GUY RYDER: Ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues, I'm very pleased to welcome you all to this ILO centenary event. And we warmly thank Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations for hosting it. The ILO has enjoyed long standing collaboration with Cornell on research, knowledge sharing, and labor policy development. And it greatly appreciates the opportunity to celebrate our centenary with you.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt later described the ILO's founding in 1919 as "a wild dream with governments, employers, and workers coming together moved by the conviction that universal and lasting peace depends on social justice and with a common determination to work together for that cause."
And the organization survived the collapse of the League of Nations, the Second World War, and the end of the Cold War. It was a leading actor in the drive to establish a social dimension and a phase of globalization driven by liberalization of trade and investment and successive technological revolutions.
And now, we're at another transformative time in the world of work. The ILO's challenge in its second century is to shape new and emerging realities in conformity with the values it was set up to serve, values that connect with the desire of women and men everywhere for jobs, for security, dignity, and equity. In other words, their desire for decent work and social justice.
To help us respond to these challenges, the ILO established a Global Commission on the future of worker, a theme that has since been picked up by many institutions. The commission was co-chaired by President Ramaphosa of South Africa and Prime Minister Lofven of Sweden. And it's recently published its report.
These days debates on the future of work seem to be centered essentially, if not exclusively, on technology and considerations of efficiency. But our Commission took people, women and men, and labor as their starting point. And the report is far reaching because it sets out what it would take to realize a genuine human-centered agenda that can also be effectively integrated with economic and environmental objectives.
It's premised on choice. We can shape the future of work to assure a future of work with social justice. But that calls for reinvigorating the social contract that was and is at the heart of the ILO's mandate and in ways appropriate to contemporary circumstances and conditions.
The Commission saw its report as the start of a journey. And your discussions today on the future of work matter, because they can help us to move forward on that journey.
You will have the benefit of the presence of my friend Rick Samans, a member of the Commission, and many other personalities including Professor Brudney who contributes so much to the ILO. It's great as well to have the participation of key actors from New York itself where I look forward to being later in the year to continue to mark this ILO centenary. So thanks to you all for your commitment to shaping this more equitable and sustainable present and future of work that we all want.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Hello. I'm Linda Barrington. I am really pleased that all of you came out on this cold day to join us and to our web streaming participants. I'm also very pleased to get to serve as moderator this morning as Michelle Fleury was called to stay in Washington DC today to cover the China discussions that are happening.
We have now just been given a great charge by the Director General. And before we jump in on that charge, a few housekeeping events. First, this event is being live streamed. So we ask everyone to silence your phones as a courtesy to those next to you. I'm sure the special ringtone your child developed for you is lovely, but we may not want to share that out across our live streamed broadcast.
Second, the restrooms are located off the elevator lobby-- men's closest to this end, ADA and unisex and women's at the far end.
Third, in the rare case of an emergency, the exit doors are behind you. And the emergency stairs are next to the restrooms across from the elevators.
Finally, if you want to social media, any texts, any tweets, our hashtag is #ILO100 or hashtag #futureofwork. So without further ado, let us get underway. And I am very pleased to introduce the ILR school's Interim Dean, Alex Colvin, who also serves as the Martin F. Scheinman Professor of Conflict Resolution. Alex.
ALEXANDER COLVIN: Welcome all. Really pleased to have you here today. This is a new facility for ILR that we've just opened. And part of what we were hoping to do with this new facility is have space for important discussions around the issues of labor that are really important to our society. And so it's a real pleasure to be able to kick it off with this event which really fits exactly with what we were hoping to achieve with our new space.
And we're really proud to be hosting this event in the centenary year of the ILO. ILR has a relationship with the ILO that goes back decades. Our very first dean, Irving Ives, actually served as president of the ILO Annual Convention in 1953. Our faculty were arranging internships back in the 1950s and '60s for our students to go over and work at the ILO. Our Catherwood Library is one of the two depository libraries for the ILO in the United States and has a long relationship with the ILO. And our faculty over the years have worked with the ILO, being engaged with the issues that are important to the ILO around global labor rights.
And I'm really pleased that you're going to be hearing amongst our speakers from some of our faculty. We have Louis Hyman, Diane Burton, Esta Bigler will be talking later today. And so it's a real pleasure to have you all here today to have this event discussing what I think is a really landmark report that's been issued by the Commission on the Future of Work.
There's been discussions around this question of reinvigorating the social contract that I think been percolating for a while. In the academic realm, I think as people looked at the breaking of the social contract that had existed for a number of decades, particularly in the post-war World War II period, we think about the era of the standard contract of kind of long term stable employment-- which we always knew had sort of an underside that maybe wasn't as strong as it seemed at the time, but it was really something that was important in terms of our public policy and how we thought about labor. And that was really shifted in the last few decades. And there's been growing attention to that.
What I think is really interesting about this report that will hopefully come out in our discussions today is that it really takes on this question of how can we create an agenda for thinking about a human-centered perspective on work in a period when the social contract that existed has been fundamentally disrupted. I found the report actually quite a hopeful report in some respects, which is which is nice to read. Labor tends to be a field where we follow the disasters. Right? Labor scholars like myself get no more excited than we find out about a big strike coming up or I study terminations, the misery of work.
But I think the report is hopeful. The report talks about investing in people's capability, in the institutions of work, building new institutions for this new future of work, and encouraging investing in decent and sustainable work. So I think it's a forward looking, hopeful report. And I think it's really going to spark some great discussions today.
We're going to start off with some panel discussion. Later on, though, we're going to be having breakout sessions where there's going to be a chance for you as participants to voice your thoughts about the report and the agenda that it's setting up. So looking forward to really fantastic discussion today. And I thank you all for coming out and participating in today's event.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. Thank you, Alex. Can I ask our first panelists to join me? So we have given slides with people's titles. There's bios on the website. We are going to try to make as much focus on the content. So we're not going to be doing the typical introduction of each of our panelists. We're just going to jump right in.
So, Rick, Damian, and John, this is a big report in terms of both its span and its aspirations, some might even say maybe fanciful notions of what's possible for a brighter future of work. Rick, you were one of the commissioners who have spent two years on the Commission. It was a long haul, yeah?
So let's start. Top line, what are the main points of the Global Commission Report? And what are the recommendations for how we really change what's happening so we can advance to a brighter future?
RICHARD SAMANS: I'll give it a shot. And, Linda, thank you very much to you and the ILR school and Kevin Cassidy and the ILO for putting on what I guess is the effective launch in the United States of this report. And so it's an honor to be here just as it was really a kind of a special privilege to be part of this two dozen or so interesting constellation of people from around the world and different disciplines in this Commission on a topic that has certainly seized the imagination of the public in general, but also policymakers and business leaders, I can tell you from firsthand discussions with them.
So the top line-- let me take you through the distillation really of the fundamental conclusions and messages of this report. The top line is that given the transformations in various respects in society and the economy, this report calls for, indeed, a renovation and upgrading of social contracts around the world. Now, that might sound quite common, familiar, even redundant of all sorts of rhetoric and coming from various parties.
So what the Commission sought to do is to give effect to that in practical terms. What would that really mean if we were to upgrade social contracts in this day and age? There is almost a mantra behind what we need to address inequality better. We need to find a more inclusive model of economic growth. There is resounding agreement at a rhetorical or an aspirational level in those concepts.
What has been lacking, certainly from my perspective and I think from the Commission's perspective more generally, is a practical rendering of what that would look like. Wishing simply don't make it so. And so this report lays out a three part suggested framework for thinking about how one manifests a commitment to, in fact, upgrade the social contract.
These all involve increasing investment in people in three different dimensions. The first is increasing investment in people's capabilities. That is to say their productivity and potential. The second is in increasing investment in the institutions of work. Institutions in this sense meaning not only rules, but also institutional capacity and incentives that are baked into both formal and informal norms. And then, thirdly, increasing investment in, in fact, employment, decent and sustainable employment.
Now I'll spend a minute or two kind of going through each of these. So in the first in terms of increasing investment in people's capabilities, this goes to strengthening investment to improve the quality as well as equity of access to basic education, skills, skills matching in the economy, gender equality, and the like. And indeed, here, we have the notion of lifelong learning for all as an aspirational goal, a directional goal.
In terms of investing in the institutions of work, very important concept that I think my colleagues will probably pick up on, is the notion of a universal labor guarantee. Which is recognizing and reaffirming what's in the ILO's founding constitutional documents that labor is not a commodity. And that there are fundamental rights, the notion of a living wage, and basic protections such as in the area of safety and health that really ought to be a universal type of guarantee for people.
Time sovereignty is another. Helping people to find a better work life balance, collective representation, and addressing some of the special labor related issues that arise from the new technology that is forming new business models around the world. Each of these can be influenced quite strongly by institutions, again, rules, incentives, and better institutional capacity in the labor market domain.
And then lastly on decent and sustainable work. You know, the business press and the larger press is awash in stories about the potential job replacing implications of automation, both in terms of robots on the factory floor and algorithms in all sorts of service sector employment. And, you know, what I have personally not seen as much and this report emphasizes is that investing as societies in labor intensive employment, of which we see a number of categories likely to grow, such as the care economy, or the green transition, or local non-tradable services that require a degree of human to human contact or special skills, or, indeed, the education sector-- which if we're going to make good on the first point of increasing investment in people's capabilities-- we need a vast improvement in all sorts of education.
And then the second element here is investing much more in ensuring, as much as one can do, that automation is human productivity enhancing rather than substituting. That's a serious agenda that's unplowed in my view in this regard. And by the way, could be a terrific-- if it isn't already-- body of work for the ILR and other faculties going forward.
Let me let me close with a few larger summarizing concepts to pull this together. In our view, what I've just summarized here, an agenda for increasing investment in these three dimensions of people's livelihoods and well being and capabilities, this is tantamount to a new type of structural economic reform that is necessary for our economy to think about as we move through the technological revolution that we at the World Economic Forum happen to call the Fourth Industrial Revolution and as we grapple with the tighter integration internationally of markets.
