The Death of Labor Law?

Posted: 18 Oct 2010

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2006


This review tells three interlocking tales of decline, each with its respective prognosis for recovery: the declines of labor law scholarship, labor law, and organized labor. The relationship between the latter two and the role that a reformed labor law might play in reviving organized labor are matters of continuing controversy. In the meantime, two developments on the ground suggest a way forward for organized labor, labor law, and labor law scholars. Activist unions have found success with a new organizing model: neutrality and card-check agreements. Elsewhere, antisweatshop activists are developing increasingly sophisticated supplier codes and monitoring schemes to improve labor standards in developing countries. Both strategies, with their basically contractual architecture, exemplify what regulatory scholars are calling new governance. These strategies suggest a potential way around the roadblocks that meet labor law reform proposals and toward more agile and responsive forms of workplace governance.

Suggested Citation

Estlund, Cynthia L., The Death of Labor Law? (December 2006). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 2, pp. 105-123, 2006, Available at SSRN: or

Cynthia L. Estlund (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
(212) 998-6184 (Phone)
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