The Declining Fortunes of American Workers: Six Dimensions and an Agenda for Reform

57 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2016

See all articles by Stephen F. Befort

Stephen F. Befort

University of Minnesota Law School

Date Written: September 27, 2016


At the turn of the century, I undertook an assessment of the then current state of workplace rights and obligations. I concluded that the balance of power between employers and workers was “badly skewed” in favor of employers. This article revisits that topic for the purpose of assessing twenty-first century trends through the lens of six workplace dimensions. They are: workforce attachment, union-management relations, employment security, income inequality, balancing work and family, and retirement security. An examination of these dimensions reveal that the status of U.S. workers has significantly declined during the first sixteen years of the twenty-first century. This article then sets out a proposed agenda for reform designed to recalibrate the current imbalance in the respective fortunes of employees and employers.

Keywords: Employment Law, Labor Law, Contingent Work, Income Inequality, Retirement Security, Balancing Work and Family

Suggested Citation

Befort, Stephen F., The Declining Fortunes of American Workers: Six Dimensions and an Agenda for Reform (September 27, 2016). Florida Law Review, Forthcoming, Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-28, Available at SSRN:

Stephen F. Befort (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
(612) 625-7342 (Phone)
(612) 625-2011 (Fax)

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