Ian Eppler  //  3/16/17  //  Topic Update

President Trump is likely to pursue a ferociously anti-labor agenda.  The battles ahead may define the future of labor and employment law in America—and the fate of organized labor.  

Union leaders fear that the new administration may devastate organized labor in America.

  • In the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson writes that “[Trump’s] election is ‘an extinction-level event for American labor,’” noting the potential for reversal of Obama-era pro-union rulings by the National Labor Relations Board after President Trump has the opportunity to appoint members, as well as a potential Supreme Court decision mandating “right-to-work” nationally for public-sector employees.
  • At LaborNotes, Penny Lewis also expresses concern regarding public sector “right-to-work” and the reversal of pro-union National Labor Relations Board rulings, adding that Congress, too, may pursue anti-union legislation.
  • Catherine Fisk discusses the administration’s likely labor policy agenda at OnLabor.



But unions are preparing to fight back

  • In the American Prospect, Justin Miller discusses how unions are preparing to respond to the challenges that they expect to face under the Trump administration.
  • Jon Hiatt, chief of staff at the AFL-CIO, announces the organization’s plans to respond to the challenges of the Trump administration in OnLabor.
  • Moshe Marvit argues that “labor must become a movement” to remain effective during the Trump administration at OnLabor; David Rolf also discusses how unions will need to innovate in the coming years at OnLabor.




Veterans of the Department of Labor fear that President Trump’s policies may reduce the effectiveness of the department.

  • In the Atlantic, Alana Samuels interviews Professor David Weil, who directed the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division from 2014 to the end of the Obama administration. Professor Weil fears that Obama-era “strategic enforcement” efforts, which were effective in deterring wage theft and overtime violations, will cease under President Trump.
  • At the American Prospect, Justin Miller notes that Obama-era policies, including the “fiduciary rule” for retirement advisors, may be reversed, and also discusses how President Trump’s federal hiring freeze and proposed budget cuts may limit the department’s ability to enforce workplace safety and employment discrimination laws.


Perhaps the most lasting impact of Donald Trump’s presidency with respect to labor law will be his appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

  • At OnLabor, Hannah Belitz breaks down Judge Gorsuch’s most significant opinions on labor and employment law.
  • Also at OnLabor, Andrew Strom discusses how Judge Gorsuch’s judicial approach may lead him to construe workplace safety laws narrowly.




Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

Richard Trumpka, President of the AFL-CIO, harshly criticized President Trump for his divisive rhetoric and continued support of corporations over working class Americans.

Updates | The Week of January 15, 2018

1/14/18  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration is seeking to revive and broaden a rule that Congress killed last year requiring drug testing for unemployment benefits. There are fewer OSHA workplace safety inspectors under the Trump Administration than under President Obama.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Update | Week of October 30, 2017

11/6/17  //  Daily Update

The Labor Department will appeal a court ruling that threw out an Obama-era rule that would have expanded overtime pay to 4 million more people.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School