NYU's Center for Labor and Employment Law hosts 62nd Annual Conference on Labor

On June 4-5, government officials, union representatives, management- and labor-side practitioners, and professors gathered to explore "Labor and Employment Law Initiatives and Proposals in the Obama Administration" at NYU's Center for Labor and Employment Law's 62nd Annual Conference on Labor.

NYU Law faculty presenters include conference organizer Samuel Estreicher, Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law and director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law and co-director of the Dwight D. Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration; Deborah Malamud, An-Bryce Professor of Law; Cynthia Estlund, Catherine A. Rein Professor of Law; and Sharon Rabin-Margalioth, Global Visiting Professor of Law and faculty member at the Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center in Israel. Estreicher's paper presented at the conference, "Improving the Administration of the National Labor Relations Act Without Statutory Change," was reprinted in the June 5 issue of the Daily Labor Report.

Thursday's agenda featured sessions on "Administrative Reform," "Changing the Voting Rules," "Resolved: The Employee Free Choice Act Should Become Law," "Card-Check Certification and Interest Arbitration: The Canadian Experience," and "Revisiting Labor Law Preemption of State Law."

At "Card-Check Certification and Interest Arbitration: The Canadian Experience," David Lawrence '09 presented a paper on his empirical research into Ontario provision first-contract interest arbitration awards, a subject directly relevant to the current debate over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a new labor law statute before Congress that features provisions for interest arbitration and card-check certification. Interest arbitration is the term used for a process by which employers and unions who can't negotiate a contract can have one forced upon them by statute through an arbitration. When a union is trying to prove that it has majority support, card-check certification replaces traditional ballot-box voting with a process similar to signing a petition. Under card-check, unions could show support by soliciting from employees their signatures on cards that state support for the union. Both of those things have been done in other jurisdictions, particularly Canada, so the panelists focused on lessons for the EFCA from the experiences in those other jurisdictions.
The session was moderated by Ron Shechtman '72, managing partner and head of the labor and employment group at Pryor Cashman, who is on the center's advisory board. Commentators included Anton Hajar, a principal at O'Donnell, Schwartz & Anderson, and Michael Delikat, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and chair of the firm's global employment law practice. Hajar and Delikat also serve on the center's advisory board. Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, also provided commentary.

On Thursday afternoon, New York Times labor and workplace reporter Steven Greenhouse '82 gave informal remarks and signed copies of his bestselling book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.

Friday featured a presentation on "Obama Administration Healthcare Initiatives" and presentations and commentary on "Antidiscrimination Initiatives," "Employment Law Initiatives," "Employment and Consumer Arbitration," and "Ethical Issues for In-House and Transactional Employment Lawyers."

Posted on June 4, 2009