Teaching Local 1330 -- Reflections on Critical Legal Pedagogy
Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, Vol. 7, pp. 58-78, Winter 2011
21 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2012
Date Written: 2011
In the Steelworkers Local 1330 v. U. S. Steel Corporation case, workers attempted to prevent or delay the company’s planned shutdown of a steel plant in Youngstown, Ohio, so that the employees could purchase the plant and keep it in operation. Their effort was unsuccessful, and the plant-closure did occur causing widespread human suffering and economic deterioration in Youngstown and its environs. The case remains of great legal interest because of the workers’ exceptionally creative and thoughtful legal claims. These include the assertion, rejected by the court, that the workers and/or surrounding community acquired a property interest in the plant by virtue of their investment of human capital, labor, and other resources. An unintended, low-visibility legacy of the steelworkers’ struggle was its contribution to progressive legal education. In this article, a law professor discusses a classroom exercise based on the case he developed with the goals of empowering law students, demystifying mainstream legal discourses, and enhancing students’ capacities to develop imaginative legal theories in service to social justice. The article also explores the goals and underlying values of critical legal pedagogy.
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