NYU Wagner Labor Initiative Launches, Driving Progress for Workers' Rights

Attorney General Keith Ellison, Terri Gerstein, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr.

NYU Wagner students, staff, and community convened at the Puck Building to welcome Terri Gerstein and launch the NYU Wagner Labor Initiative, a pivotal program aimed at studying, supporting, and catalyzing government action to advance and protect workers' rights, with a special focus on the role of state and local government. This initiative's launch event was highlighted by a panel discussion featuring three nationally acclaimed elected officials—Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr., Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, and New York City Comptroller Brad Lander—sharing their work in upholding and furthering labor rights in their elected offices and underscoring the vital role of state and local governments in labor advocacy.

NYU’s Interim Provost, Georgina Dopico, opened the event with a note on the vital importance of labor advocacy and government intervention in our current climate to the protection of workers across the United States. She also introduced Terri Gerstein, director of the NYU Wagner Labor Initiative, speaking to Gerstein’s expansive impact and experience- from enforcing labor laws on the front lines to her work connecting rights, policy and enforcement actors and initiatives with Harvard and beyond NYU is proud to have her lead this initiative and further the work at Wagner studying how government can best serve the people.        

Throughout their discussion led by Gerstein, Bragg, Ellison, and Lander addressed the significance of embedding labor rights within our educational systems, legal frameworks, and community dialogues. Reflecting on the complex challenges faced by governments and workers alike, they praised the commitment of labor activists, discussed the challenges and successes in enforcing labor laws, and called on the community to aid in making it more accessible for workers to come forward when violations occur.