Too often, the debate goes to, well, we need to do a better job of helping the losers from globalization. To me that is a facile and incredibly insufficient way of looking at the issue. What I've just outlined here is a significant framework for really a different type, a more progressive type of structural economic reform of a country. And we need to switch mental gears in the economic policy profession in this regard.
There has been a systematic underappreciation during the last generation of the human dimensions, the human implications, of economic change. It's been the single greatest failing, in my view, of the economic growth model that we've had. And that needs to be remedied.
And the first place that has to begin to be remedied is what I just laid out and the Commission just articulated, which is to think more carefully what would it look like if national economic strategies put people at the center rather than simply macroeconomic stabilization-- as important as that may be-- or improving market signals through better competition, or engaging in the world economy. All those are very important elements ongoing of economic policy. But the people dimension of this, which is increasingly important in a world that's seen increased pressure and rate of change in the labor markets, have to become a central part, even a top priority, of what finance ministers and chief economic advisors and cabinets focus on.
So the last word here is that we believe what we've just outlined in this report represents a new growth and development model. And this is not necessarily wishful thinking. In my view, we are seeing, and have seen in this country-- and I'll speak more about the US implications maybe later in this morning's discussion-- diminishing returns from extraordinary monetary stimulus and fiscal measures. And similarly, many countries around the world have run the gamut now, including China, but many other countries, in trying to run structural export surpluses as a way to drive their economies forward.
The world needs a new engine, a new engine of growth and development. And frankly, investing in people's purchasing power, their labor productivity, their security is a way to boost aggregate demand domestically, provide a compensating growth and development engine for the secular diminishment of the effectiveness of the things we've been relying on since the financial crisis.
So that is the bottom line here is that, yes, it's a labor agenda. But it's way more than that. This is an argument, a frontal argument for a change in the mental map of how we consider how national economic policy and, indeed, international economic cooperation should be structured. Thank you.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. So big framing. Damien, informal economy. Hugely important. Historically, this is a section that often gets left to the side. So how does the informal economy come into this new framework?
DAMIAN GRIMSHAW: Thanks, Linda. And also thanks for the invitation. Pleasure to be here. So I was on the sort of ILO side of supporting with technical work the Global Commission. It's independent of the ILO. But what I observed is that it's a Global Commission. And it meant that it was thinking about work in all its different forms.
And we know that informal employment, in fact, characterizes the majority of employment in the world. 3 in 5 of the world's workforce are in informal employment. And I think it's fair to say that this was a thread running through all the discussion, the meetings in the Global Commission, as well as through the report itself. So it's picked up specifically in various moments in the report, but it's there all the time. There's many, many references to workers in all forms of contractual arrangements in all forms of employment. And that's a direct reference to the need for covering work in formal and informal.
Now, the commissioners from sub-Saharan Africa, from Brazil, from India were talking about home workers. They were talking about street vendors, waste pickers, and the like. And I think in developed countries, the issues of informal employment has come to the fore really because of the gig economy. All of a sudden, we're realizing that we're getting taxi services or we're getting deliveries through apps, digital platforms. And, of course, there are ongoing legal cases and so on, but it's sort of raising the question about informal employment.
There are obviously many, many other pockets where there's a lot of good research from Cornell scholars and others in the construction sector, in the care sector, and so on. So we know this is a major area that needs to be tackled.
The Dean mentioned the sort of fuzzy boundaries around the standard employer relationship. We know there's been a sort of an underbelly to this. And it hasn't tackled all employment conditions.
So the report has the standard employer relationship in mind. And that's center stage. But it really is talking about all forms of work.
Going back to the gig economy, that's an interesting area because we use Uber. We use other delivery apps. The other side from the location based apps are the web based apps, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and others. And there, really we're dealing with an invisible crowd of workers. And really the technology there in dealing with that kind of work, in organizing those outsourced jobs into a myriad of very, very minute tasks and then offshored around workers who are working online around the world, we've really no idea what's going on.
There's a few surveys. The ILO published one set of survey results last September on microtask workers. We're doing some more work. But the regulations here, the interventions are really light years behind the technologies. And the people who work on these technologies are telling us you're behind. You need to catch up.
So this space of protective rights seems to be getting larger and larger. And that was very much in the forefront, I think, of commissioners' Minds so when the report talks about a universal labor guarantee, it specifically talks about all workers. And the basic conditions that Rick mentioned already, the adequate living wage, the maximum working hours, and the proper or adequate health and safety in all workplaces, whether that's a home or a more formal workplace, these things cover or are meant to cover-- when they're designed and implemented appropriate to their country's level of development and so on-- but they're meant to cover all workers. And that's a radical change in approach.
So the other question, of course, is how this gets done. Rick talked about the social contract. The social contract, as it was always meant within the ILO, is a tripartite understanding, a tripartite dialogue which happens at various levels-- international through the ILO but, also national sector, firm based, and so on. And we're seeing many, many different forms of dialogue through coops, through more informal understandings among workers, even on social apps that are working and helping to coordinate different views and complaints and understandings among microtask workers, for example.
So these sorts of spaces for social dialogue need to be revitalized, reinvigorated. So countries that don't give the statutory protections for trade unions need to. Workers in different areas that don't have freedom of association, again, need to comply with that particular ILO convention and so on.
But employers also have a good reason to get on board with social dialogue because many employers don't want to be outcompeted through false competition where many firms aren't complying with legislation and so on. So we're going to talk more about the social dialogue issues, but that's an important part of how to progress with this agenda through the ambit of the 10 recommendations of the Global Commission.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. John, let's turn to the strengthening and revitalizing of these institutions of work that the report addresses. We're talking about regulations and employment contracts, collective agreements, labor inspection systems. How can these rules of the road be upgraded to really achieve the just societies and economies that is called for?
JOHN IRONS: Great. Excuse me. I'm losing my voice so my apologies. I'll try to make it through. But let me share and echo that thanks to the ILO and to the ILR school for hosting this event. We've seen in recent weeks the importance here in the US of work through the government shutdown, right? We saw everyday story after story of people who did not have adequate incomes because they didn't get the paycheck, a loss of work that people had, contractors, et cetera. So it's a very timely moment to have this discussion.
From the perspective of the Ford Foundation, we're very pleased that the outcome of the report really stresses this human centered agenda, that the Secretary General-- and has been mentioned here, too-- we believe the recommendations and analysis report are very much borne out of a lived reality of work. So we are very appreciative of that.
We also feel that the ILO Commission has made important contributions to the critical dialogue on the future of work. And it's rather a clear understanding on ways to shape the future. So this notion of shaping the future, I think, is central to how the report presents its results. And that's important as we think about the institutions of work, how do we shape those institutions of work going forward. So I it's made a critical contribution to that discussion.
I'd also suggest that this is only a starting point for the hard work ahead to ensure that we fulfill this obligation. I think oftentimes Commissions, commissioner reports, can be seen as the final say. But this is, I think, really the start of the discussion not so much the end. And I'll also mention that we firmly believe that you have to have all the stakeholders at the table for this discussion. It can't be solved by one sector alone.
And then, finally, with respect to the rules of the road, we feel that the institutions of work really need reflect, for example, the presence of informal work that was mentioned. And that's central. And I really very much agree with Damian on the need to have informality be central to all of the discussions not a side issue which it too often is.
And one other thing I'd add is that it's important to recognize growing power imbalances that must be rectified if we're going to achieve the outcomes we seek. The practices of market actors, including multinational businesses, need to become less focused on short term needs of shareholders and more focused on all relevant stakeholders and social interests.
And we must be very clear that there are new expectations on the role of business and society in supporting work and workers. As the ILO has said treating them as people, not commodities is essential.
And we've begun to see is that what makes good business sense is to do this as well. We need to see assets everywhere and everyone and to build mutual relationships across the value chain in order to create enduring value. And so that's not just for today, but that's for the future. So because the future is uncertain, really thinking about the institutions that that support workers is essential, because we don't know what the future to going to bring. And without those institutions, without those rules, those guarantees, we're going to find ourselves in an even worse place than we are today.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. So let's narrow to the US context. Rick, how did all that work the Commission did in this report, what does it all mean for the US?
RICHARD SAMANS: So as an international exercise, of course, we didn't look specifically at any country, no matter how big and noisy an important the country may be. But let me give a few numbers here to bring this to context into context here in the US. I think if there's any country that has more systematically underinvested in, underappreciated the human implications of economic change, again, whether that is technology related, globalization related, domestic deregulation, privatization, you name it has been what I like call a quadruple cocktail of economic change out there for the last generation that we've really under anticipated and under invested in in terms of people.
So let me give you what that looks like in the United States. So I'm going to give you some numbers that compare the US to other advanced countries as defined by the bank and the IMF. But bear in mind that this group of 29 or 30 countries includes countries like Mexico or Greece, southern European countries or Eastern European countries which have only a fraction of the GDP per capita, the United States. Notwithstanding that, we are 29 out of 29 countries in terms of gross pre-primary enrollment.
In terms of basic education equity to access, 22nd out of 30. In terms of skills, what economists call active labor market policies, the United States is 27 out of 27 countries. We invest-- and if there's one statistic I could leave you with, this would probably be the one that captures it best-- the United States invests 1/10 of 1% of GDP in active labor market policies, which is today training and labor force adjustment.
The OECD average-- and again the OECD is a much larger congregation of countries that include lots of countries that are much poorer than this one-- is 0.6% of GDP, six times the US average. Germany is 0.8%. And the northern, the smaller northern European countries are north of 1% of GDP, 10 times more investment. It's remarkable.
