This course will give a brief overview of legal history and developments in labor and employment law pertinent to major issues impacting low wage workers. The class will focus on major organizing and policy campaigns and the role of community lawyers. A special emphasis will be the limitations of labor law and litigation in low wage worker organizing campaigns and the ways in which lawyers have been able to craft creative legal strategies in response to these limitations. There will be much emphasis on strategic problem solving by using the examples of current organizing campaigns in Los Angeles.
Our case studies will include: 1.) the CLEAN Carwash Campaign, 2.) the day laborer organizing movement and the First Amendment, 3.) the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, 4.) hotel workers and living wage campaigns, 5.) community benefits agreements, and 6.) the LA Black Worker Center. Legal practitioners, organizers, workers and community members will be brought in to illustrate the use of legal strategies in conjunction with other tools of organizing: policy advocacy, direct actions, coalition building, media outreach, etc.
Optional Associated Field Placements:
Students are highly encouraged to take advantage of the option of an associated field placement for additional ungraded credit. As the course will be focusing on current, local organizing campaigns, there are many opportunities to directly engage in the issues discussed in class. If you would like to discuss a possible field placement that fits your needs and interests, please let us know.