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sectoral bargaining, wage boards, minimum standards, workers board


This article explores the potential of sectoral standard-setting models (often referred to as “wage boards” or “workers’ boards”) as a solution for contemporary workplace issues, which existing labor relations and minimum standards regulatory systems continue to struggle to address. This argument, the article examines three historical statutory systems of sector-based minimum workplace standard-setting established in the early 20th century as a response to unacceptable wages and working conditions: the British Wages Council system, the Canadian Industrial Standards Act, and the US Fair Labor Standards Act. The article applies the conceptions of fairness identified in Seth Harris's study of the origins of the Fair Labor Standards Act to analyze the three systems and offers a three-step approach to constructing a sectoral workplace standard-setting mechanism. This paper contributes to the ongoing discourse on worker representation and workplace standards by offering a conceptual starting point for designing a sectoral workplace standard-setting mechanism. The article highlights key design decisions and alternatives and maps out essential interrelated considerations, providing valuable insights for policymakers and stakeholders seeking to improve worker representation and workplace standards.


Forthcoming in 26:2 Emp. Rts. & Emp. Pol'y J.