Wages and non-wage compensation across a variety of measures, the US ranks-- and this is in terms of the strength of labor market institutions of various sorts, again, rules, incentives, enforcement capacity-- 30 out of 30 countries. Just to give you a sense the ratio of our minimum wage to our median wage in this country were 21 out of 21 countries for which the data exists in the OECD.
You know the story about union density. It's quite low. Even parental leave, 18th out of 24 countries.
Then take just a quick look at social protection, our social insurance system and our safety net, if you will. Here we rank in aggregate across the various dimensions 25th out of 30 countries. And again, remember there are countries like Greece or Portugal or Israel or countries that are really not quite at the same level of economic development as we are in this group.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. And so the bottom line here is that if there is a country that could really benefit from listening to the main message here, that the way to renovate your social contract and thereby dampen some of the polarization of politics and the fraying of living standards and sense of security of the people in the country-- if there's a country that really ought to take a serious look at investing in the various aspects of its people, it would certainly be this one.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. Damien, let's talk about half the population of those people. How can we ensure that half the population does not continue to be left behind in the economic and labor markets? How do we see this report's transformative agenda for gender equality becoming a reality? And what does that look like?
DAMIAN GRIMSHAW: So I'm happy to speak to this. So one of the 10 recommendations in the report is a transformative agenda for gender equality. This is something that the ILO is making quite a big pitch for in its centenary year following a major reports on the care economy last year. I think it's fair to say, perhaps without explicit reference in the Global Commission Report, that it adopts and builds on the feminist economics position which is that equality, gender equality, in the labor market requires gender equality in the home and in civic life and vise versa.
So there was a strong sort of discussion and debates I think in the Commission meetings on all the various penalties and disadvantages that women face. Whether that's the lower rate of labor market participation, the higher probability to be in the lower echelons of occupational hierarchies, organizational hierarchies, the higher incidence of low wage employment and in-work poverty among women, and again globally as well is true in many, many countries, ongoing problems-- as we know from the #MeToo movement of sexual harassment and violence at work, and a gender pay gap. And in fact, the ILO has recently reported the global gender pay gap, which is 20 percentage points, and far higher and wider in many, many countries.
So these problems were very much part and parcel of the debates. The Global Commission, while it's not gender balanced here today, the Global Commission was gender balanced. And there were very, very strong representation of views for women, including women who worked in coops in rural regions of India and other areas. So it was strongly recognized.
What the report does-- and I think this is an important point-- is that it does two things to advance gender equality. One is that it sets out a list of targeted actions. And the other is that it sets out in its general actions and interventions, which we've already heard some, many of those will have a positive bias and favor towards the position of women.
So if we take some of the targeted actions, number one, I suppose I would pick off the call for shared parental leave. We've already heard the situation in the United States. But that's very essential for improving the balance of care responsiveness at home so that careers and employment prospects and work aren't biased one way or the other.
There's a lot of interesting work on China's new two child policy by the way now which, while favoring certain standards of liberty you might say, at the same time, it has a problem of increasing risk of discrimination among women looking to get careers and jobs with employers who have to bear the cost of maternity leave. So until you share paternity leave, you're not going to get over this problem of stereotyping and sex discrimination in recruitment, promotion, and training advancement in the workplace.
We call for pay-- or I say we-- the Global Commission calls for pay audits. So better transparency over pay in companies will enable the various actors to take the remedial action is necessary.
There's a call also to root out bias in algorithms, which is an interesting one. We heard a case recently where the particular company involved-- won't be named-- stopped the algorithm putting male applications and female applications in different baskets or however it works in the IT system. But if you had a CV that said you were the head of the women's basketball team, it would pick this up and you'd be shunted out to the bottom of the line. So these things need to be really looked at properly. And of course, gender, race, ethnicity, and so on, I mean the forms of discrimination are multiplied.
So there's some of the targeted actions. But if we go back to some of things that Rick's already pulled out, care economy is a major issue that's pulled out the report. If you invest in the care economy, and if that goes along with-- as it says in the Global Commission Report-- revaluing care work, perhaps through professionalization, collective association of those workers, then that will be a massive boost for women at work.
Investing in the rural economy, again sub-Saharan African countries, many of the smallholders are women. If you increase access to credit, there's a lot of really good work there. The ILO supports, and we know of through mobile banking apps and so on, that really helps credit get to the women that need it to advance the scale, the scope, the diversity of the work they're doing in the smallholder farmers and so on. So these are two big areas that are general investments which have a biased effect in progressing women.
The other one, of course, is adequate living wage. Women in every country I've ever seen the data for have a higher risk of low wage employment than men. And so anything that boosts the bottom wages of a wage structure will have a favorable effect for women workers.
So it's very important that that's stressed in your reading of the Global Commission Report. So the transformative agenda is one of 10, but it's very important that we see that this is threaded through the other recommendations in an important way, too. Thanks.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. So we are going to-- I want to give John one more question. And then we're going to do a speed round where you each get like two seconds to rattle off, because we want to keep our ourselves going here. There's a lot to go through.
But the algorithms were mentioned. Technology, impact of technology is a big, big topic. So if you can condense it down in a short answer. That's a big ask. How do we harness technology as it's called for to expand choice and achieve this balance between personal life? How do we get to the optimistic rosy scenario?
JOHN IRONS: Yeah. That that's a good question. It's harder to see the optimistic rosy scenario sometimes, but it's good to keep that in mind. I'll try to keep this brief.
So I think that too much of the discussion is robots will take your job and there will be no work for anyone in five years. I'm exaggerating, but not that much. Right? Oftentimes you hear the story about AI, robotics, there'll be no jobs. And therefore, we need some form of universal basic income to compensate, right?
So we do need to recognize that that simple story is simply not true. We could spend a lot of time talking about how it's not true. We won't do that today.
But at the same time, we need to recognize that there'll be greater disruption due to technologies and how it's changing work. And that's important. And so the report calls out things like lifelong learning, job guarantees that all respond to the notion that the pace of change might be accelerating, therefore the pace of disruption might be changing. The net number of jobs is not as important as that disruption piece.
The second thing I would say is that when we think about technology, it's not just how are the jobs themselves changing, but the way you connect to work is changing. And that's a different way to think about the technology piece. So the job itself might be very traditional-- you're driving a taxi, you're cleaning someone's home-- but you connect to it in a different way through an Uber or TaskRabbit or something else or Mechanical Turk, which is very different as well.
And those kinds of connections have the opportunity to expand work, to expand opportunity, especially for those who might have disabilities, might not be able to connect in more traditional ways, but they also have the potential to make work much more precarious at the same time. And so in a lot of ways, we have to think about what are the guard rails we put on how you connect to work through online platforms through use of new technology. Which in my mind argues for a much more activist approach to how you think about technological development.
What are those guardrails you could put on it? How would you ensure that technological development is less about replacing labor, as you said, and more about augmenting human labor. How do we create the incentives to have that kind of technology being developed and deployed rather than the reverse?
So I'll leave it at that. But I think that technology-- I think the report is right to not center technology at each and every aspect of the recommendations, that we just need to be centered on a broader set of issues. But technology is a piece of the puzzle here as well.
LINDA BARRINGTON: OK. Thank you. So speed round. Big report. 10 recommendations. Can you each highlight, if possible, one absolutely critical action that you want these folks to think about and that we need to push as we try to actually implement this? I started with Rick. I'm going to start with John for this speed round and work back this way.
JOHN IRONS: I think I'll say two things very quickly. One is that that's part of the trick here is that there's no one thing. It's often you have the connections across all of these, so taking a comprehensive look I think is essential. And again, I appreciate the report for taking a broad look at a range of issues rather than picking one or two here or there.
Second thing I would say is really needing to center worker voice and power in all these discussions. This can't be a purely technical exercise. It has to really bring in the lived experiences of workers into every aspect of the discussion. So that's one big thing I would emphasize.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. Damien?
DAMIAN GRIMSHAW: If I can say two things-- we haven't talked about aging populations.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Good point.
DAMIAN GRIMSHAW: I mean everybody's aging. All populations are aging. The US actually has a pretty young population compared to other wealthy countries, but aging nevertheless. So the report does talk about social protection. Of course, that includes pensions. So it would be good to get some questions on what do we do there, right? So the report has some ideas.
The other thing, I would just make a little plug that the report does reference a couple of Cornell scholars who do great work. So there's a bit in here on some of the problems with the short-term shareholder model Appelbaum and Batt is one of the references here, Rose Batt's recent work are useful in thinking about long-term investments and why they're good for the economy both for green economies as well as skill investments and a sustainable economy.
The other person referenced is [INAUDIBLE], because we're very interested in the way in which unions can develop better techniques for mobilizing informal and precarious workers or workers in precarious jobs I should say. OK. Thanks.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. And Rick, last word.
RICHARD SAMANS: So one of the dimensions of the report that we haven't spoken about here but was pretty much an important part of the terms of reference was to think about what should the second hundred years of the ILO look like? And while that's not a US specific topic, I thought for completeness I should mention one or two things about that.
So a couple quick things. One is that the ILO, logically, should become the locus of national economic policy dialogue about how countries can go about, indeed, increasing investment in these three dimensions of their people, and learn from each other, and track each other, and put some moral analytical comparative rigor behind these strategies.
Second, this evolving relationship between advanced technologies and the nature of work really cries out for a tripartite rolling process of dialogue and inquiry and learning. And the ILO should logically become the international focal point for that.
Third, indeed, there ought to be some new norms out of this agenda. I think probably we've already stimulated your thinking, as it has our thinking, about that.
And finally, if you buy my argument at the end of my comments that this represents a hopeful new growth and development model for the world, well, that needs a bit of socialization with the other core international economic institutions. And the ILO should work to engage them in that.
