Preventing Unemployment During COVID-19: Lessons from European “Short-Time” Employment Schemes

This event was organized by the Center for Global Work and Employment in cooperation with SMLR’s Labor Education Action Research Network (LEARN) and the Transatlantic Labor Institute (TLI).

June 18, 2020

Under the impact of COVID-19, the level of unemployment in the United States has risen to about twice that in Europe, with low-income people, BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and women disproportionately bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s labor market fallout. This webinar explores how European countries have used “short-time” employment schemes to buffer economic displacement by allowing companies to apply for publicly sponsored wage replacement as they reduce employees’ work hours (including to zero). The first two presentations review the features and impacts of different European schemes and report on German unions’ successful push to increase the wage replacement rate for workers who remain on shorter hours for more than three months. Presentations on the U.S. cover worker organizations' efforts to manage the economic consequences of the pandemic and relate the history of the American shorter-time movement to the present moment. 

Guests include (in order of appearance):

  • Thorsten Schulten, Head of the "Labor and Wage Policy in Europe” Unit at the Hans Böckler Foundation’s Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI).
    [*See PDF Slides, Presentation 1]
  • Horst Mund, Head of the Transnational Dept., IG Metall (Industrial Union of Metalworkers, Germany).
    [*See PDF Slides, Presentation 2]
  • Kris Rondeau, Director of New England Organizing Project and the 2018-19 President of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA).
  • Dorothy Sue Cobble, Distinguished Professor of Labor Studies and History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
Webinar Video
Presentation 1
presentation 1
Presentation 2

presentation 2

 

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