Corporate Attacks on NLRB Threaten Worker Organizing

April 15, 2024

NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo joined Roosevelt experts to discuss threats to the NLRB’s mandate.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

The NLRB Takes on Corporate Power

Facing enforcement from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over alleged illegal intimidation and retaliation against workers, several giant corporations—including Amazon, SpaceX, Starbucks, and Trader Joe’s—are attacking the underlying constitutionality of the NLRB. On Tuesday, the Roosevelt Institute hosted NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, along with a panel of labor and regulatory experts, to discuss what’s at stake if opponents succeed in their efforts.

“We dared to issue a complaint against SpaceX after it unlawfully fired eight workers for speaking about their workplace concerns,” Abruzzo said. “Others [got] in on the action just because we’re trying to hold them accountable for repeatedly violating workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain through representatives of their free choosing.”

Roosevelt board member K. Sabeel Rahman and Fellows Diana Reddy and Hiba Hafiz also joined Abruzzo in discussing labor law and the NLRB’s critical role in protecting collective bargaining rights. The panel, which was reported on by news outlets including The Guardian, The American Prospect, Reuters, and HuffPost, was moderated by Roosevelt’s think tank vice president Suzanne Kahn and deputy director of Worker Power and Economic Security Alí R. Bustamante.

As Abruzzo emphasized, the federal labor relations agency would not succumb to corporate efforts to suppress workers’ right to organize. “It seems to me [corporations] would rather spend their money initiating court litigation rather than improving their workers’ lives and their own workplace operations,” Abruzzo said.


New Class of Fellows Joins Roosevelt’s Think Tank

This week, the Roosevelt Institute announced that six new progressive policy experts have joined the think tank fellows program. During their fellowship at Roosevelt, the new cohort will research and write about critical challenges, from ensuring an efficient and equitable renewable energy transition to rebuilding worker power to building a more stable and democratic retirement system.

The fellows bring diverse and distinct expertise to the Roosevelt Institute:

  • Juniper Katz, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will research community input in renewable energy development and land use.
  • Michael A. McCarthy, associate professor of sociology at Marquette University, will focus on public-interest financing of retirement and renewable energy.
  • Sanjukta Paul, law professor at the University of Michigan, will study antitrust and competition from a labor perspective.
  • Diana Reddy, assistant professor at UC Berkeley School of Law, will research unions and labor regulations.
  • Benjamin Schoefer, assistant professor of economics at UC Berkeley, will study labor markets, employment, and wages.
  • Graham Steele, former assistant secretary for financial institutions in the Treasury Department, will focus on financial regulation and banking reform.

“We can’t shift the economic paradigm without the people doing the work to provide empirical evidence for a new way of thinking,”” said Roosevelt CEO and President Felicia Wong. “These fellows are foundational to our strategy to change the narrative and build real progressive power.”

The new class of fellows will join Roosevelt’s existing expert fellows—Kate Aronoff, Sameera Fazili, Hiba Hafiz, Diana Hernández, Lev Menand, Todd Phillips, and David Stein—as well as senior fellows including Sandy Darity, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Darrick Hamilton, J.W. Mason, Beverly Moran, Saule Omarova, and Lenore Palladino.


What We’re Talking About


What We’re Reading

California Fast-Food Workers’ Minimum Wage Win Stirs Up Old Economic Debate – feat. Roosevelt’s Alí R. Bustamante – The Guardian

TSMC Chips Deal Promotes the Logic of Biden’s Industrial Policy – feat. Roosevelt’s Todd N. Tucker – The American Prospect

New EPA Rule Says 218 US Chemical Plants Must Reduce Toxic Emissions That Are Likely to Cause Cancer – Associated Press

America’s Roads and Bridges to Get $830 Million for a Climate Makeover – The Verge