In new book, Cynthia Estlund compares 21st-century labor unrest in China to earlier labor organizing in US

Cynthia Estlund’s newest book, A New Deal for China’s Workers?, published in January, focuses on the rapidly evolving labor landscape for workers in the world’s second-largest national economy and the implications of those changes for the rest of the globe. Comparing the current state of Chinese labor to the United States’ labor-employer conflicts in the 20th century, Estlund considers whether Chinese workers are poised to make major breakthroughs in industrial relations and labor law. She also suggests that the Chinese government has responded with reforms rather than repression to nascent worker organizing in order to tamp down the potential rise of an independent labor movement. In a 2015 “Ideas from NYU Law” story, Estlund characterized the Chinese government’s reaction to labor conflicts as a vitally important test case: “We have a lot to learn from China about political and economic development in the modern world.”

Estlund, Catherine A. Rein Professor of Law and a leading expert on labor and employment law and workplace governance, has made numerous recent appearances to discuss her latest scholarship. In September, she delivered the annual Stewart Lecture in Labor and Employment Law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law based on arguments made in her book. She then spoke in December at a meeting of the Labor Law Group in Los Angeles and at a roundtable hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. In January, she gave an informal book talk in Beijing. Into the spring, Estlund will have several additional appearances: This month, she is giving lectures at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and she will speak at the University of New South Wales in Sydney in March.

Posted February 21, 2017