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Public Policy 290
Course number: 15670
Schedule: Tuesday, 2:00 – 4:59 pm

The labor movement in California and the nation overall faces significant challenges, made more urgent since the 2016 federal elections. This course will focus on: (a) the current employment conditions of low-wage workers and the causes of growing wage inequality (e.g., wage theft, subcontracting, contingent work, racial and gender labor stratification, and declining unionization); (b) the new attacks on organized labor such as right to work legislation and court decisions; and (c) how organized labor is responding with innovative organizing strategies, policy advocacy, and political action.

Students will analyze policy campaigns that have led to significant gains for American workers in the form of state and local mandates on wages, paid family leave, and healthcare. Students will also explore proposals to address the gig economy and the future of work, such as universal basic income, portable benefits, and full employment strategies. Students will consider new organizing strategies and community-labor alliances, including worker centers, community benefits agreements, green jobs organizing, and other regional and industry strategies. The class will draw upon cutting-edge research, and engage with organizers and practitioners to deepen students’ understanding of the labor movement’s role in promoting the right of all workers to a decent quality of life in 21st century US capitalism.

For more information, visit the Labor Center website.