When Labor News Breaks, SMLR Faculty in High Demand

News reporters turned to the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) for expert insight and reaction to a broad range of labor stories during the month of February.

President Donald Trump’s first pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination on February 15, spurring national coverage. Associate Professor Janice Fine weighed in for The Atlantic, while Distinguished Professor Sue Schurman talked to Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, and Marketplace, a public radio program that airs on hundreds of stations across the country.

“It was extraordinary that Trump nominated Puzder in the first place,” Schurman told HuffPost. “The president ran on his determination to bring jobs back to America. Then he nominates a guy who essentially says, ‘My employees are the best of the worst and I’d like to replace them all with technology.’”

Trump’s new nominee, R. Alexander Acosta, previously served on the National Labor Relations Board alongside SMLR Visiting Distinguished Scholar Wilma Liebman. She has spoken to numerous news outlets, including The American Prospect, Bloomberg, Mother Jones, and POLITICO.

“He’s not hostile to government,” Liebman told McClatchy, which publishes close to 30 newspapers nationwide including the Kansas City Star and the Miami Herald. “He sometimes voted with the Democrats, he often didn’t, but he’s not an ideologue.”

Planes, Ports, and Immigrant Workers

On February 15, the same day Puzder withdrew his nomination, another major labor story unfolded in South Carolina. In a closely-watched election, Boeing workers voted against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Professor Schurman spoke to The Post & Courier, the top newspaper in Charleston, about the results.

A day later, thousands of workers nationwide staged a “Day Without Immigrants” to protest President Trump’s hotly-contested immigration ban. Professor Fine shared her insights with Bloomberg BNA and The Boston Globe.

“It’s a moment we’re in, where all the typical rules don’t entirely apply,” Fine told Globe columnist Shirley Leung.

In a separate interview with Vice, Fine noted that worker centers have successfully organized low-income immigrant workers and helped to pass tougher labor standards laws since the 1990s – all without bargaining formal contracts.

Also in February, Bloomberg BNA spoke to Teaching Instructor Will Brucher about the International Longshoremen’s Association’s proposed work stoppage at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, and the labor credentials of the House Workforce Committee’s newest members.

Visit SMLR in the News for a continuously-updated listing of articles quoting SMLR faculty and staff members.


By Steve Flamisch