Skip to main content
Blue and red hands raised to vote

Konvitz Lecture: May 2 at ILR

A Columbia Law School professor whose scholarship examines the failures of U.S. law to protect workers’ rights will discuss labor and democracy at the Konvitz Lecture at 4:30 p.m. on May 2 in 423 King-Shaw Hall at the ILR School.

The public is also invited to attend virtually. Register here for “Labor and Democracy: Why Rebuilding Worker Organizations and Rethinking Labor Law is Essential to Our Democratic Future.”

Kate Andrias will discuss the relationship between the decline of unions and the decline of democracy; the role that labor law and constitutional law play in contributing to that decline; and the need to rethink and reform legal structures to achieve a more democratic future.

The Patricia D. and R. Paul Yetter Professor of Law, Andrias studies the efforts of historical and contemporary worker movements to transform legal structures. She also analyzes how labor law and constitutional governance might reform political and economic democracy.

In her research, Andrias also explores the relationship between law and the perpetuation of economic inequality, and often advises legislators and workers’ rights organizations on policy initiatives and works on related litigation.

Andrias clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, A&S ’54. Ginsburg was inspired by Professor Milton Konvitz, whose ILR course, “The Development of American Ideals,” influenced her.

Bader Ginsburg’s letters to Konvitz – “You opened my mind to the possibility of realizing human rights …” she wrote in 2001 – are preserved at the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives in ILR’s Catherwood Library, part of Cornell University Library.

Ginsburg’s ties to ILR continued throughout her life. In 2017 and 2019, she cited the mandatory arbitration research of Alexander Colvin, Ph.D. ’99. Colvin is ILR’s Kenneth F. Kahn '69 Dean and Martin F. Scheinman '75, 'MS '76, Professor of Conflict Resolution.

Andrias also clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and worked as a Service Employees International Union organizer.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Andrias practiced political law at Perkins Coie. She served as associate counsel and special assistant to President Barack Obama, and as chief of staff in the White House Counsel’s Office.

Andrias’ upcoming publications include “Constitutional Clash: Labor, Capital, and Democracy,” forthcoming in the Northwestern Law Review, and "Strengthening Collective Bargaining in the United States," in 3 WSI Mitteilungen. Virginia Doellgast, ILR’s Anne Evans Estabrook Professor of Employment Relations and Dispute Resolution, is the co-author "Strengthening Collective Bargaining in the United States."

Oxford University Press will publish Andrias’s “Beyond the Labor Exemption: Labor’s Antimonopoly Vision and the Fight for Greater Democracy,” in Antimonopoly and American Democracy, and "Labor and Democracy," in Law of Work Handbook.

ILR hosts the annual Konvitz Lecture, founded in 2006 and supported for the past 17 years by philanthropists Irwin Jacobs, '54, BEE '56, and Joan Jacobs, HE ’54, of San Diego, California.


Weekly Inbox Updates