Very last thought. So we've articulated in this report what might sound some very starry eyed notions-- a universal labor guarantee, lifelong learning for all, a basic social protection floor. Look, I spend a lot of time with decision makers, business leaders, and policymakers and others in my day job at the World Economic Forum. And I'm aware that some of those messages may seem a bit diffuse or conceptual or aspirational, if you will.
What I would say to you and others in this regard-- and maybe this doesn't need to be said so much to this audience-- is that we, indeed, were asked to think about the future of work, not necessarily a short-term political agenda in the next 18 months until the next election. And if you think back in 1919-- if we were in 1919 and we were thinking about how labor institutions would evolve and the protections would evolve for people over the last 100 years, we would have had a hard time thinking and visualizing exactly how far we have come in many of these respects.
And so that's the level. That's the time horizon. That's the level of ambition. That's the framework of analysis for this report. And so with that, I would just simply suggest that the most important thing is to have a North Star. I think this represents where the human condition can and will evolve if we get it right. But the most important thing I would bring back to the practical, which is this investment in people and a human-centered recalibration and reformulation of what constitutes economic growth and progress.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. So as our panelists step out with our appreciation, I am going to welcome up some New York City insight and expertise with Cyrus Vance and Biju Mathew and we'll hear their comments. Go ahead. You can take the podium. Please.
CYRUS VANCE: Good morning. My name is Cy Vance. And I am the District Attorney, which is an elected prosecutorial position here in New York County, which is also the island of Manhattan. So Linda, thank you for including myself and my office here today. And thank you to Dean Colvin also for inviting us and welcome you to Manhattan, this beautiful space that you've just moved into.
I've also have here from my office Diana Florence and Hildalyn Colon whose work has been essential in our office to achieve the goals that we set out for ourselves in promoting worker safety in New York City. Biju, I look forward to hearing what you have to say in a very, very changing environment in which you work in transportation.
As I was listening to the comments of the prior panel and looking at sort of the goals and objectives of the ILO, some of what we do in the District Attorney's office and, in particular in the construction field, I think is very much a companion with the goals, some of the broad goals, that are set out for international workers' rights. We are an office that is dedicated to making sure that our workers operate in a safe environment and that our workers receive the wages that they are due.
And what's new about some of the work that we are doing is that we are treating cases where there is grave negligence or recklessness in the construction industry itself, or in failing to pay workers the wages that they've been promised as crimes in appropriate cases. And I want to boil down for you, if I may, Linda, just one case that really brings this home to us and my office here in Manhattan.
In the meat packing district of lower west side of Manhattan, there was a construction project to build a new retail shop several years ago. And in the construction of that site, unfortunately, a very young man, a undocumented laborer from Ecuador, came up to work in Manhattan born in [INAUDIBLE] Ecuador. And he came up here and like so many others to achieve a dream which is to provide for his family and for himself.
But in April of 2015, Carlos went to work at this site and died. And he died very simply because the company that employed him put meeting deadlines of construction over the safety and lives of the workers who were working at this location.
He was to celebrate his birthday four days after he died. His mother was coming up to see him. These are all small details, but they reflect the human nature of the consequences that follow when ordinary people fall prey to criminal misconduct by their employers.
His death, most sadly, was utterly preventable. They were digging a foundation in this location. And New York City rules require that after you have a foundation of a certain depth, it has to be shored up. There has to be wood put around the side so there's no risk of collapsing.
But in order to meet the deadlines that they had set for themselves to save money, the company dug this pit to about 12-14 feet without any shoring and ordered the workers, including Carlos into the pit when they were presented with this grave danger. For about two hours, while this digging was occurring, the company managers at the site were being warned by another manager this was terribly unsafe, you just can't go on. But nonetheless, the company sent the workers down into the pit.
And tragically, that pit collapsed on itself. 3,000 pounds of dirt and stone immediately crushed Carlos Moncayo. And a completely preventable death had occurred.
Now what we did that was unusual is that we looked at this as a potential crime as opposed to simply an occasion for a stop work order or an OSHA violation. And we ultimately in a rare exercise of prosecutorial decision making decided that we would charge Sky Materials, which is the company, the contractor, with the crime of negligent homicide. The company ultimately was convicted at trial, which I think is that is itself a very rare and landmark conviction. And in a small way, we were able to achieve justice for Carlos and his family. But obviously, justice after a criminal conviction when your son is dead is cold comfort indeed.
But what it speaks to and what I want to communicate about the goals of your organization is that I really think that we are seeking to, as we evolve, to try to evolve to continue to find ways to advance the protection of our workforce. For us in Manhattan, it means looking at cases like Carlos Moncayo and deciding whether or not the level of negligence and recklessness is sufficient enough to be charged as a criminal case as it was in Carlos' case.
But as we also find, in so many of these cases unfortunately, that along with negligence or recklessness in the workplace by the contractor having workers put into unsafe working environments where they may be hurt or die, where you find one kind of criminal misconduct, you're likely to find another. And Sky Materials, we also determined had underpaid its employees' wages for an extensive period of time. So it was trying to save money by putting workers at risk to get the job done on their timetable. And at the same time with its left hand, it was stealing from its workers the wages that they owed them, that the company owed them.
Out of this case, we determined that what we should do is to address the issue of worker safety and rights-- whether it's physical safety or the right to receive the wages that you've been promised-- that we needed to collaborate as a city to focus on these problems which are citywide problems. And so in 2015, we created a construction task force which not only included the Manhattan District Attorney's offices, but other agencies around the city-- Department of Buildings, many New York City agencies that are also involved in construction practices and licensing.
And the work that we've done, in whether it's wage theft or whether it's construction safety, appears actually to be on the front wave of interest of many states who are trying to understand how they should be doing this work. If so, how do they do it responsibly? What kind of resources do they need? And so we've been privileged to guide cities like Boston or states like California who are themselves focusing on investigations in this areas.
Diana and Hildalyn are a key part of our work. We understand that in order to work effectively in this environment. We also have to way to effectively communicate with the workers. Many of the workers are undocumented in non-union sites. Many don't speak English. But we have to reach out to these individuals in order to educate them about their rights and what to do. How do they empower themselves when they are put at risk in a construction site? And Diana and Hildalyn have been incredibly, I think, imaginative. They've now gone out and I think spoken to about 2,000 plus workers over the course of the last several years, mostly in Spanish.
We have a we have been able to wrap in the support of consulates, like the consulate from Ecuador or Mexico or other Spanish speaking countries, who have a regular, ongoing dialogue with the citizens of their countries that are in New York City. And it is a safe haven for those citizens, particularly at a time when many undocumented individuals are afraid of arrest and deportation. So we have used the consulates as a place where we can communicate to the Spanish speaking communities in an area in a way that's safe and supportive, as well as individual sessions, like a group this size, being educated on what their rights are in the workplace and what their corporations that employ them are responsible for doing.
So those are the two ways in which we have focused our efforts. Our construction task force has started the process of getting back wages from companies. A number of cases Diana and Hildalyn have commenced, I think we have about $2.5 million thus far in back wages that has been given to the workers. I think that's probably going to turn out to be a drop in the bucket.
But before I leave before I leave you-- and Diana is speak later-- and we listen to Biju, the point I want to make is I think the goals of all good citizens and of the ILO is to create a safer place where we can all thrive in our employment and in earning a fair wage to support ourselves and our families. From time to time, the prosecutors and investigators are going to become involved in holding construction companies and the like accountable. Accountable for making sure that their workplaces are safe. And the tragedies, like tragedies that happen to Carlos Moncayo and his family, don't happen again. But if they do happen, that they will be investigated and where appropriate, prosecuted.
And since Carlos' death, we have invited a number of other companies for not just for serious physical injuries that have occurred to the workers in the workplace based upon the negligence or neglect of their employees. So prosecutors will play a role in this. And I think we are called to do this.
This is not the past history for investigation of these matters. But going forward, we want to be involved in making sure that we are here to protect the residents of New York City. It does not matter to me one whit whether you are documented or undocumented. Our city has thrived on diversity since its founding many hundreds of years ago. And irrespective of where you come from or who you are or your background, if you work in New York City, and you work in Manhattan, you deserve a safe place to work. You deserve to get the wages you are owed. And if that's not the case, then you may fall prey to an investigation which may hold you accountable with criminal court. Thank you so much.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. That was really important insight from the front lines of the institutions of work that get the wonderful visions we have here enforced and complied with. We're now going to shift to a different frontline in an industry, transportation, that has been also hit or impacted in dramatic ways with the new technologies.
BIJU MATHEW: Thank you so much. And I'm here from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and the National Taxi Workers Alliance or the AFL-CIO. And I'm coming from a situation where, in New York City over the last few months, we've managed to put into place the beginnings of a new regulatory framework on the gig economy lords like Uber and Lyft and Juno. And in the process of putting that initial framework into place, we also realize how long and hard this road is going to be.
I'm also coming from a place where in that process of just putting that initial framework into place came after eight drivers in New York City committed suicide between November of 2017 and the current moment. And if we can look at what is happening right now in terms of efforts to undermine that bare minimum fragment of a regulatory framework that we put into place, then the greatest worry I come here with is how do we ensure that there are no more suicides?
I'm also coming here in my role as the National Taxi Workers Alliance Secretary just 10 days ago, I was in the city of Mumbai in India where we had a meeting between Uber and Lyft drivers and traditional taxi drivers from eight different cities in India in the effort to create the first strong network that's going to fight for rights there. And that came to me as I walked into that room for a two day meeting with an unconfirmed set of rumors, in terms of counts, of 23 driver suicides in the city of Mumbai itself.
So that is what we are faced with. It's not that victories are not coming. In New York, we prove that a mobilized work force working really on the streets to bring the message out will produce change. And the leadership of several people in the moment in the city, the city council, the speaker, the mayor, et cetera, and various offices, including the prosecutorial offices-- and I know we can expect an enormous amount of leadership from Mr. Vance and his office.
