Cynthia Estlund

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Show BioHide BioCynthia Estlund is the Catherine A. Rein Professor at the New York University School of Law, and a longtime teacher and scholar of labor and employment law. Her writings explore workplace regulation and governance; worker voice and procedural fairness at work; diversity, integration, and affirmative action; and many aspects of collective labor law, both in the U.S. and in comparative perspective. Her most recent book, A New Deal for China’s Workers? (HUP, 2017), offers a comparative perspective on reform and its limits in the wake of rising labor unrest in China. Earlier books include Regoverning the Workplace: From Self-Regulation to Co-Regulation (YUP, 2010), and Working Together: How Workplace Bonds Strengthen a Diverse Democracy (OUP, 2003). Estlund got her B.A. from Lawrence University, and her J.D. from Yale Law School. After clerking for Judge Patricia M. Wald on the D.C. Circuit, Estlund practiced labor law for several years, and then taught at the University of Texas School of Law and Columbia Law School before moving to NYU in 2006. She also served on the Obama Transition Team in 2008.

5 posts


Why Flexibility is Not Just a Trope

Published May 17th, 2018 -

The so-called “flexibility trope” that Professor Sachs identifies and dismantles in his recent post is, I fear, a bit of a red herring.  When Uber or other gig economy firms argue that workers will lose flexibility if they are classified as employees, I do not... More »


After Work: Automation and Employment Law, Part Three

Published August 3rd, 2017 -

For over a century, workers and their organizations have struggled to raise labor standards and expand employee rights and benefits.  Whatever the benefits to workers and the society, to any one private firm those laws represent a tax on employing human labor,... More »


After Work: Automation and Employment Law, Part Two

Published August 2nd, 2017 -

The challenge of automation is in many ways continuous with the challenges of “fissured” work – to use David Weil’s influential formulation.  In particular, both trends are driven in significant part by the costs and risks of employing human beings.  According... More »


After Work: Automation and Employment Law, Part One

Published August 1st, 2017 -

The labor world took notice when Andy Stern emerged from a years-long deep dive into the future of work, and concluded that the future will bring a lot less work.  His book, Raising the Floor, helped to spur a debate over the universal basic income (UBI), incl... More »