DOL Website

Published January 25th, 2017 -

I reported on Saturday that at the very moment Donald Trump was at the Capitol delivering his Inaugural Address promising a better life for the working class, a staffer was inside the Department of Labor taking information off the DOL website.  The first to go... More »


The New Regime

Published January 21st, 2017 -

President Trump’s first afternoon in office was short on major developments for labor rights.  The big news was that shortly after noon, a U.S. Department of Labor webpage about LGBT rights suddenly disappeared from the government’s website.  You can read the ... More »


The Future of Labor

Published November 18th, 2016 -

This post is part of a series on Labor in the Trump Years. From the end of Reconstruction up through the election of 2016, political elites have done a masterful job convincing the white working class that they do not share a common interest with nonwhite work... More »


Fact and Fiction About Graduate Student Unionizing

Published September 7th, 2016 -

When the NLRB in Columbia University held that university student workers are “employees” with the right to unionize, it restored at private universities a right student workers had between 2000 and 2004, a right that their counterparts have had in medical edu... More »


Why The NLRB Should Allow Graduate Student Bargaining

Published March 2nd, 2016 -

Jon Weinberg’s recent post analyzed why the Board should overrule Brown University and hold that Columbia University graduate student assistants are statutory employees within the meaning of Section 2(3) of the NLRA.  In a brief I co-authored and filed on beha... More »


What Scalia’s Replacement Could Mean for Workers

Published February 26th, 2016 -

If Justice Scalia’s replacement is progressive, the Supreme Court will have a five-Justice liberal majority for the first time in decades.  Given the significant number five-to-four decisions limiting the rights of and protections for workers, the importance o... More »


Public Employee Unions and Pensions

Published January 22nd, 2016 - and

Catherine Fisk is an OnLabor Senior Contributor.  Brian Olney is an Associate Attorney at Hadsell Stormer & Renick. Advocates of weakening public sector unions, both some who have filed briefs in the Friedrichs case and others who support anti-union legisl... More »