But the point simply is that if you look at the report, it is-- as one of the other previous panelists called it-- the Northern Star. It gives us a way to move forward. It once again underscores the whole tripartite framework and the need to move forward to bring up new standards and new structures as we try and execute the tripartite framework all over again.
But the question simply is if that is the Northern Star, if the report lays out the Northern Star, what is the pathway? What are the strategies? And one way of transforming that question is to simply ask the question in that tripartite framework of employers, that is big business and companies, the gig economy in this case, workers and workers organizations, and government, and political people, people who come up from within the political framework, in that tripartite formation where does the leadership come from?
And I would like to submit that what we are seeing is a struggle. What we are seeing is a struggle wherein labor and the political formations have to play the role of the leadership in this. And while there's been significant transformation in the last decade or more, we are still seeing deep splits within the labor movement and deep splits within the political framework in terms of how to create that strategy.
I'll just give you one example. I opened just now by saying that even as we put into place a bare minimum regulatory framework that we need to fight for to implement over the next several years, Juno and Lyft just went to court yesterday to attempt to stop that wage increase for at base drivers. And they succeeded. They didn't get a TRO, but they did succeed in putting all that money into an escrow account. So in other words, workers who've been starved for the last five years in the app industry-- and one of the ways we say that is that Uber, Lyft, et cetera starve the Uber driver to starve the yellow driver by undercutting constant.
So then we tried to create a floor. And they have gone to court against the floor. So when I say the leadership has to come from within the labor movement and it has to come from within the political framework, and there are deep splits in there, in the tripartite framework, what we often find, for instance from our perspective, is that there are company unions now that are getting into bed with the companies. We're already beginning to hear that entire dynamics position in California is going to be undermined by a set of unions working with a set of legislators in the California legislature to try and create an exemption for the gig economy laws in California.
I know that 10 years ago we did not even have the kind of leadership that we have now from within labor and within the political framework. But I'm also, therefore, saying that given the deep division, part of what a room like this needs to do is to figure out how to support building that movement wherein two pegs of that tripartite framework are strengthened.
Two other quick things which is we are a data driven organization. And for us, when we talk about it being data driven-- and I look at the report and the amount of data in there-- I think we really need to think through what it means to say 47 million jobs are going to be lost. What it means to say, you know, that 60% of jobs will have 30% of its competence to be automated. We've got to figure out what it means to say 2/3 of the developing world's informal economy jobs might be automated, because all of that will come hurtling down the political pipeline and create crisis after crisis after crisis. And that's the context in which the tripartite world will have to work.
And finally, I'll say that in the context of one of the comments from the previous panel, I think we really have to think through the question of value. Workers create value. Workers are not commodities. They are part of a process. And without them, there is no value creation as well.
And a class conscious politics that looks at the question of value really has to think far, far, far ahead in trying to think through how to create the resources from that value that workers have been denied in terms of the lifelong guarantees, et cetera, that the report puts up as all good.
So I think it's three basic things. How do you harness that value to ensure-- and that's a political question-- how do we harness that value to ensure that we do get into a place wherein those lifelong guarantees can be brought into place? A continued framework of research that looks at all of these numbers that are pouring out, and what the cross referencing kind of details of this will be which will create political crisis after political crisis.
And finally, the big, big point, which is in the tripartite framework, we need to strengthen those segments of labor and those segments of the political force that are going to give leadership to this new vision. And there isn't enough support for those segments right now. And I think we need to create that political movement, that social movement on the ground, to be able to do that. Thank you.
LINDA BARRINGTON: OK. Thank you both very much. We appreciate that. We are now going to move to our third panel to continue further commentary and discussion. I think we're going to let you guys go down. And here we've got our three. There's a step on the other side if you want to use the stairs.
So we're going to take the next-- we're about seven minutes. So shift what number times are on your program by about seven minutes. We are going to do commentary and discussion from the lens of business, higher education. And then we are going to take a break and move to you all as the participants in the breakout discussions.
So for this session, we've now heard about the report. We've heard two very different and insightful frontline perspectives. Steven, you bring the lens of finance, seeing the investment and employment decisions that are being made up front. Diane, you're on higher education sector, not just studying startups and companies going from small to big, but educating the leaders and the workers. And Carol, your organization is working to expand. We've got human investment. At the front of this report, you're working to expand that access to higher education and to employment opportunities for underrepresented and first generation college students.
So from those three perspectives, let's start with Steven on what's missing.
STEVEN BIRKENFELD: OK. Well, when you look at the recommendation, especially the last couple of ones, it really begs the question what's the mission and purpose of a corporation. In the US for over 40 years-- and it wasn't always this way-- the overwhelming answer to that has been shareholder primacy. The duty of the corporation and its board was to maximize the return to shareholders above all else. As long as they played by the rules of the game, they complied with the law, there was no fraud, that was it-- maximize shareholder value.
A shift is occurring. There is discussion now about seeing corporations as promoting long-term sustainable investment opportunities. And that means taking into account all stakeholders. Yes, shareholders and creditors, but also the community, customers, suppliers, the environment is a big part of it. And employees. And we'll come back to the and employees part of this.
So I think that the question that's being asked-- it's being asked a lot in academic circles. It's being asked a lot by investors, leadership by organizations, like BlackRock, and CalPERS and CalSTRS, and T. Rowe Price is does the company serve a social purpose? Is it making a positive contribution to society over the long term? And that's important. That should be part of a corporation's mandate. And again I think before 40 years ago, 50 years ago, that was part of the calculus even if it wasn't articulated that way.
And you hear terms like redefining capitalism, and inclusive capitalism, and new paradigm, and impact economy. And it all comes down to is the business making a contribution to the public good. And is it helping solve our biggest social, economic, and environmental problems?
And I think in many respects, companies are making progress. Every corporation, major corporation, has a citizenship agenda. Their sustainability programs that are almost universal. But it's not yet consistently being extended to employees and workers. Not at all.
And that's evidenced by things like productivity layoffs, companies that have record earnings, record cash, record stock prices, still laying off thousands of workers every year just because they've become more efficient and just throwing them out to the market without any attempt to retrain them for new opportunities, without any kind of long-term commitment. It's reflected by shifting work from W-2 employees, full time employees, to independent contractors where you don't have to provide them any of the benefits that employees get.
Fighting minimum wage increases. Just look at the ratio of CEO Comp to medium employee work and how much that has increased in this country over the last decade or two.
My own view-- and it's not that I don't care about these issues so let me finish the sentence here-- I don't care how much a company has reduced its carbon footprint, improved its supply chain, or brought diversity to its board, a corporation is not a sustainable, socially responsible business if it doesn't take care of its workers. If it doesn't pay a living wage, if it doesn't provide reasonable benefits, if it doesn't provide some sort of long-term security, I don't know how you define it as being sustainable or socially responsible.
And I think what comes out of this set of recommendations more than any other is this laser focus for businesses and engaging the business community to say it's time for you to be more accountable. If you really do want to contribute to the social good, you need to make sure that employees are included in those stakeholders, that you're thinking about how you treat them, how you hire them, and the commitment that you're making to them over the course of their career.
And I think that would be a fundamental shift back to where we were, right? Articulated better and more carefully monitored by customers and investors who care about those things. I think it's time for customers to say I care about these progressive values to know how these corporations rank and to make economic decisions on the basis of how they perform. Thank you.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. Carol, from your lens, what's missing? And what are the key highlights for expanding that opportunity pipeline of education?
CAROL CARTER: So good morning. And it's great to be here. And Steven, just to follow up on how you launch this, we believe at a GlobalMindED, the future of work is human. And that does require to reach the ILO goals, a lot of diversity, and a lot of diversity of thought.
So we see access for low income populations through shifting of power structures, shifting of hierarchies, to be much more inclusive, and to really be able to work to transform so that diversity is present in all of those different aspects. That's K-12. That's higher education, many of our companies, how we legislate, and then foundations and funders. There's a lot of people within the foundation funder world who could be getting much better ROI on their investments if they had much more diversity at the table representing those things that are their blind spots.
So GlobalMindED, we focus on opportunity with populations of individuals. For example, there are 36 million illiterate adults in the United States. And I think about 16 million of them are over the age of 60. But many of those people are parents. And we focus a lot at GlobalMindED on first generation to college. Our colleges, by and large, are flatfooted dealing with first generation to college students. So nationally, about 11% of our first generation college students go on to graduate.
Also nationally, about 43% of our college graduates are going to jobs right now that are commensurate with their education. That's across every audience. And that's Gallup research. But we know that low income populations suffer the most because, they are the most debt laden. They don't come to college with the networks and the role models and the built in structures that their more resourced middle and upper middle class peers might have.
So we look at how can we shift this and how can we open these opportunities. Because many of you work for companies or know companies who desperately want a diverse talent pipeline, but if we're not able to really bridge that directly, then companies aren't getting what they need in that diversity. And we're not serving those talented, potential employees either.
So we believe that getting women, people of color, ability status, LBGTQ, onto boards, into the C-suite, funding them so that they can become entrepreneurs and start businesses. Many of you know women are funded at some of the lowest levels and people of color even lower than that.
Working with uncommon collaborators to solve some of the wicked problems, we have to really go out of the lanes that we typically swim in. One of the big partners that we work with are health equity experts. We know that you can't learn if you're not healthy. And you can't work if you're not healthy. And often it educator events, we don't have that really critical perspective to help us solve for that.
So we believe there is a lot of wisdom in the outliers as well as wisdom in the experts. We work with historically black colleges, the tribal colleges, the Hispanic serving institutions. Many of these places where-- when we cultivate these relationships and these opportunities for internships, travel abroad, mentoring-- we're able to open up a lot of opportunities for those students. So we also believe there has to be a shift in learning and teaching so that faculty who facilitate, collaborate, and co-create with students are graduating students that can really add value whether it's going to be in the world of work or whether they're going to go out and start their own company. But they know how to add value, because we've actually given them those major opportunities.
