The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon
A Conversation with author David Webber, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
Wednesday, April 18
4 to 5:30 p.m.
Reception to Follow
About the Program
David Webber’s The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon (Harvard University Press; April 2, 2018), tells the story of a group of labor activists who have challenged corporations, hedge funds, and private equity funds using the enormous power vested in worker pension funds. At a time when traditional 20th century tools like strikes have increasingly failed workers, these activists have figured out how to use the trillions of dollars in worker retirement funds as a working class weapon.
Webber follows a small group of activists, young and old, as they begin to grasp and deploy the enormous power vested in these pension funds. Just as labor has been pushed to the brink of extinction—outmaneuvered in Washington and state capitals, at the bargaining table, in courtrooms, and boardrooms—these innovative activists have discovered how to deploy shareholder power to do what labor has done too rarely in recent years: win.
This power in favor of workers is being directly threatened by a comprehensive political, legal, corporate, and academic attack funded by the Koch brothers and Enron billionaire John Arnold. Through facts, cases, and narrative, Webber demonstrates the overwhelming political and economic importance of these pensions. The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder breaks new ground in exploring why the future of labor power must include shareholder power and what should (and should not) be done with one of the most economically important resources in the world: the retirement savings of workers.
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation.
Miriam Baer, Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation, Brooklyn Law School
K. Sabeel Rahman, Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
About the Author
David Webber is Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law and the author ofThe Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon. He has published scholarly articles including “The Use and Abuse of Labor’s Capital” in the New York University Law Review and “The Plight of the Individual Investor in Securities Class Actions” in the Northwestern University Law Review. He has presented his research at the Harvard Stanford Yale Junior Faculty Forum, the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, and the American Law and Economics Association conference, among others. Webber has published op-eds in the The New York Times, including his most recent piece “The Real Reason the Investor Class Hates Pensions,”The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune,and Reuters, and he has appeared on the Nightly Business Report, NPR’s Marketplace, Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio, and Agence France-Presse.
Webber is the winner of Boston University School of Law’s 2017 Michael Melton Award for Teaching Excellence. He is a graduate of Columbia and NYU Law School, where he was an editor for the law review.
Brooklyn Law School
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