The Roosevelt Institute seeks to develop a new set of labor rules and institutions that will expand economic security and opportunity in the 21st century workplace.

The modern U.S. economy—powered by sectors excluded from labor protections, fueled by global supply chains, organized through sub-contracting and online platforms—hardly resembles the economy of the mid-20th century, when most of our labor laws were written. Union membership has declined, wages have stagnated, and the very definition of employment is changing as manufacturing gives way to service jobs and contingent work.

Roosevelt’s projects on work and labor tackle wages and bargaining power along with structural barriers that exclude women and people of color. Further, they address how the financial sector channels funds to shareholders rather than workers and how labor protections can be adapted for the emerging gig economy.

In the 1900s, it took striking workers, the Great Depression, and the revolutionary New Deal to secure power and protection for many American workers. Once again, the outcome of economic transformation will depend on the choices we make as a nation.

Historically high payouts to shareholders drain resources away from productive investment such as expanding operations and hiring more employees.

+

The US is the only OECD country in which women’s workforce participation rate is declining.

+

54%

Average proportion of the workforce covered by union collective bargaining agreements among all OECD countries.

+

161%

Between 1973 and 2013, productivity grew 161 percent while compensation rose only 19 percent.

+

30.2 M

The number of independent full-time and part-time workers in the U.S.

+

$1.1 B

The amount the Department of Labor has recovered in stolen wages since 2009

+

60%

share of the African-American labor force excluded from New Deal labor protections in the 1930s

+

1938

The year the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed

+

4 out of 10: Number of Americans who earn less than $15 an hour.

+

No articles found.

No articles found.