Public sector labor law topic of Distinguished University Professor Lecture

October 24, 2018 | News
By Diana Case

Joseph E. Slater will present a Distinguished University Professor Lecture Monday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

Slater, who was appointed Distinguished University Professor July 1, is also the Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values at The University of Toledo College of Law.


The title of his talk is “The Distinctive Significance of Public Sector Labor Law: From the 1919 Boston Police Strike to the Supreme Court’s 2018 Decision in Janus v. AFSCME.”

While public sector workers compose nearly half of all union members in the U.S. today, labor law in this country has traditionally treated unions of government employees very differently than unions of private sector workers, with public sector unions receiving far fewer protections than private sector unions. Public sector unions drew national attention in 2011 with a wave of anti-union laws. Even more recently, a series of teachers’ strikes and the Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision — which stands to damage public sector unions and the labor movement generally — have put public sector unions in the spotlight once again.

Slater, who is both a lawyer and a historian, will explore the history of public sector labor law and will examine its political and economic consequences, both past and present.

He is a nationally known expert on labor and employment law, with a focus on public sector labor law. He received a BA from Oberlin College, a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, and a PhD in history from Georgetown University.

Slater is a member of the Labor Law Group and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He recently received the national Paul Stephen Miller Memorial Award in recognition of outstanding academic and public contributions to the field of labor and employment law scholarship.

The rank of Distinguished University Professor is the highest permanent honor that can be granted to a faculty member at The University of Toledo. Professors appointed to the rank have received national or international recognition for scholarship that has transformed their field, have made a difference in the lives and careers of their students, and produced a track record of professional service on both the national and international levels.

“Professor Slater will offer insights from history on one of the major legal issues of our time — the proper role of collective bargaining and labor unions in public sector employment,” said Geoffrey Rapp, associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Law. “He is regularly sought out by national media to comment on this question, and this lecture presents a wonderful opportunity for the UT community to learn from his expertise.”

This free, public event is co-sponsored by the College of Law and the Office of the Provost’s Academic Honors Committee.

A reception will follow the lecture in the Law Center Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick Lounge.


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