Clean Slate and the Wagner Model: Comparative Labor Law and a New Plurality


David Doorey

Date added: 

Thursday, August 27, 2020


Available at SSRN: Abstract: Ever since Canada imported the basic features of the U.S. Wagner Act in the 1940s there has been a natural tendency for academics and labor policy-makers to track cross-border developments. This pattern continues with the recent release of the Clean Slate for Worker Power report out of Harvard Law School. Many of the proposals to strengthen the Wagner Model found in Clean Slate are now or have in the past been law in parts in Canada. However, Clean Slate also argues that it is not enough to strengthen the Wagner Model, because even at its peak of effectiveness, that Model excluded millions of the most vulnerable workers in our two countries. A lesson from Clean Slate, which has also been advocated in some corners within Canada, is that it is possible to preserve and strengthen the Wagner Model for those sectors of the economy where it works, while also advocating and constructing new models to extend collective bargaining to sectors where the Wagner Model has never and will never reach. This is a call for a new plurality in collective bargaining law and policy. Keywords: Labor, Labor Law, Collective Bargaining, Wagner Act, Employment, Comparative Law