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Benjamin Sachs

  • NBCUniversal Told Managers to Fight Unions in Role-Playing Exercise

    April 18, 2023

    Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal held a role-play session for managers about how to defeat union drives, a task the training materials for the exercise said was…

  • Howard Schultz Takes the Hot Seat

    March 28, 2023

    When Starbucks founder Howard Schultz appears before U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Wednesday, he can expect a…

  • Big Starbucks Ruling Gives NLRB Chance to Flex Its Remedy Muscle

    March 6, 2023

    Starbucks Corp. and other companies are on notice that, with a sweeping ruling from a judge last week, the National Labor Relations Board is signaling…

  • ‘Old-school union busting’: how US corporations are quashing the new wave of organizing

    February 27, 2023

    US corporations have mounted a fierce counterattack against the union drives at Starbucks, Amazon and other companies, and in response, federal officials are working overtime…

  • Warehouse workers joining hands in a circle.

    Shaping law to build a more just economy

    January 31, 2023

    At an event last week to celebrate the launch of the Center for Labor and a Just Economy at Harvard Law School, Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined what she said are the many opportunities and challenges now facing the labor movement.  

  • The State of Unions

    January 26, 2023

    What do we do when we have the public on our side, when we have workers in motion, when we see people playing by the…

  • Chipotle Borrows From Starbucks’ Playbook As Workers Push To Unionize

    January 9, 2023

    In December 2021, Winifer Pena Ruiz got a new job at a Chipotle in the Bronx. She was an aspiring student, and she hoped the…

  • Experts See Starbucks Union’s Impact 1 Year After First Win

    December 14, 2022

    The Workers United campaign to unionize Starbucks grabbed the public’s attention when it won its first representation election at a store in Buffalo, New York,…

  • Apple’s first unionized workers say the company is withholding new benefits

    October 31, 2022

    Organizers at Apple’s Towson Town Center store in Maryland claim that the company isn’t telling the whole truth when it comes to withholding benefits from…

  • Apple to withhold latest employee perks from its only unionized store

    October 17, 2022

    Apple Inc. is withholding its latest employee benefits from staff who work at its sole unionized retail store, a move that could potentially inflame labor…

  • Apple to withhold latest employee perks from unionized store

    October 14, 2022

    Apple Inc. is withholding its latest employee benefits from staff who work at its sole unionized retail store, a move that could potentially inflame labor…

  • Amazon labor union protesters

    ‘It just shouldn’t be this hard’

    September 20, 2022

    This is an encouraging moment for labor law — and a potentially scary one as well, according to Harvard Law School Professor of Practice Sharon Block.

  • The Amazon Labor Union beat a behemoth — can it keep winning?

    April 26, 2022

    Today, workers at Amazon’s LDJ5 warehouse facility will vote on whether to organize with the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), the same union that pulled off a historic win at another Staten Island, New York, facility earlier this month. With ballots scheduled to be counted on May 2nd, the election will last just one week. After months of slow buildup, workers are just a week away from learning whether their site will unionize — assuming there aren’t any tiebreaker court fights of the kind that held up Bessemer’s second vote. ... “It seems to me that Amazon has to worry about its public persona, and to be viewed as viciously anti-union and anti-worker at this moment in history is probably a bad look for them,” said Benjamin Sachs, a professor of labor and industry at Harvard Law School, in an interview with The Verge. According to Sachs, support from the public and policymakers is a factor in the ALU’s favor. “I think the support from President Biden matters. I think the visible support from the National Labor Relations Board to enforce the law matters,” Sachs said. “Broad public support definitely matters in a lot of ways. It helps to embolden workers who are making this decision about whether to support the union, knowing that the country is essentially behind them.”

  • Amazon workers in Staten Island have unionized in historic win

    April 4, 2022

    Amazon workers have voted to unionize for the first time in the company's history in the United States, securing a sweeping and unexpected victory in a National Labor Relations Board election for a group of around 8,000 workers at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York. Amazon Labor Union secured 2,654 "yes" votes to Amazon's 2,131 "no" votes. The union won the election with 55% of the vote, a lead of 523 votes. The union and Bloomberg both declared victory for unionization Friday morning. ... "Amazon is a corporation with massive essentially unlimited resources which it has deployed to stop workers from exercising their right to organize, and that nonetheless the workers have been able to do it. And they deserve enormous credit for that," Benjamin Sachs, a labor and industry professor at Harvard Law School, told Protocol immediately after the Staten Island victory was announced.

  • Workplace Activists Build Mettle At Harvard’s Grad Union

    March 17, 2022

    Annie Hollister had designs on a public interest career when she entered law school in fall 2017 as the campaign to organize Harvard University's graduate student workers and teaching assistants geared up for a second election. Hollister had inherited a "vaguely positive attitude" toward unions from her father, a member of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 52. So she was an easy sell when a classmate approached her about signing a union card in the lead-up to a rerun election, but not quite a true believer. ... Benjamin Sachs, a professor at Harvard Law School and a co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program, said he's observed an uptick in interest in the labor program over the last several years amid broader public attention to unions. Now, labor law courses are overenrolled and students face long waitists to join seminars in advanced labor topics. "My sense is that participation in the graduate student union has been an incredibly important and formative experience for a lot of those students," alongside other initiatives, like the Clean Slate for Worker Power project that reimagines labor law, Sachs said.

  • Sharon Block

    Labor law expert Sharon Block appointed professor of practice

    March 15, 2022

    Sharon Block, a labor policy expert who most recently served as acting administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Biden administration, has been appointed professor of practice.

  • Washington state eyes law that would give rideshare workers benefits, independent status

    March 9, 2022

    The state of Washington could be on its way to adopting a law with big implications for the gig economy. State lawmakers have passed a bill that offers ride-hailing drivers some new benefits. The bill bars them from being classified as employees. Washington is the latest state to grapple with providing rideshare driver benefits – like sick leave and minimum pay — while still giving drivers flexibility over their schedules. Lawmakers there sought some input from organized labor. ... Benjamin Sachs at Harvard Law School said under that law, employees can still have control over their hours. “There is nothing inconsistent between being an employee and having a flexible work arrangement,” he said, adding that remote workers often set their own schedules and are still considered employees.

  • Union labor complaint against Amazon takes aim at “captive audience meetings”

    February 25, 2022

    Organizers of an effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board this week, challenging the company’s right to require employees to attend anti-union presentations at work, a common tactic that is currently considered legal. These so-called “captive audience” meetings are usually held at workplaces during work hours, where employers make their case. ... Labor advocates have long argued unions should be offered equal time in workplaces to present their own information said Benjamin Sachs, co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. “It would also be a big deal symbolically, because it would symbolize that the union was not so much an outsider,” he said.