CLJE:Lab is the policy and legal innovation lab at Harvard Law School’s Center for Labor and a Just Economy – where our ideas for building worker power and strengthening democracy hit the ground.
We believe that despite the political gridlock and challenges to passing comprehensive labor law reform, there is tremendous potential for creativity and experimentation at the local, state, and federal levels to move the needle towards greater economic and political equality. In the spirit of Justice Brandeis’ vision for states to serve as “a laboratory; and [to] try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country,” our mission is to foster creativity and innovative approaches to empowering working people.
The launch of CLJE:Lab marks an exciting new chapter in the trajectory of our efforts to advance worker power.
Read more in OnLabor about the launch of CLJE:Lab and ongoing projects across the Center that directly engage and support workers, organizers, labor leaders, and policymakers.
Our Clean Slate for Worker Power recommendations remain our North Star. We maintain the belief that fundamental restructuring of power in our economy and democracy is necessary to achieve a fair and just country.
The work of the CLJE: Lab is to innovate ways to move us closer and closer to that north star by focusing on:
- Advancing state and local policy innovation
- Broadening our outreach and engagement with partners through the implementation process
- Expanding our work beyond the labor law arena to also encompass a broader countervailing power strategy, including democracy reforms, tech sector interventions, and exploration of the overlap between labor and other collective movements critical to building power for low- and middle-income workers, such as tenants and debtor organizing
- Cultivating the future of labor advocacy and the next generation of lawyers committed to building worker power within Harvard Law School’s vibrant academic community
Our work to address our country’s broken system of labor laws began in 2018 with Clean Slate for Worker Power, a project to explore what labor law would look like if, starting from a clean slate, it was designed to empower working people to build a truly equitable democracy and economy. We engaged with more than 200 stakeholders – including union leaders, workers, advocates, academics, economists, futurists, students, and others from the U.S. and around the world – to explore this question, which culminated in a bold agenda for a reformed labor law with CLJE’s groundbreaking report, Clean Slate for Worker Power: Building a Just Economy and Democracy.
Since the release of the report, we have been pursuing strategies to implement the recommendations. We have been partnering with leaders and organizations working on the ground to implement these ideas in cities and states across the country. Over the past three years, the Clean Slate framework has shaped the national debate over the future of labor law reform as our ideas have taken root, yielding policy and organizing wins in states and localities across the country. Building upon the foundation of principles, recommendations, and strategies that emerged from our Clean Slate for Worker Power project, CLJE:Lab will develop and test novel policy, legal, and organizing solutions to enable working people to build countervailing power.