And then, finally, we have something that we call the Bold Goal which is by 2025, we want to have 25 million first generation to college students, those who work with them, and those who want to hire them algorithmically connected for role models, mentors, internships, and jobs. So think of it as a eHarmoney for first gen to college. And we believe that that can really resource all of the different connections that those individuals will need throughout the arc of their career in ways that no one college or no one organization can provide those vast resources.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. So Diane, your insights spans scholarship on business and being an educator. What would you add to the comments of Steven and Carol?
DIANE BURTON: So I want to talk about two different things. And they're quite different. My own academic background is an entrepreneurship scholar. And this is one of the things that struck me about the report and also opened some curiosity to my mind is what is the role of new businesses and entrepreneurship in this overall agenda?
At least here in the US, we're learning that new job creation is disproportionately coming from new firms. OK, so how do we think about those new firms? Our worry, our fear, is these are firms that are not creating jobs for the kinds of jobs that we aspire to and the notions of employment are dramatically shifting. I'm not sure that that's true around the world.
And what can we learn about entrepreneurship? This is very much related to what Damien was talking about, the informal economy. Much of entrepreneurship is happening in the informal economy. Is it a priority to shift in informal entrepreneurship over to the formal economy? How do we do that? Should we be doing that or should we be working in other areas? And so for me, the role of entrepreneurs and new business is an important open question in the broader agenda.
But I also want to speak to the role of academia and not the instructional role of academia per se, but the research role of academics. What are the unanswered questions? What are the high priority concerns where we actually don't have the evidence we need to persuade people to move in this direction? How can we learn about the world? And how can we inform the policy makers and the other leaders in this conversation?
There were a couple of things that also came through in the report is that there are big differences between urban and rural. But we're seeing those conversations-- how much of a connection should there be between the urban and the rural? Now increasingly, Cornell is on the front lines of thinking these are inextricably connected and so that we have to understand the relationship between things like food production and urban living. And so that we can't separate the urban from the rural and have to be connecting them and understanding migration patterns, and food systems, and the other aspects of urban versus rural.
The other thing that struck me in our conversation this morning is the importance of local actors. Now, the ILO has typically been thinking at the national level. We've been thinking about national institutional systems. But what we heard from our colleagues in New York is that there's a possibility of regional, state level, or even city level, lower level action. And in fact, many of the most important experiments we're seeing in ways of making change are happening at the local level. How can we celebrate and learn from some of those local initiatives?
And in this broader notion of learning and sharing, this is one of the tragedies of academia is we're very, very siloed. And so people who are experts in one country are talking to experts other experts in that country. But where our opportunity is-- and again where the ILO has always been-- is in this international dialogue and learning across and doing comparative work. I'd urge us to take that on more seriously, comparative work.
But again to all of you, OK, well, what are the questions that you urgently need answers to and how can we as university scholars help with that?
LINDA BARRINGTON: So your last point was going to be my next question to the group. And the question is-- speed round-- what is the one thing that you want to charge or encourage everyone here to push in their conversations? So you said what are the research questions, but if you have a second one, you have it. And then Carol and then Steven and then we'll take our break.
DIANE BURTON: So I do have a second one, and again for me it's a research question. Many years ago, shoshanna-- Zarkov had a very powerful book in the age of the smart machine where she coined a term infirmate. And she talked about technology's ability to automate versus technology's ability to informate. And that idea of informating seems very consistent with what the report was talking about. Infirmating is allowing transparency, allowing people to see, really putting the human in control.
We understand how infirmating is happening for employers in the form of digital surveillance, in the form of monitoring in the criminal justice system. We're seeing nascent experiments of informating among workers where workers are able to communicate among themselves about is this a good employer? Is this a company that engages in wage theft? How can we collectively mobilize? And so using, for me, a thing that we want to talk about is the possibility of technology to enable the kind of transformation that Biju was talking about.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Thank you. Carol.
CAROL CARTER: I would say how do you identify what your blind spots are. And where are you willing to bring in the uncommon collaborators, including the students themselves and the people for whom you're trying to solve, so that we can create that capable and diverse talent pipeline and open up the doors of access for a much wider group of people into economic mobility?
LINDA BARRINGTON: OK. Steven.
STEVEN BIRKENFELD: I would say we have to decide individually and collectively what kind of society we want. Do we want inequality to continue to grow the way it is? And we have to recognize how much technology and automation is contributing to that. And then we have to say who's really accountable here. Right? What are the acts that are contributing to it? And what are the acts and actors that are trying to change the way we think about these issues?
And so we've gone down this path where we really haven't been engaging on this. And things have gone, I would say, too far. It's now time to pull it in. And then all of us, again, collectively and individually as investors and as customers need to reward those businesses and those actors that are doing well. And we need to think about how we penalize those that aren't. So we need the information. We need the analysis. And then I think we really need the accountability.
LINDA BARRINGTON: OK. Now it is your turn. We have a 10 minute break. You can go downstairs. Let one of our staff know if you prefer a pass to use the elevator. Down the stairs one floor is coffee and four different rooms. They're listed in your programs along with the list of the 10 recommendations.
So we're going to take that 10 minute break to move to your room of choice. If you get to a room and it looks full move to the next one. The conversation is going to be engaging everywhere. It is going to be what you bring to it.
We will then convene back here at 12:10 for a final discussion and report back on the key highlights of those conversations. And then we'll have box lunch. So I will see you all back here at 12:10. Coffee and working groups downstairs. And thank you to our panels.
STEVEN BIRKENFELD: Thank you.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming back into the main plenary. We are at the end of this program, but by no means the end of the excitement. So I'd like to really get to it. We have on stage representatives from each of the groups that you have been participating in. And we'd really like to hear what was being discussed what are some of the concerns and some of the more thoughtful ideas beyond the report that we could really work on subsequent to this meeting. Those in live stream, thank you very much and please send us any questions that you may have.
So I'd like to start with Kelly Ross. Kelly, you were heading up the decent jobs and social protection section. What were the main key points and maybe one contentious issue?
KELLY ROSS: Is this on? Yeah, yeah. So we covered a lot of ground in our group. The question we posed was faced with growing inequality and the temptation of people facing economic hardship to latch on to right wing populist narratives that I think are frightening to a lot of different sectors, how do we turn this around? How do we get from here to there? We have a lot of big ideas on the table that are inspiring, but how do we make them happen? How do we operationalize them? And so we discussed about making change happen at every level, at the global level, at the national level, at the local level.
And I think people recognize that a shift is happening. There is an opportunity for change for various reasons. There's a change in business attitudes. I think that we talked about how some businesses are trying to pull back and go in a different direction because they're seeing what the results are of the current trajectory.
And yet there was-- several people talked about the idea of international efforts to regulate corporations using social movements to put limits on capital and how capital uses technology. We talked about national level approaches, including investment in people which was highlighted in the ILO report the fact that we're so far behind other peer countries in all the indicators that was mentioned in our morning session. The need for more diversity in leadership in our politics, in organizations at every level, in our businesses our leadership needs to reflect who we are as a people.
And at the local level, we talked about the importance of education, the importance of teachers who are not paid enough to bring about a change in mindset and, hopefully, incorporating into the educational curriculum the importance of collective action and unions.
And we talked about organizing, union organizing, at the local level. And some of the signs of hope there are nontraditional organizing of car wash workers, of taxi drivers. And then as also a potential source of hope is organizing on a sectoral and industry wide level.
So we covered a lot of ground. I don't know that we have all the answers, but I think people recognize that this is a turning point, that a shift is happening, and at all those levels, we need to make change happen.
KEVIN CASSIDY: If I may, I'd like to turn now to Irene on work society and social contract. For you and your group, how did that conversation develop?
IRENE JOR: So we started off actually exploring with each other in a share and pair what should be in the social contract, what's meaningful to you personally to see in there. And folks named a number of things that I think there's overlapping support and desire for spanning from care to transit and housing. There was a piece where it was like naming beyond what types of things we need and going to actually thinking about like how would it be built out, right? What would be the infrastructure for it? How could you actually make it a strong, durable thing in which you could deliver that social contract and uphold it and honor the lives that it affects?
We went into, then, really talking about the meaning of work. So the first question the group was responding to was the value of work in today's society besides earning a salary is about collective activity, social relationships, and contributions to societies at large. So how is the nature of work changing and interacting with this notion? And we had a lot of different responses. I think that also really helped folks see there's a lot of different types of stakeholders that come from all these walks of life and have thoughts about what does it mean for work to be more than just work for survival, while recognizing for some people, that is the only thing that they're able to access. Not everyone can actually find work that they feel like is personally meaningful because of different barriers and different ways that they're discriminated and/or oppressed in society.
But there was this deeper desire, I think, among everyone to actually say, like, work shouldn't feel like it's a one way street where it's being extracted from you. It should be something that you feel like does give you something extra, that feels meaningful in your life. And I could see it was hitting folks personally and it allowed us to think beyond the room and who else engages with work all around us in our society.
I think there was quite a bit of conversation about how do we create jobs differently. And I think that was very important. And it was tied to a conversation about what's the role and responsibility of corporations who have a lot of power shaping our labor markets to actually responding to a mass call for a really strong social contract that serves intersecting communities.
We spent quite some time also talking about workers who are not at the table who are clearly excluded and communities that are excluded as well. So some communities that folks named were the disabled. It was also the aging community and seniors, sex workers, prisoners, also food chain alliance workers.
And I think in this point, I think there was a little bit of grappling with there are huge power differentials. So even when you have, say, a tripartite or multi-stakeholder process, how well our folks actually set up to participate in these conversations and actually matter at the table? How far away are folks from actually getting to the table? And at the same time, folks are organizing creatively in their communities or through the ways that they may be collectively responding, maybe through unions or worker centers as well, or really as organic community efforts to take on something that feels important to them collectively and building power to shift what that framework that experience looks like.
