Catherine L. Fisk

Catherine L. Fisk is the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley Law School, and the author of Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (Harvard 2016).

Recent Articles

Those Gig Drivers Aren't Independent Contractors -- They're Employees

A new California Supreme Court ruling imperils the Uber model of exploitation.

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) A Lyft car crosses Market Street in San Francisco in January 2013. A unanimous decision Monday by the California Supreme Court appears to require companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees, who must therefore be paid no less than the state’s minimum wage and be reimbursed for their vehicle expenses. In Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court , the court simplified and clarified the rules governing which workers are “employees” protected by state wage and hour law rather than unprotected “independent contractors.” In an 80-page opinion, the court adopted for California the so-called “ABC Test,” a rule already in use in Massachusetts and New Jersey, which is more employee-protective than the old California law or some federal laws. Under the ABC test, workers are presumed to be employees protected by law requiring payment of the state minimum wage and premium pay for overtime hours. A hiring business can evade compliance with wage and hour...

Labor at a Crossroads: In Defense of Members-Only Unionism

Allowing members-only unions would protect the rights of those who wish to bargain collectively even if they fail to surmount all the legal hurdles necessary to establish the union as the representative of all employees in the workplace.

(AP Photo/Times Free Press, Danielle Moore)
(AP Photo/Times Free Press, Danielle Moore) In a March 31, 2010, photo, Christian Iosif, an equipment installer with Leoni, programs a welding robot on the underbody dash panel line at Volkswagon of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This article is published as part of " American Labor at a Crossroads: New Thinking, New Organizing, New Strategies ," a conference presented on January 15, co-sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, The Sidney Hillman Foundation, and The American Prospect . (View agenda here .) Find our Labor at a Crossroads series here . S urveys of employee support for unions show a majority want collective representation. Yet, as illustrated by the close vote on union representation at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, union organizing efforts often fail—either before employees have a chance to vote, or at the ballot box, or in subsequent litigation. For decades, scholars and union-side lawyers explained the gap between employee desire for unionization and...