Monday, November 2, 2015
This Article examines a recent rise in suits brought against unions under criminal statutes. By looking at the long history of criminal regulation of labor, the Article argues that these suits represent an attack on the theoretical underpinnings of post-New Deal U.S. labor law and an attempt to revive a nineteenth century conception of unions as extortionate criminal conspiracies. The Article further argues that this criminal turn is reflective of a broader contemporary preference for finding criminal solutions to social and economic problems. In a moment of political gridlock, parties seeking regulation increasingly do so via criminal statute. In this respect, “criminal labor law” should pose concerns, not only for scholars concerned about workplace democracy, but also those focused on overcriminalization and the increasing scope of criminal law.