Not Part of the Bargain: Worker Centers and Labor Law in Sociohistorical Context

December
2014
Thomas I.M. Gottheil

The American labor movement is in trouble. As union density declines and worker organizing becomes more difficult, a relatively new model, the worker center, has emerged to organize low-wage immigrant workers. Worker centers devise a broad range of strategies and internal structures to meet the challenges of the contemporary organizing landscape, and these strategies would not be possible were worker centers considered labor organizations under labor law. Recently, anti-union groups and members of Congress have shifted focus to worker centers, urging that they be regulated under the National Labor Relations Act. By examining the history of labor law and the structure of worker centers, this Note argues that regulation of worker centers under the NLRA would be inappropriate, ahistorical, and an unreasonable restriction on the associational rights of workers.

This article appears in the December 2014 Issue: Volume 89, Number 6