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Employment and Jobs

Reimagining the Business-Labor Playbook for the 21st Century

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About this event

Hear from a new wave of business leaders who understand they need to reimagine their relationship with organized workers and from the leader of the biggest federation of unions, who is ready to innovate and work together with business to achieve shared prosperity.

American workers are reevaluating their working conditions and rallying for change, driving a surge in worker organizing that affects businesses across sectors and regions. While many business leaders are unprepared for and resistant to unionization and other forms of worker empowerment, the case for fostering a positive relationship with organized workers is stronger than ever. At a time of historically high public approval of unions and newly emergent public expectations about the nature of work and the responsibilities of corporations, informed by the cataclysm of the pandemic and ongoing inflation, new voices in business are starting to call for an approach where businesses and workers collaborate to achieve shared prosperity.

The Aspen Business Roundtable on Organized Labor cultivates and organizes these new voices. It provides a space for business leaders to come together to learn, share, and advance strategies in which workers have a meaningful seat at the table when it comes to the terms and conditions of their work. Join the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and MIT Sloan’s Institute for Work and Employment Research for our first public conversation about how business and labor leaders are reframing the narrative about organized labor and worker power, how mutually beneficial labor-management relationships are forged, and how a more constructive labor and business dynamic can support a stronger economy and democracy.



Elizabeth Shuler

President, AFL-CIO and Advisory Board Member, The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program

Elizabeth is president of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 60 unions representing 12.5 million working people across all sectors of the US economy. She is the first woman to hold the office of president in the history of the labor federation. A visionary leader and longtime trade unionist, Shuler believes the labor movement is a powerful vehicle for progress and that unions are a central force in leading lasting societal transformations. Her leadership has focused on the future of work, clean energy economy, workforce development, and empowering women and young workers. She is committed to leveraging the labor movement’s diversity and power to advance social and economic justice and to making the benefits of a union voice on the job available to working people everywhere.


Photo of Roy BahatRoy Bahat

Head, Bloomberg Beta
Chair, Aspen Business Roundtable on Organized Labor

Roy is the head of Bloomberg Beta, an early-stage venture capital firm that was the first to focus on the future of work and the first to focus on artificial intelligence. He also serves on the faculty at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he teaches “Unions and Otherwise: Leading an Organized Workforce.”

Roy chairs the newly-formed Aspen Business Roundtable on Organized Labor, convening “labor open” business leaders to explore new ways of relating to organized labor. Roy was a commissioner on the California’s Future of Work Commission, following work he did with New America to understand the long-term effect of technology on work in America. He was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, has served in government, and led a nonprofit in addition to his work at established corporations and starting a company.

He serves on the board or as an advisor to several nonprofits, including the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, the Economic Security Project, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Roy graduated from Harvard College, where he ran the student public service nonprofit. He was a Rhodes Scholar.


Jamie Barton

Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Labor Relations, AT&T Services, Inc.

Jamie was appointed senior vice president of global human resources and labor relations in November 2020. She leads the AT&T Global Human Resources team, providing client and operational support across all lines of business for over 140,000 employees in 59 countries. Jamie is also responsible for AT&T Labor Relations, including collective bargaining strategy and union relationships across 19 contracts to ensure competitive workforce rules, wages, and benefits for bargained employees.

Prior to joining Human Resources and Labor Relations in July 2020, Jamie served as senior vice president of customer care for AT&T and was responsible for consumer contact center strategy and operations. Jamie’s career began at AT&T as a customer service agent with Southwestern Bell Telephone and has led in a variety of leadership positions across AT&T, including corporate sponsorships, employee communications, wholesale marketing, business sales, and consumer markets.

She has been recognized numerous times for her business leadership and transformative work in the technology, media, and telecommunications industry. In 2018, the Dallas Business Journal honored Jamie as one of their top 30 Women in Business. In 2016, she was recognized by CableFAX as one of the Most Powerful Women in Cable. As a strong advocate for careers in STEM and providing key professional skills to underprivileged youth, she is involved with the Aspire Mentoring Academy and the Year Up Youth Mentorship Program. Jamie also serves on the AT&T University advisory board. Jamie holds an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the University of Missouri. She and her husband Tim live in Trophy Club, Texas. They have five daughters and two grandchildren (so far).


