BLASI / ABEL
This course focuses on the legal problems of low wage and contingent workers and the various legal, organizing, and community development strategies that have been developed to address them. Rather than superimposing the schema of academic law on the problem, we have approached from the other direction: Looking at important sectors of the low wage and contingent labor forces and important episodes in dealing with problems of poor working conditions and subminimum wages, what are the major legal issues? What do lawyers working in this area need to know, in addition to basic labor and employment law? What are the important modes of interaction between law and regulation on the books, and the actual employment conditions of housecleaners, garment workers, janitors, and day laborers? We will be joined by practicing advocates with deep knowledge in the four cases studies we will examine: (1) the garment industry in Los Angeles and the Garment Workers' Center; (2) domestic workers and day laborers and efforts to develop cooperatives and supportive institutions; (3) the Justice for Janitors campaign and other low wage union organizing campaigns; and (4) living wage ordinances and other political and organizing approaches. Students may opt for a placement with an advocacy organization and produce a paper based in significant part on their field observations, or students may choose to write a more traditional research paper.