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.