New Article: Charlotte Alexander, Anna Haley-Lock & Nantiya Ruan, Stabilizing Low-Wage Work, 50 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1 (2015). Abstract below:
Low-wage, hourly-paid service workers are increasingly subject to employers’ “just-in-time” scheduling practices. In a just-in-time model, employers give workers little advance notice of their schedules, call workers in to work during non-scheduled times to meet unexpected customer demand, and send workers home early when business is slow. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the main guarantor of workers’ wage and hour rights, provides no remedy for the unpredictable work hours and income instability caused by employers’ last minute call-in and send-home practices. This Article examines two alternative
sources of legal protection that have received little attention in the literature on low-wage work: provisions in unionized workers’ collective bargaining agreements that guarantee a minimum number of hours of pay when workers are
called in to or sent home from work unexpectedly, and state laws that contain similar guaranteed-pay provisions. The Article concludes by assessing these
tools’ effectiveness in stabilizing low-wage work.
New Article: Luke Herrine, Credit Reporting’s Vicious Cycles, NYU Rev. L. & Soc. Change forthcoming, SSRN 2015. Abstract below:
This article argues that consumer credit reports can create two sorts of vicious cycles, which can contribute to to cycles of poverty and deepen race-based disenfranchisement. The first takes place in credit markets themselves. Even on a neoclassical model of credit reporting, credit reports can amplify past problems with debt, most of which are brought on by systemic inequality. Loosening the neoclassical model reveals the possibility of even more drastic inequality amplification. The second cycle arises when credit reports are used on extra-lending contexts. In non-lending contexts such as employment credit checks, credit reports do not seem to provide any useful information to employers, but they do reinforce the first vicious cycle and the disadvantage it amplifies. In quasi-lending contexts like insurance pricing, credit reports may provide predictive information, but the information they reveal seems only to be economic instability and by forcing economically unstable individuals to pay more for insurance, they deepen their economic instability. The article concludes with several policy implications.
New Article: Noah D. Zatz, Special Treatment Everywhere, Special Treatment Nowhere, 95 B.U. L. Rev. 1155 (2015).
New Article: Jayesh Rathod, Riding the Wave: Uplifting Labor Organizations Through Immigration Reform, 4 UC Irvine L. Rev. 625 (2014). Abstract below:
In recent years, labor unions in the United States have embraced the immigrants’ rights movement, cognizant that the very future of organized labor depends on its ability to attract immigrant workers and integrate them into union ranks. At the same time, the immigrants’ rights movement has been lauded for its successful organizing models, often drawing upon the vitality and ingenuity of immigrant-based worker centers, which themselves have emerged as alternatives to traditional labor unions. And while the labor and immigrants’ rights movements have engaged in some fruitful collaborations, their mutual support has failed to radically reshape the trajectory of either cause.
In this Article, I argue that the ongoing legislative debates around immigration reform provide a unique opportunity to reimagine and revitalize traditional organized labor and to strengthen newer, immigrant-centered worker organizations. In my view, this can be accomplished by positioning unions and worker organizations as key actors in immigration processes (for both temporary and permanent immigration) and in any likely legalization initiative. Their specific roles might include sponsoring or indirectly supporting certain visa applications, facilitating the portability of employment-related visas from one employer to another, offering training opportunities to meet immigration requirements, assisting with legalization applications, leading immigrant integration initiatives, and more.
Apart from the instrumental objective of attracting immigrants to the ranks of unions and worker organizations, this set of proposals will position these institutions as sites where the virtues of leadership, democratic participation, and civic engagement can be forged in new Americans. Indeed, these virtues coincide with the founding values of most U.S. labor unions; to the extent some unions have strayed from these values, the proposals provide an external imperative to reorient and rebrand unions as core civil society institutions. Moreover, immigrant worker centers have already become known for their focus on leadership development, democratic decision making, and civic education, and are therefore uniquely positioned to play this role. This convergence of utilitarian and transcendent objectives, in the current sociopolitical moment, justifies a special position for unions and worker organizations in the U.S. immigration system.