Plenary: The Biden Administration: Higher Education and Labor Initiatives
This panel will cover a broad spectrum of what to expect from the Biden Administration on labor and economic policies affecting higher education. The panel plans to cover such topics as: the PRO Act and worker voice; higher education funding; changes to expect at the NLRB and related rulemaking; and current state-level academic freedom issues affecting curriculum, equity training, and student grants and scholarships.
Lynn Pasquerella has served as the president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities since July 2016. A philosopher whose career has combined teaching and scholarship with local and global engagement, she has continuously demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to ensuring that all students have access to excellence in liberal education, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Pasquerella is a graduate of Quinebaug Valley Community College, Mount Holyoke College, and Brown University. She joined the faculty of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rhode Island in 1985, rising rapidly through the ranks to the positions of vice provost for research, vice provost for academic affairs, and dean of the graduate school. In 2008, she was named provost of the University of Hartford. In 2010, she was appointed the eighteenth president of Mount Holyoke College. Pasquerella’s presidency of Mount Holyoke was marked by a robust strategic planning process; outreach to local, regional, and international constituencies; and a commitment to a vibrant campus community. Pasquerella has written extensively on medical ethics, metaphysics, public policy, and the philosophy of law. She is president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a member of the boards of the Lingnan Foundation and the National Humanities Alliance, and sits on the advisory board of the Newman’s Own Foundation. In addition, Pasquerella is host of Northeast Public Radio’s The Academic Minute. She has received honorary doctorates from Elizabethtown College, Bishop’s University, the University of Hartford, the University of South Florida, and the University of Rhode Island.
Mark Gaston Pearce is the executive director of the Workers’ Rights Institute and visiting faculty (distinguished lecturer) at Georgetown Law Center. Mr. Pearce formerly served for two terms as Board Member and Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board. Prior to assuming his positions at Georgetown, Mr. Pearce was a visiting senior scholar and Lecturer at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Pearce received his BA from Cornell University and his JD from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. His 40-year career includes District Trial Specialist, Region 3 of the National Labor Relations Board; co-founder of the Buffalo, New York labor and employment law firm Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux and was a governor-appointed member of the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals. He is currently an arbitrator and is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
Damon A. Silvers is the director of policy and special counsel for the AFL-CIO. He joined the AFL-CIO as associate general counsel in 1997. Silvers serves on a pro bono basis as a special assistant attorney general for the state of New York. Silvers is also a member of the Investor Advisory Committee of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department’s Financial Research Advisory Committee, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Standing Advisory Group and its Investor Advisory Group. Silvers served as the deputy chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program from 2008 to 2011. Between 2006 and 2008, Silvers served as the chair of the Competition Subcommittee of the U.S. Treasury Department Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession and as a member of the Treasury Department Investor’s Practice Committee of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. Prior to working for the AFL-CIO, Silvers worked for the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and as a law clerk at the Delaware Court of Chancery for Chancellor William T. Allen and Vice-Chancellor Bernard Balick. Silvers led the successful efforts to restore pensions to the retirees of Cannon Mills lost in the Executive Life collapse and the severance owed to laid-off Enron Corp. and WorldCom workers following the collapse of those companies. Silvers served from 2003 to 2006 as pro bono counsel to the chairman of Ullico Inc. and, in that capacity, led the successful effort to recover more than $50 million related to improperly paid executive compensation. Silvers received his Juris Doctor with honors from Harvard Law School. He received his Master of Business Administration with high honors from Harvard Business School and is a Baker scholar. Silvers is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude, and has studied history at King’s College, Cambridge University. Silvers’ publications include: “A Response to Vice-Chancellor Leo Strine Jr.’s, Toward Common Sense and Common Ground? Reflections on the Shared Interests of Managers and Labor in a More Rational System of Corporate Governance,” published in The Journal of Corporation Law (2007); “The Current State of Auditing as a Profession: A View from Worker-Owners,” published in Accounting Horizons (2007); “How We Got Into This Mess,” published in The American Prospect (2008); “Securities and Exchange Commission: Restoring the Capital Markets Regulator and Responding to Crisis,” published in Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President (2008); “The Legacy of Deregulation and the Financial Crisis—Linkages Between Deregulation in Labor Markets, Housing Finance Markets, and the Broader Financial Markets,” published in The Journal of Business & Technology Law (2009); “Rebuilding Workers’ Retirement Security: A Labor Perspective on Private Pension Reform,” published in Restructuring Retirement Risk Management in a Defined Contribution World (2010); “Obligations Without the Power to Fund Them—The Origins, Consequences and Possible Solutions to the Fiscal Crisis of the States,” published in When States Go Broke: The Origins, Context, and Solutions for the American States in Fiscal Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2012); and “Deregulation and the New Financial Architecture,” published in The Handbook of The Political Economy of Financial Crises (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Michael Loconto is the founder of Fenway Law LLC and a seasoned attorney, policymaker and consultant with two decades of experience serving the labor and employee relations needs of local government, non-profits and educational institutions. Mike has served as general counsel for a small college, building the institution’s first in-house counsel office, and as a policy, compliance and labor relations leader for a large, decentralized teaching and research institution. Mike began his career serving the City of Boston, where he forged a reputation built on mutual respect and a commitment to finding reasonable outcomes with employee unions. His reputation as a fair dealer has led to enduring relationships with the community and employee representatives in higher education, K-12, public safety, construction and trades. Mike has taught legal writing and research at his alma mater, Northeastern University School of Law, and is a sought-after public speaker and convener on contemporary labor and education issues. He has presented before the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Labor & Employment Relations Association, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, CUPA-HR, and the National Center’s Annual Conference, among others. Mike’s commitment to fairness and equity has also provided the foundation for a long record of volunteer public service. Mike served seven years on the Boston School Committee (including three as Chairperson), where his efforts contributed to a nine-point increase in the graduation rate, expansion of pre-kindergarten, closing opportunity and achievement gaps for students of color, increasing state and local funding for public schools, building 21st century schools, and breaking down barriers for admissions to selective secondary schools. An original appointee of current U.S. Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh during his term as Boston’s Mayor, Mike’s long service in and around City Hall have created the relationships necessary to get results in government and the community.