Sharon Block

Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Labor and a Just Economy,
Harvard University Law School

Cambridge, MA



  • White House (Biden and Obama administrations)
  • Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
  • Department of Labor
  • National Labor Relations Board


  • Organized labor and strikes
  • Labor and employment law
  • Regulatory policy


  • Georgetown University, J.D.
  • Columbia University, B.A.

Recent Coverage

SEP 4, 2023

The Hill | We’re experiencing a post-inflation, AI, and climate-driven labor revolution (Opinion)

“The judiciary is doing more than just slowing down protections for workers; it is obstructing protections. The activist, Republican-dominated Supreme Court majority has made up a doctrine that assigns the court the power to overturn any executive branch regulations that they deem to be economically or politically significant. During the pandemic, the conservative majority used this new doctrine to invalidate a regulation to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. The Supreme Court has become a partner with big corporations in achieving big business’s desire to roll back Biden’s regulatory agenda — even when that agenda aims to protect workers from today’s most urgent challenges.”

SEP 2, 2023

The Guardian | US labor movement celebrates new regulation to counter union-busting

Sharon Block, professor of practice and the executive director of the Center for Labor and a Just Economy at Harvard Law School, said: “It addresses … the two biggest problems with union elections right now … that they take too long and that employers actually have incentive to violate the law during the campaign.”

Block added: “This is an important decision in trying to make what I would believe is sort of a flawed law work as well as possible. Addressing twin problems of the way and the incentive to unlawfully union-bust is incredibly meaningful. I think unions will be able to devote more resources to getting to elections quickly.”

AUG 30, 2023

Washington Post | Overtime pay would cover millions more workers under proposed Biden rule

Sharon Block, a labor law professor at Harvard Law School, who led the Obama administration’s efforts to increase overtime benefits, said in a statement that the Biden administration’s proposed rule demonstrates “the fact that elections have consequences.”

“The consequence of the Trump administration was that millions of workers lost the right to a fair wage and the consequence of the Biden administration is that millions of workers will regain that right,” Block said.

AUG 18, 2023

Capital & Main | Striking Workers Face Another Opponent: U.S. Labor Laws

“If you look at the reasons why domestic workers and agricultural workers were excluded from the National Labor Relations Act, it is absolutely shameful that those exclusions still exist,” said Sharon Block, a professor and the executive director of the Center for Labor and a Just Economy at Harvard Law School. “They were based on racist reasons — not even subtly, almost explicitly.”

We have a very different economy, a different mix of manufacturing and service, urban and rural — almost every way you’d imagine — since the 1930s,” Block said. “They had big factories where everybody passed through the same door, spent eight hours together. They could talk; they could organize themselves. Now you have workers who never see their co-workers. It’s just completely different, and we’ve made no forward progress in thinking about ways to better empower workers since then.”

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About Sharon

Sharon Block is a Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Center for Labor and a Just Economy at Harvard Law School. Prior to returning to Harvard, she led the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Biden White House. She also served as a senior advisor to the Biden-Harris Transition team, providing advice to the OMB and Labor Agency Review teams on labor, worker empowerment and regulatory policy and participating in briefing and hearing preparation for nominees.

From 2017 to 2021, Block led the Labor and Worklife Program. During this time, she launched the Clean Slate for Worker Power project, which is a comprehensive policy initiative focused on fundamental redesign of labor law with the aspiration to enable all working people to create the collective economic and political power necessary to build an equitable economy and politics.

For twenty years, Block has held key labor policy positions across the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. In the Obama Administration, she was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. In 2012, President Obama appointed her to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board. While serving in the Obama White House as Senior Public Engagement Advisor for Labor and Working Families, Block led the historic White House Summit on Worker Voice, which explored ways for workers to fully participate in their economic future. At the President’s direction, Block also conducted a series of regional worker voice summits across the country. Prior to the Obama Administration, she was senior counsel to the Senate HELP committee under Senator Edward Kennedy, playing a central role in the debate over the Employee Free Choice Act.

Block writes frequently on labor, employment and administrative law topics. She is a senior contributor to and her opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Fortune, The American Prospect, The Hill, USA Today, Forbes, and Newsweek.