The Brazilian Ongoing Labor Reforms and the American Dream


Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 6:00pm to 8:00pm


Wexner Building – Room 434-A (Conference Room)

Black and white photo of construction worker on scaffolding on high building in NYC.
Photo: Old Time Structural Worker - 1930, by Lewis Hine


Speakers: Stanley Gacek, Senior Advisor for Global Strategies, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; Karl Klare, George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law, Northeastern University

Moderators: Talita Gonçalves Nunes, HLS Labor and Worklife Program Fellow, PhD Candidate at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), General Student Coordinator of PRUNART – Labor Relations and Administration of Justice Support Program at UFMG; João Renda Leal Fernandes, HLS Visiting Researcher

Brazil has been facing substantial changes in its Labor and Employment Law. In the past few years, the approval of several Statutes has significantly altered the nature of its employment relations through amendments made to the text of the “Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho – CLT” (Consolidation of Labor Laws – CLT). The main purpose of the panel will be to discuss the influence of some ideas and concepts in some way associated to the American legal culture, such as freedom of contract, the widespread use of on call work (“trabalho intermitente”), outsourcing, arbitration for the resolution of individual employment disputes and the prevalence of collective bargaining agreement clauses over statutory provisions. Finally, it intends to debate the way in which the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) mistakenly quoted the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME (prohibition of compulsory agency fees for public sector employees).

Stanley A. Gacek is a U.S. labor lawyer and has been serving as Senior Advisor for Global Strategies at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) since September of 2016. The UFCW represents 1.3 million working women and men in the retail, wholesale, food production and allied industries. He serves as his Union’s focal point on international relations. From 2011 to 2016, he served as Officer in Charge/Interim Director and Deputy Director for the International Labor Organization (ILO) mission in Brazil. Prior to his assignment with the ILO in Brazil, he held the following positions: International Relations Officer in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs from 2010 to 2011: Special Counsel for International Labor Law at the Solidarity Center/AFL-CIO and Associate Director of the AFL-CIO’s International Department, 2006 to 2010; Assistant Director, Responsible for the Americas, AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, 1997 to 2005; UFCW Assistant Director for International Affairs, 1984 to 1997; and UFCW Assistant General Counsel, 1979 to 1984.

Karl E. Klare is a Professor of Labor and Employment Law and Legal Theory at Northeastern University School of Law, in Boston, Massachusetts, and the current coordinator of the International Network on Transformative Employment and Labor Law (INTELL). He has written and lectured extensively on labor and employment issues, and is a notable proponent of the critical legal studies movement. Karl Klare graduated from Columbia University in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts, and received his master's degree the following year from Yale University. During this time, Klare was an avid participant in the 1960s civil rights, antiwar and student movements. As the 60s came to a close, Klare attended Harvard Law School and graduated with his Juris Doctor in the spring of 1975. Since that time, he has been a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia, University of Michigan, and the University of Toronto, and has held a senior Fulbright chair at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. In 1993, Professor Klare was named a George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor, Northeastern University's highest honor. In recent years, Professor Klare's activism and writing have focused primarily on workplace issues and human rights, taking him as far as South Africa, where he has worked on numerous projects with local lawyers.

Presented in collaboration with the HKS Brazil Caucus