NYU Wagner Labor Initiative

NYU Wagner Labor Initiative

The NYU Wagner Labor Initiative explores, advocates for, and accelerates the often-untapped potential of government in safeguarding and advancing workers' rights. The Labor Initiative helps government work for workers, by serving as a hub of analysis, research, and implementation guidance, as well as idea generation and dissemination, related to the role of government in advancing and protecting workers’ rights. 

At the forefront of innovations in workers’ rights are new laws, new approaches to enforcement, and new government agencies involved in worker protection. The NYU Wagner Labor Initiative aims to support sustainable, long-term improvement in labor standards by enlisting and supporting government actors in workers’ rights—especially state and local actors new to the field—and by helping worker organizations more effectively collaborate with government entities. The goal is to improve conditions for workers through well-crafted policy and effective enforcement of hard-won legal protections.

The Labor Initiative supports government and civil society through four approaches:

  1. Convening active working group cohorts of government agencies and officials, including enforcers new to labor issues, with monthly meetings of state attorney general, district attorney, and local government labor standards agencies. 

  2. Providing government actors and worker advocates, with thought leadership and concrete ideas regarding enforcement strategies, best practices, focus areas, and emerging developments. This is achieved through reports, toolkits, briefings, trainings, webinars, and technical assistance, alongside connecting government agencies with each other and with worker organizations in their jurisdictions. 

  3. Sharing expertise with policymakers, advocates, and the public on labor standards and enforcement-related policy issues, such as child labor, wage theft, misclassification of workers, and employment contract terms (i.e., non-compete or forced arbitration provisions) that hinder workers from exercising their rights.

  4. Increasing public knowledge about labor issues and the need for government action by translating worker issues for a popular audience through authoring op-eds and commentary, and by hosting events and providing data-informed insights to reporters and media covering stories on labor issues.


Terri Gerstein, Director

Email: terri.gerstein@nyu.edu


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