News & Commentary

January 3, 2024

Jacqueline Rayfield

Jacqueline Rayfield is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s News and Commentary, Michelle Miller joins the Center for Labor and a Just Economy (CLJE), and labor commentators prepare for another ground-breaking year.

Harvard Law School’s CLJE announced Michelle Miller as the first Director of Innovation. Her work will focus on the impact of digital surveillance and other new technology on the experience of workers and on workers’ ability to build power. Miller explained: “The labor movement has the potential to profoundly impact the development of these technologies and ensure that they provide benefit, not harm, to all people in the future.” For the past 10 years, Miller led, supporting workers in large companies like Starbucks, REI, and Google to improve wages, benefits, and scheduling in their work.

After an unprecedented year of strikes and labor wins, labor scholars and analysts see another big year ahead in 2024. 1.1 million workers are covered by union contracts which are due to expire this year. While two of the largest groups among them, postal workers and rail workers, have a limited ability to strike, teachers in Chicago and Los Angeles and Boeing Machinists could all be ready to walk out. Labor scholars suggest that labor success, from writers to autoworkers, could galvanize new organizing and militant bargaining.

Labor analysts expect more election petitions and unfair labor practice charges from unions in 2024. The Board’s decision in Cemex coupled with a new NLRB rule that speeds up union election procedure will provide new opportunities for unions to flex their legal muscles. Some commentators, however, warn that business groups will continue to fight implementation of these new legal strategies in court.

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