So yeah, those are some of the main themes that we covered. Sorry, my notes are really-- there a little bit all over the place, because our room really spanned a lot of different folks all over the field thinking about workers and labor. And I think it was a very fruitful, generative conversation. And we could see folks responding back to each other.
But I think this group was very socially driven. There was a moment where there was a collective raise of hands when we asked for whom else is this an issue, this gap in care or this lack of like deep connection that we wish there was more of so folks felt like their humanness, their wholeness, is actually honored and upheld? I think this group resonated with me, because working with domestic workers, oftentimes work has been posed to them as something if you're not doing it, you're not surviving or taking care of others, then you could be seen as disposable or useless. The constant experience of being unemployed or underemployed really defines how someone thinks of themselves in society.
And I think for all of us, the whole room, I think, was wanting to collaborate and thinking about how do we shift that, right? And the big questions came up around, well, what if we did have a strong social contract where we got these things that we feel like we need that would allow us to live really well, that everyone would have a higher quality of life, would it change how we relate to work and how we think of ourselves as workers? And would the conversation, then, about future work actually look very different?
So there was really this macro level of thinking, well, if society looked more different, this would also feel very different. And it's very clear at the moment workers are reabsorbing much more risk. And increasingly and exponentially growing risk is being offloaded to them with the trends that I think collectively agreed that we are seeing with how technology is affecting labor markets.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Thank you very much. I had one or two questions for you, but I think I'm going to move on and get everybody's feedback first and then I'll come back. I wanted to look at the gender lens. I wanted to look at the youth employment issues. I think that's something also in this society that we need to take into account.
If I can turn to Louis at this time. Louis, you were working on organization of work and production, something I think you've been working on for a while. Can you tell me exactly how that conversation went and if there were points there that you thought people were not really understanding the full measure of what this means.
LOUIS HYMAN: We completely agreed on everything. So it was unlike everything else.
KEVIN CASSIDY: You solved the problems.
LOUIS HYMAN: All the problems are solved. Yeah, so I think the sort of colorful phrase someone used was this is an opportunity to blow up work. And by that she meant that the world that we are kind of nostalgic, for this post-war compact of employer-employee relationships, was one that really didn't include everybody. It didn't include women, people of color, migrants. And so we spent a lot of time talking about that sort of demography, which in the report is there, but is also seen as an add-on rather than a constitutive structural aspect to how we think about work.
So we talked about starting with women and what the future of work would look like if we started with women and the needs of women. And what would it be like if we started with the presumption that people needed flexibility in their lives rather than just trying to shore up a world built for men?
We also talked about starting with migrants. So that migrants are this sort of largest political issue right now over who gets to be included and where. And if the ILO's mission was based in the post World War I notion of nation state, then this is not as relevant today. And so in the sense that the nation may not be the object of analysis, the basic unit of policy.
And so as you think about the emerging economies and their connection to the developed OECD countries, how do we make those connections? So we talked about how worker centers on Staten Island can go back to El Salvador and support those communities there to deal with the root cause of migration, to support workers wherever they are.
We also talked about how this time is beginning to disrupt the standard narrative of development that we have for capitalism. So what does it mean when you can't have labor intensive manufacturing in your country anymore? That Manchester, in 1848, is no longer possible and that everything will be born automated. So this is one of the questions about what happens in those countries that can't sell artisanal crafts to Etsy buyers.
We also talked about the importance of artisanal crafts and Etsy buyers. That this is a kind of space that is about empowering micro entrepreneurs, empowering women, and is largely discounted as we lump together all different kinds of platforms just as we lumped together all different kinds of corporations.
So we spent a lot of time talking about the variety of different kinds of businesses, creating a variety of different kinds of work. And the part where we probably disagreed the most was on how we support the good ones, the ones that align with our values about these human centered values, and creating good work and security for humans everywhere.
We then debated whether that was something that was shared by various different people around the world. There is a notable country in East Asia that is doing lots of development in Africa and is exporting its values, that are not democratic values, that are not focused on those kinds of issues that, perhaps, Europeans share.
So as we've debated these things, we looked to questions of not just policy, but power. We thought it was really important in these conversations not to think that a group of technocrats at the national level would legislate this good world or design this good world. The word that came up again and again in our conversations.
And so we tried to think about sort of different sites of power within this emerging economy-- labor organizations, both traditional and emergent, local governments, consumers. And we had a really robust debate over whether or not any of these other sites of power really have the power and authority of federal governments to enact real change.
On the academic front, we debated over whether any of this is really happening and whether these numbers matter. And so it just-- as an academic-- it seems like wonderful that there's so much opportunity to get more research grants to support research in the space. As a historian, I will not be privy to them, but my colleagues will. So that's pretty much what we talked about-- the sort of global, the local, starting with gender, starting on the margins. And also rethinking about how by solving for people who've been left out that previous accord, we can actually even help people who are part of it now. And they're losing their ground today.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Excellent. Thank you very much. We've saved the easiest for last, governance of work. When the ILO had started, we have our tripartite structure. Louis was talking about the nation state may not be the point of departure any longer. There are new actors in this space. How did your group structure this discussion? And, James, I'll ask you first and then if Diane could follow up-- Diana, from your perspective, please.
JAMES BRUDNEY: Thanks, Kevin Yeah, the easy questions. I guess my first response would be that what we could agree on was a set of questions not necessarily a set of answers. And one question that occupied us was how to identify the responsible party for providing or having primary responsibility in the employment or worker relationship? Which gets us to employees versus independent contractors, and the global growth of subcontracting, and employers distancing themselves or corporations distancing themselves from the traditional employment relationship that historically we've understood to be the norm.
And we had some discussion about how different efforts have been made to fix responsibility. I mean the California Supreme Court has done something recently to try to identify a more realistic set of responsibilities for corporations. We had some discussion of tomato pickers in Florida who've figured out how to pursue supply chain players, both growers and brands. That's a more private regulatory solution rather than a public regulatory solution. And we did talk a lot about the interplay between private and public regulation in trying to get answers to these kinds of questions.
A second area that we explored was what does or can the United States learn from other governments and cultures in terms of improving or enhancing or protecting labor standards? And a lot of that discussion focused on child care and on family leave and on gender equity and what has gone on in other situations, particularly in Europe, to enhance protections. I mean it took us a long time in this country to move into the family leave world. Europe was there well before us. We used Europe to some extent as a model in Congress. We still don't have paid family and medical leave on a national level, but now a number of states and localities have gone in that direction.
A third area that we grappled with involved whether the EU countries-- I mean there was some discussion about the fact that Europe and the EU countries have a more institutionalized perspective on the regulation and protection of decent work. That's partly because corporations who are based in Europe have a less shareholder exclusive view of how to function. And it's partly because governments in Europe have a tradition of promoting and protecting decent standards and safety nets in ways that has not always been prevalent in this country.
So one of the questions was could the EU set standards for corporate supply chains? It was suggested or pointed out that data handling rules that the EU has developed have become really of necessity something that US corporations have to pay attention to. Are there perhaps other areas in which the way in which the European Union, which is after all still the largest economic market, can put pressure on other parts of the world, I mean certainly on other developed markets like ours, to be more responsive?
And to anticipate your question about a contentious issue, I think we were pretty copacetic group. I don't think we had any people rising up out of their chairs in disbelief. But I think one thing that we had some modest disagreement about was how to assign or incentivize responsibility, especially in the US, but also elsewhere among corporations and governments. How to balance between what both corporations and governments may regard as their institutional self-interest, whether it's the profit motive or competitive advantage or the race to the bottom and the broader vision of a societal and collective self-interest which we seem to agree needs to be kind of it needs to infiltrate into those more traditional self-interest models.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Thank you. And Diana, please.
DIANA FLORENCE: Yes. And just to sort of round that out, we went back to the tripartite model, which is 100 years old in the ILO context. And thinking about that for a moment with governments and corporations and workers collaborating and coming up with standards, we then sort of led to the discussion of what we at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office are doing. And what we're doing is we are doing strategic co-enforcement.
So we take that tripartite structure and we turn it slightly on its head, because we have a really big stick in the criminal law. And so we hear from these different actors what's going on. And then we see the patterns. And we try to fix them using criminal enforcement.
And there was some discussion about whether getting industry input is feasible and should you be doing that. We talked about how you can change behaviors just by thinking about them, even with the tools that already exist. So we don't necessarily need new statutes. We just need to be thinking about things.
For example, Carlos Moncayo who went to work and never came home. That, 10 years ago, would have been considered a civil case, a construction accident. But when you think about it in a different way, you think about it as he's not just an undocumented worker who died. He's a person.
Worker safety is public safety. And we talked about that. We talked that fraud against a worker is fraud against the taxpayer. It's fraud against every citizen of every country.
So I think when you think about the lens broader and you think more directly, you identify with the victims and the corporations, that co-enforcement of working together and being strategic about what cases you bring, you can affect change. And that's why I think that, ultimately, we came up-- I think we were copacetic and we were a very hopeful group-- because I think that there are ways that governments and community organizations and workers can come together and, frankly, make things better overall.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Great. I'm going to give one question over to Kelly. He has to dash off to an event over at the UN. Kelly, what does the AFL-CIO see as the way forward, in 10 seconds or less.
KELLY ROSS: Well, as a matter of fact, we have our own commission on the future of work and unions where we are examining all these very issues. So this ILO report comes at a very timely juncture. I don't want to say that we have an agenda worked out, because we're working on it at this moment. But clearly, collective bargaining is at the center of any agenda to reduce inequality. If we maintain the current trajectory on inequality, we are in for bad things and something has to be done.
And our experience in the past has shown that collective bargaining and unions are a very important part of reducing inequality. And so is full employment. So is decent work in labor standards and all of the things that the ILO works on.
