Workers are increasingly powerless in today’s economy. The decades-long assault on the voice and agency of American workers continues to erode their position under employers: Declining unionization rates, the proliferation of noncompete and arbitration clauses, and outsized employer power plague labor markets today. Additionally, an increasingly fissured workplace is yet one more challenge our most vulnerable workers must grapple with in the 21st century labor market.
In “Challenges for Workers in the Age of Fissured Jobs and Joint Employers,” Roosevelt Program Associate Jess Forden explains the importance of defining an employer in the economy and outlines the legal and structural obstacles that workers face as a consequence of today’s shifting employment relationships. As many legal scholars have demonstrated, the rules governing our employment relationships need to be modernized to reflect fundamental shifts in the structure of the employee-employer relationship.
Ultimately, Forden underscores the fact that labor law has the capacity to adapt to a changing economy—as it has done in the past—but until we rewrite the rules that shape power dynamics between employers and employees, workers will continue to be left out and left behind.