Revolution in Pragmatist Clothing: Nationalizing Workplace Law

Source: Jeffrey M. Hirsch, University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 51, March 1, 2009

From the abstract:
Workplace governance in the United States is a fragmented system of rules emanating from local, state, and federal governments. This fragmentation has created a suboptimal system of regulation in which unnecessary inefficiencies hinder the enforcement of workplace laws, making their protections little more than a false promise for many workers. Ironically, these problems are at least partially the result of too many disparate rules. Thus, a reduction in the number and complexity of workplace regulations could improve the effectiveness of the system as a whole. Achieving that goal warrants a solution that reflects the magnitude of these problems; tinkering at the margins will accomplish little. Accordingly, this Article proposes a revolutionary reform: the nationalization of workplace law. The modern economy no longer justifies local control over the workplace, especially given the problems with our current federalist model of regulation. Moreover, the federal government’s structural advantages gives it the best opportunity to push workplace law towards a more optimal level. Exclusive federal regulation will also allow for significant streamlining and simplification of workplace law, thereby making it more effective than our current system.

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