Social Media and Worker Organizing Under U.S. Law

International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Forthcoming

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-37

26 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018 Last revised: 9 Nov 2018

See all articles by Brishen Rogers

Brishen Rogers

Georgetown University Law Center; Roosevelt Institute

Date Written: October 19, 2018

Abstract

In recent years, a number of important social movements have emerged and grown rapidly through social media. Against that backdrop, this essay considers the promise and limitations of social media as a means for worker organizing under U.S. law. On the one hand, social media is a powerful tool of worker self-organization, and of building public support for workers’ rights. U.S. law also prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for such self-organization or public speech, which should encourage workers to organize via social media. On the other hand, that prohibition is often more formal than real, and U.S. law makes it extremely difficult for workers to organize a union and begin collective bargaining. In other words, U.S. law encourages workers’ initial, nascent steps toward collective organization, and encourages them to build public support for their efforts, but discourages the actual formation of unions. Therefore, social media’s potential as a worker organizing tool will likely remain underdeveloped without reforms to strengthen and modernize our labor laws.

Keywords: social media, labor law, labour law, union organizing

Suggested Citation

Rogers, Brishen, Social Media and Worker Organizing Under U.S. Law (October 19, 2018). International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Forthcoming, Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-37, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3271712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3271712

Brishen Rogers (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Ave
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Roosevelt Institute ( email )

570 Lexington Ave.
5th Floor
New York, NY 10022
United States

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