Introduction to a Special Issue on the New Labor Federalism

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The articles in this volume grew out of a 2018 conference organized by the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and Cornell University’s ILR School to address questions regarding labor regulation at lower levels of government. During the extended period that federal reform has been blocked, enormous activity has taken place at the state and local levels in terms of both the passage of new employment laws and regulations as well as their administration and enforcement. Drawn from the larger set of papers presented at that conference, these articles focus on specific dimensions of the puzzle. This introduction paints the broader picture suggested by the conference and papers taken as a whole. The move toward federalism as a strategy, particularly as an alternative to organizing through the NLRA, while promising, is so far limited because it focuses on the substance of labor regulation exclusively, in isolation from the procedures through which work regulation is promulgated and enforced. The most likely place to look for reforms that will give the new labor federalism institutional support and stability comparable to that of the New Deal collective bargaining regime at its apogee is in their implementation and enforcement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1085-1102
Number of pages18
JournalILR Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • new labor federalism
  • policy implementation
  • preemption
  • regulations enforcement
  • sectoral bargaining
  • state and local employment standards


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