Webinar: "The Year Ahead in Employment Relations"

Join the School's own Dr. Paul Clark on March 17 to hear some "semi-bold" predictions about 2021.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – School of Labor and Employment Relations director Dr. Paul Clark will be the presenter at VLERA's next webinar to be held Wednesday, March 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET. 

Will 2021 bring dramatic changes to traditional labor-management relations in the United States?  Will the election of Joe Biden and control of both houses of Congress by Democrats result in significant changes to labor law? Will a $15 minimum wage become the law of the land?  

Those attending this webinar will:

  1. Become familiar with important issues in employment relations;
  2. Be able to discuss various perspectives related to those issues; and,
  3. Be in a position to draw their own conclusions about the speaker’s predictions.


  1. The Biden Administration has pledged to be “the most pro-labor administration ever.” In his first days in office, President Biden took action that signaled his intention to keep his promise.  The webinar will discuss further steps Biden is likely to take to swing the balance of power towards unions.
  2. The webinar will look in detail at how the Biden Administration is likely to use the National Labor Relations Board as a mechanism for giving unions greater protections and greater opportunities to organize and represent workers.
  3. The webinar will also examine the opposition Biden’s proposals will meet from Republicans and the business community and the degree to which this opposition will be successful in blocking the changes Biden will propose.
  4. We will also discuss whether the years ahead are likely to see the majority of employers continue their strongly adversarial stance regarding unions or whether we might see employers beginning to reembrace the social contract of the 1950s and 1960s or more collaborative relationships.
  5. The U.S. labor movement has generated some positive momentum in the last few years.  We will discuss whether this momentum is likely to continue in the next few years.
  6. Increasing the minimum wage has long been a goal of American unions.  With increased support from the White House and Congress, will this be the year the national minimum wage is finally increased?
  7. Finally, roughly 450 contracts, involving more than 5 million workers, are due to be negotiated in the year ahead.  Among the largest, covering 200,000 employees is the Postal Workers contract with the U.S. Postal Service.  Dozens and dozens of contracts representing another 200,000 healthcare workers are also set to expire, including the nation’s largest health care provider, Kaiser Permanente, and its 45,000 employees.  And numerous teachers’ contracts expire in the year ahead.  Given the impact the ongoing pandemic has had on healthcare workers and teachers, these negotiations will be worth watching.

SHRM/HRCI Recertification Credits

1.5 credits approved


This webinar will be held via Zoom. Zoom link will be provided via e-mail on the day of the presentation.


To reserve your space, use the following link to register: https://lerachapter.org/vlera/events/the-year-ahead-in-employment-relations-semi-bold-predictions-for-2021/. If you are a member, please be sure you are logged into the VLERA site to register.

  • VLERA Members: No cost
  • Non-Members of VLERA: $5

Presenter Biography

Professor Paul F. Clark is the Director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State.

Clark is the author or editor of five books and he has published over fifty scholarly articles.  His primary research interests involve unions and employment relations.  His research has focused on collective bargaining in the coal, steel, and healthcare industries.  He also has studied the structure and administration of unions in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom, and Australia.  His most recent work has looked at labor-management partnership programs in acute care healthcare facilities in the U.S. and Scotland.  His teaching interests include employment relations, labor law, and labor history.

Clark also regularly serves as a consultant to unions and employers on research and training programs.

He has been an active LERA member for several decades, serving as President of both the Western Pennsylvania and Nittany local chapters.  He was recently elected as the future President of National LERA.  He will serve as President-elect in 2021-2022 and as President in 2022-2023.

Clark received a Master's degree from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He did additional graduate work at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

March 11, 2021