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NCP Event: How do we fix trade policy to help workers?

On January 19, 2021, Sandra Polaski, Senior Research Scholar at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center, joined the Cornell ILR School's New Conversations Project for a discussion of her new paper, 'How Trade Policy Failed U.S. Workers--and How to Fix It'

Panelists included:

  • Olabisi Akinkugbe - Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
  • Desiree LeClercq - Cornell ILR School
  • Carlos Salas - Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UNAM), Azcapotzalco in Mexico City
  • Dave Welsh - Solidarity Center

Here are readings on trade-labor policy relevant to the discussion:

Speaker Bios

Sandra Polaski has been both a policy maker and researcher on trade, labor and income distribution in national and international contexts. She served as the ILO's Deputy Director-General for Policy and before that headed the US government's International Labor Affairs Bureau. She is currently affiliated with Boston University as a senior research scholar in the Global Economic Governance Initiative and is a member of the Independent Mexico Labor Expert Board, created by the US Congress to monitor and advise on Mexican labor policy in the context of the USMCA.

Desiree LeClercq is the Proskauer Employment and Labor Law Assistant Professor at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Ithaca, New York, where she teaches international labor law, U.S. labor law and employment law. She is the author or co-author of several articles (along with book chapter contributions) exploring incoherence between international labor law and U.S. trade law and constitutional law. Previously, LeClercq was the Director for Labor Affairs at USTR, where she negotiated and enforced labor-rights commitments in U.S. trade instruments. Prior to joining USTR in 2016, LeClercq was a legal officer for the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland, where she specialized in maritime labor law and trade agreements. She began her legal career as a staff attorney to the Chairman of the NLRB in 2006. She is a 2006 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a 2002 graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, and a member of the New York bar. 

Carlos Salas is a visiting professor of Economics at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UNAM), Azcapotzalco in Mexico City. He has written intensively on labor economics and development in Latin America, with most of his work concentrated in Mexico and Brazil.

Professor Olabisi D. Akinkugbe is an Assistant Professor at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Canada. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa, an LL.M. Professor Akinkugbe is a founding editor of Afronomicslaw – the leading blog on all aspects of international economic law as they relate to Africa and the Global South, a Co-Editor in Chief of the African Journal of International Economic Law, and the Co-Managing Editor of the Nigerian Yearbook of International Law. He is an Executive Council Member of the Society of International Economic Law.

Dave Welsh is currently the Solidarity Center Country Director in Thailand. Over the last 15 years he has served as the Solidarity Center’s Country Director in Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and Bangladesh. A lawyer by background, Mr Welsh has extensive experience in programming and advocacy around labor rights and trade and his work has been covered in numerous international media outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Guardian.  He holds degrees in Common (LLB) and Civil Law (LLL) from the University of Ottawa.

Jason Judd (Moderator) is Executive Director of the New Conversations Project in Cornell University's ILR School. He previously led the Ship to Shore Rights Project at the International Labor Organization (Bangkok). He served as Vice President of the Fair Labor Association in Washington, DC, and has worked in senior roles for the ILO's Better Factories Cambodia, Demos (New York), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the AFL-CIO, the Solidarity Center, and the Industrial Areas Foundation. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Financial Times, and on PBS. He is a former Fulbright Fellow, and a graduate of Duke University and l'École Nationale d’Administration (ENA/RULE).

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