Press Release

MEDIA ADVISORY: Berkeley labor experts available for interviews on Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME decision

CONTACT: Penelope Whitney | IRLE Communications Director, (510) 643-8756

BERKELEY, Calif. — University of California, Berkeley labor experts are available as media resources on the upcoming Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME.

The Supreme Court decision will not only affect public sector workers directly affected by the ruling, it could have affect wages and working conditions for all working people in the U.S.  While unions raise wages and improve benefits for their own members, they also set a higher standard for many non-union workplaces and provide a voice for working people in public policy debates.

EXPERTS (click on their linked name for full bio)

Sylvia Allegretto
Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics (CWED)
Sylvia Allegretto is an expert on public employee compensation and teacher pay. Related research includes US and California jobs and unemployment, low-wage work, inequality, pay gaps and right-to-work legislation.

Jesse Rothstein
Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Director of IRLE
Jesse Rothstein signed an Amicus brief on Janus v. AFSCME featuring 36 top economists, including three from Berkeley. The brief addresses the danger of the “free rider problem,” in which people are unwilling to pay for goods they can get for free, even if they value those goods highly. Related research includes teacher pay and teacher quality and the role of education in economic mobility, unemployment, labor markets and inequality.

Ken Jacobs
Chair, Center for Labor Research and Education (CLRE)
Ken Jacobs co-authored two June 2018 reports about labor-supported legislation in California and how unions reduce race and gender wage disparities. Related research includes unions, living wage and labor standards, low-wage work and minimum wage.

Catherine Fisk
Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at Berkeley Law
Expertise includes labor law, right-to-work laws, labor history. Her recent articles include police unions, the history and current experiences of unionized writers in the entertainment industry, labor protest and the First Amendment.

Sarah Thomason
Research and Policy Associate, Center for Labor Research and Education (CLRE)
Sarah co-authored two June 2018 reports about how unions raise wages, improve workers’ benefits and reduce use of public safety net programs in California, and how they reduce race and gender wage disparities. She is fluent in Spanish.

Steven Pitts
Associate Chair, Center for Labor Research and Education (CLRE)
Expertise includes Black workers, alternative strategies for worker organizing and union leadership development.

Sara Hinkley
Associate Director, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)
Expertise includes local public finance, economic development, unions, low-wage work and urban inequality.


The UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) is an interdisciplinary center at the University of California, Berkeley that connects world-class research with policy to improve workers’ lives, communities, and society.