Tom Kochan

Post-Tenure George Maverick Bunker Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Tom is also a faculty member in the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research. Kochan focuses on the need to update America’s work and employment policies, institutions, and practices to catch up with a changing workforce and economy. His recent work calls attention to the need for a new social contract at work, one that anticipates and engages current and future technological changes in ways that build a more inclusive economy and broadly shared prosperity. Through empirical research, he demonstrates that fundamental changes in the quality of employee and labor‐management relations are needed to address America’s critical problems in industries ranging from healthcare to airlines to manufacturing. His most recent book is “Shaping the Future of Work:  A Handbook for Action and a New Social Contract” (Routledge, 2021).

He is a member of the National Academy of Human Resources and the National Academy of Arbitrators and is a past president of the International Industrial Relations Association and the Industrial Relations Research Association. Currently, he is a member of the MIT Task Force on Work of the Future. Kochan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in personnel management, as well as a master’s degree and a doctorate in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin​.


Rajesh Nayak

Assistant Secretary for Policy, US Department of Labor

Rajesh is the Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP) at the United States Department of Labor. Raj previously served in a range of senior roles at the Department during the Obama-Biden Administration, including as the Secretary’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, and Senior Counsel to the Solicitor.

Outside of government, Raj has worked in nonprofit organizations both as an attorney and a senior leader, as a Fellow at the Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, and a consultant. He earned an undergraduate degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Yale.


Matt Patsky

CEO and Lead Portfolio Manager, Trillium

Matt is CEO and lead portfolio manager of the Trillium ESG Global Equity strategy and portfolio manager of the Trillium Sustainable Opportunities strategy. Matt has over three decades of experience in investment research and investment management. He began his career at Lehman Brothers in 1984 as a technology analyst. In 1989, while covering emerging growth companies for Lehman, he began to incorporate environmental, social, and governance factors into his research. In 1994, Matt became the first sell side analyst in the United States to publish on the topic of socially responsible investing. As director of equity research for Adams, Harkness & Hill, he built the firm’s powerful research capabilities in socially and environmentally responsible areas such as renewable energy, resource optimization, and organic and natural products. Before Trillium, Matt worked at Winslow Management Company in Boston, where he served as director of research, chair of the investment committee, and portfolio manager for the Green Growth and Green Solutions Strategies.

Matt currently serves on the board of TONIIC and has previously served on the boards of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, Shared Interest, Pro Mujer, US SIF, and Root Capital. He is also a member of the Social Venture Circle (SVC), is a member of the CFA Society Boston, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder. Matt is on the advisory panels for America’s Promise, Generation Climate Change, SJF & Hall Ventures, and Tara Health Foundation.


Alyson van Hardenberg

Senior Engineering Manager, Honeycomb

Alyson is a senior engineering manager at Honeycomb. She currently sits as the employee-elected board member on Honeycomb’s board of directors. Her expertise lies in leading and coaching nimble engineering teams in fast-paced organizations. Most recently, Alyson has been managing teams whose work focuses on Honeycomb’s data pipeline, with a focus on the open source OpenTelemetry project.


headshot of Joe Weisenthal, Bloomberg Digital

Joe Weisenthal (Moderator)

Executive Editor of News, Bloomberg Digital

Joe is the executive editor of news for Bloomberg Digital. He is also the co-host of Bloomberg’s “Odd Lots” podcast. Joe leads the editorial development of markets and finance coverage across Bloomberg’s digital brands, which sit at the core of the company’s new media strategy.

In November 2014, Joe joined Bloomberg from Business Insider, where he was one of the digital startup’s first employees. Most recently serving as Executive Editor, he helped build a large, international newsroom that now reaches 50 million unique visitors. He has been widely lauded for his around-the-clock commitment to covering Wall Street and the economy, serving as one of the leading journalistic authorities on the inner-workings of the financial industry. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.

Opportunity in America

Opportunity in America, an event series hosted by the Economic Opportunities Program, considers the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country. The series highlights the ways in which issues of race, gender, and place exacerbate our economic divides, and ideas and innovations with potential to address these challenges and broaden access to quality opportunity.

We are grateful to Prudential Financial, Walmart, the Surdna Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Bloomberg, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth for their support of this series.

Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

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