So we have to get our minds around the new technology. We've been dealing with technology for a long, long time. We've been dealing with automation for a long, long time. These are not new subjects. And there are things that we bargain about. And there are things that we have some expertise in. Technology is not something to be afraid of. It's the use of technology by unequal power relationships that we have to work on.
I want to just focus on one thing that Jim just mentioned and Biju mentioned earlier this morning. We talk about some of these concepts as being kind of starry-eyed, ambitious, over the horizon ideas. But right here and right now in California, there's a Supreme Court, California Supreme Court decision, that would make a lot of people who are now treated as independent contractors employees with all the rights and protections of employees. It's called the Dynamex Decision. They are in the process of codifying that decision into law. It's a big deal.
And it's very consistent with-- the ILO reports call for a universal labor guarantee and universal social protection. Because if those workers are treated as employees, they will have-- it won't be all the way there in terms of a living wage, but it'll be a lot of the way to the goals of this report. So I think it's not just wishful thinking, that this is doable. And it's happening right now.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Great. Thank you very much. Diana, what is a worker? What is an employer? How do you deal with that?
DIANA FLORENCE: Well, we deal with-- a worker is anyone who performs services, frankly, in exchange for money. And unfortunately, the money is not always coming. And that's where we come in. Increasingly employers are shorting their workers money.
And what we've seen here is that when a company is shorting their workers wages, they're also likely cutting corners on safety. They're also not paying their taxes. They're also lying to the Workman's Compensation insurance companies.
And so what we see is that bad actors aren't very discriminating about where they're bad. When they're bad, they're bad across the board. And so you need to see that it isn't really so individual, honestly, when we talk about workers. It's usually our workforce. They don't single out one worker to steal from, it's a business model.
And that's what government needs to-- we as local government here in New York, we see that. And once you see it, you can't unsee it. And then you say how can we solve it? And the way that we've seen to solve that is to use the criminal laws, to incentivize. Incentivize not perhaps in the way the ILO report wants to do with carrots, which I think are great, but sticks are great, too.
KEVIN CASSIDY: OK. That's a whole other conversation, because I think we just don't have enough time. Irene, you talked a bit before about the social contract. Youth employment, obviously important. What about persons with disability? How can they contribute to society and was your group speaking about those issues?
IRENE JOR: Yeah. I actually would love to invite a participant who highlighted that for us. I don't know-- is that allowed?
KEVIN CASSIDY: If you're very brief. Yeah.
IRENE JOR: She's a pretty-- like expert on it.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Great. Here's the microphone.
NICOLE SMART: Hi. My name's Nicole Smart. I'm the Diversity Director of Actors Equity Association, which is the labor union for actors and stage managers in professional life theater. So I brought up the concept of the untapped pool of talent when it comes to people with disabilities, because society has some sort of stigma when you hear the word disability. Right?
There's bias. There's conscious, there's unconscious bias associated with it. People have invisible disabilities. I have an invisible disability. And then there are visible disabilities. There are ways that you address people with disabilities where if someone is deaf or hard of hearing, those are two totally different terms, blind or low vision, whatever it may be. But it's certainly an untapped pool of talent that the workforce is not being able to get access to.
KEVIN CASSIDY: OK.
IRENE JOR: So when I first started organizing with domestic workers in the US, I worked on the Californian Domestic Worker Bill of Rights Campaign when I was still a student. And working with the California Coalition actually, one major piece of my work was to support the senior in disability working group and Hand-in-Hand. Hand-in-Hand is a domestic employer network of high road employers who want to think through domestic worker rights but in relationship and conversation with the social contract, with what it means for folks to have adequate access to childcare, adequate access to long-term care and health care.
And so working with disabled employers actually really opened up my eyes around how our lives are very deeply interconnected. And I think that's part of what expanded our movement from being a domestic worker rights to actually being about domestic worker rights as central to opening up a much larger conversation about the social contract. And we ended up taking on a campaign that became a sister organization called Caring Across Generations. So we're fighting for the quality of jobs and home care along with along with like universal, long-term care, along with dignity and respect for families and seniors as well.
And I think that's really shifted our movement. And it's not just about those that domestic workers care about. It's also about them and their health care and their long-term care. And so we've been really thinking through what this means.
And in our social innovations arm are trying to solve for how do we deliver benefits to domestic workers who have never really had benefits before. And how do we do it in a way that is adapted and will really treat the uniqueness of the dynamic of the sector? And so we actually have started a portable benefits program and are first testing it with house cleaners and trying to help them aggregate contributions from employers in order to begin to access benefits that feel meaningful to them.
It's very much in a test stage. But for us, we combine policy with innovation with base building grassroots organizing to ensure that we're also creating a strong worker voice and representation. We need like a whole matrices of things and also relationships. Being in relationship with those who are very much like both benefit from and somehow affect domestic workers and how their work is facilitated, and what it ends up producing, and who it ends up benefiting, which is all of us in society.
I would argue, along with many of my peers and with our members and other leaders in this movement, that domestic work is a sector in which the labor of the work makes all other labor possible. In New York City, surgeons, lawyers, professors, folks who are running businesses that our economy depends on, they wouldn't be able to go to work if domestic workers weren't there supporting and really upholding the care and the other things that are needed to keep their households running and to keep their families well.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Thank you very much. Louis, worker ownership, membership owned networks, what's the future of work?
LOUIS HYMAN: Well, I think this is an interesting question. We've long had a variety of different kind of cooperative movements in the US. And certainly cooperative movements are one reaction to the dislocations of mechanized agriculture the 19th century. Right? You had populist movements that had cooperatively owned bag manufacturing or harvest transportation.
And we see that again today. We see the emergence of the platform cooperative movement. Certainly cooperatives have mattered for a very long time in agriculture and grocery. And they form an enormous part of our GDP. And we don't talk enough about those kinds of cooperatives.
And then the question is can we have platforms that run in the same way? And I think there are definitely proponents. There are naysayers. But I think it's part of the larger point that the ILO report makes, which is there's no silver bullet, that we need to have a variety of different approaches and solutions. And certainly the idea that Uber could be worker owned is very appealing. But we also don't want workers to take on that equity risk.
So there's also something very appealing about being paid when you work. So there's a lot of back and forth in what this means. But it's certainly something we need to explore.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Excellent. Jim, I got another easy question for you. You've been working with the ILO for a long time. You're on the Committee of the Application of Standards. Are we still fit for purpose moving forward in the next 100 years? What changes should we make?
JAMES BRUDNEY: Is Guy Ryder listening to this?
You know, I think the short answer is yes, we are still fit for purpose. There's quite a bit of contestation that goes on around the supervisory aspects of labor standards. I mean one of the big issues at the international level is you have many-- there's 187 countries that belong to the ILO. There's 189 standards at this point. Most countries have ratified many, many standards. The United States is not among them.
But ratification and implementation are two different things. Even when you have laws that will do it, you don't necessarily have the practices that back it up. There's a lot of pressure in developing countries to ratify in order to be part of the community of nations. And from the late '90s on when the ILO had a seat at the table, along with the World Bank and the WTO, it's become more currency for countries to at least acknowledge the importance of labor standards.
But I think if in terms of being fit for purpose there needs to be greater integration between the ILO and those financial and trade organizations so that there's greater recognition that these standards are a necessary part of any negotiation that involves trade, and not just a part on paper, but a part in implementing, monitoring, and enforcing. And I think that's one of the big challenges for the next 100 years.
I do think the tripartite governance structure and the fact that employers, workers, and governments continue to be able to have dialogue, sometimes disagree strenuously, but stay at the table is one of the things that makes the ILO quite different. And that's another piece that I think offers the possibility of real hope.
KEVIN CASSIDY: Thank you. Well, as a young worker, I have a future in the ILO. So thank you very much. I appreciate that.
I think we could probably go on all day with this. This is a fascinating subject. This is the first event for the International Labor Organization's Office for the United States and the kickoff of the Future of Work Report. I'd like to everybody give a hand to our panelists up here and thank you so much for this.
DIANA FLORENCE: Thank you.
KEVIN CASSIDY: At this time, I just wanted to say a really heartfelt thanks to the Cornell team. I mean Elona, Linda, you've been absolutely fantastic taking a crazy idea as the DG said earlier, the wild dream of tripartitism, original multi-stakeholder initiative. And now we're working with our partners here, our longtime partners yet again and reinvigorated.
I encourage those out there, those who are here today, to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's make this move forward. So I really appreciate it. And at this time, I'd like to have Linda come and give some closing remarks. Thank you.
LINDA BARRINGTON: Well, the closing remarks are really to get us to those box lunches. But I also want to thank Kevin and his team. They were fantastic partners. And we really appreciate ILR being given the opportunity to partner on this event. A big thanks to our communications staff, our conference center staff, our tech staff, to Maria Figuroa of the Worker Institute who helped in our program, and a very big thanks to Elona for all the work she did on helping pull this all together. This was a lot to think about. I'm sure we have a couple of days of digesting and processing and thinking about next steps.
I just want to let you all know that we will be sending out the link to the live stream. It's already archived and available and a link to the ILO report for those who don't have it yet. And then we'll be doing a summary of the thoughts and ideas, pulling the details. We had note takers in each of the working groups. We're going to pull that in and do a report out from the conversation.
So the biggest thanks to you all for being here, talking, sharing your ideas, and your insight. And as we say at ILR, it takes work to shape the future. So thank you for sharing in that work. And we'll continue the conversations and plannings in our cafeteria. Thank you all.
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In recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the International Labour Organization, the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work is releasing The New World of Work, a report and recommendations for orienting actions of the ILO, as well as national policies, to address the future of work. Join the ILO, the ILR School, and experts from law, business and workers’ rights as the report is released and discussed via live webcast from the new ILR School offices on Lexington Ave., NYC.