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Academic Programs

Future of the Labor Movement
The Future of the Labor Movement Conference at Princeton University brings together scholars, policymakers, and labor organizers to discuss the role of unions in our economy and the challenges of 21st century workplace organizing.

Together, participants will exchange ideas on the social science behind organizing, the policy landscape facing new unionization efforts, and building data infrastructure for the labor movement. The 1.5 day workshop (September 30 – October 1, 2022) will include panel discussions and keynote presentations on the following topics:

– New union advantages
– Field notes: lessons from recent campaigns
– Solving coordination and collective action problems, the Social Science of organizing
– Data infrastructure for the labor movement
– The future of labor policy
– Labor organizing in the 21st century

This event is sponsored by the Princeton Economics Program for Research on Inequality and the Columbia University Labor Lab. Organizers are Ellora Derenoncourt, Suresh Naidu, and Heather Sarsons.

Location Details

The conference will take place in the Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building on Princeton’s campus. The address is 20 Washington Rd, Princeton, NJ 08540. Breakfast, registration, and all sessions will take place on the 3rd Floor in Room #399.


Participation in the conference is by invitation only, but Saturday’s keynote is open to all members of the Princeton community. Learn more about the keynote below.

Visit the Keynote Event Page


Friday, September 30

8:15 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Breakfast and Welcoming Remarks
Ellora Derenoncourt and Suresh Naidu

8:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Panel 1 – New Union Advantages 

Henry Farber, Princeton University 

Matthew Johnson, Duke University
Jacob Grumbach, University of Washington
Vanessa Williamson, Brookings Institution
Heather Sarsons, University of British Columbia 

10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Panel 2 – Field Notes: Lessons from Recent Campaigns 

Janelle Jones, SEIU 

Derrick Palmer, Amazon Labor Union

Sara Mughal, Starbucks Workers United
Becca Roskill, Student Workers of Columbia
Colin Gillis, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin

12:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.


1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Panel 3 – Solving Coordination and Collective Action Problems: The Social Science of Organizing

Adam Reich, Columbia University

Laura Boudreau, Columbia University
Kate Bronfenbenner, Cornell University
Rebecca Carey, Princeton University
Niharika Singh, Columbia University/University of Notre Dame

3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Coffee Break

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Panel 4 – Data Infrastructure for the Labor Movement 

Ellora Derenoncourt, Princeton University 

Forest Gregg, Datamade
Johnnie Kallas, Cornell University
Michelle Penson, AFL-CIO
Patrick Youngblood, Columbia University 

6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Conference Dinner

Saturday, October 1

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.


9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Panel 5 – The Future of U.S. Labor Policy

Barry Eidlin, McGill University

William Spriggs, Howard University/AFL-CIO
Janice Fine, Rutgers University
Christian Sweeney, AFL-CIO

10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Coffee Break

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Keynote: Labor Organizing in the 21st Century 

Suresh Naidu, Columbia University 

Keynote Speakers:
Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
Bill Fletcher Jr., Writer/Trade Unionist

This session is open to the broader Princeton community. Visit this page for more information.

12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m.

Conference Adjourns