In establishing the Department of Labor (DOL) in 1913, Congress stated that its purpose “shall be to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States.”‘3 The new Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration now has an opportunity to undo the damage done by a dozen years of de facto deregulation of labor standards by proemployer administrations. A test of the extent to which Robert Reich’s program differs from his predecessors’ presents itself in one small yet significant area in which he has as yet taken no initiative—employers’ efforts to compel workers to work overtime without additional compensation by labeling them salaried managers.
Mandatory arbitration for guestworkers, a uniquely vulnerable group, will result in class inequality and worse conditions for all workers.
An evidentiary privilege to protect workers' confidential communications from disclosure in federal and state court proceedings would support unions.
Labor organizing privilege is not a magic bullet that will secure the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain. Employers will continue to resist the efforts of their workers to organize.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.