Labor law expert Sharon Block appointed professor of practice

Sharon Block

Credit: Martha Stewart

Sharon Block, a labor policy expert who most recently served as acting administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Biden administration, has been appointed professor of practice at Harvard Law School, effective July 1.

Block, who currently serves as the executive director of Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program, first joined HLS in 2017, where, with Professor Benjamin Sachs, she cofounded the Clean Slate Project for Worker Power, an initiative focused on building a policy agenda to reconstruct labor law. The project’s report, released in January 2020, received extensive coverage in the national media. After the 2020 presidential election, President Joseph Biden appointed Block as OIRA acting administrator.

“We are delighted that Sharon Block is joining our faculty and returning to our Labor and Worklife Program,” said John F. Manning ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “During her many years as executive director of the program, Sharon made a huge impact on our understanding of labor law and its possibilities.”

“I’m thrilled to be back at HLS and to be joining the faculty,” said Block. “Even in the short time I’ve been away, much has changed about how we experience work and how the government responds to workers’ urgent needs. I look forward to engaging with and learning from my colleagues and students about what should come next for American workers and the law. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to bring my experience to bear on these issues, both in the classroom and at the Labor and Worklife Program.”

Sachs, the Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School, and a leading expert in the field of labor law and labor relations, said: “There is simply no one with deeper or broader labor policy experience than Sharon Block. Her appointment means great things for labor law at Harvard and beyond.”

Block has held key labor policy positions across the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. Prior to coming to Harvard Law School in 2017, she was the head of the policy office at the U.S. Department of Labor and senior counselor to then Secretary of Labor Tom Perez ’87. In 2012, she was appointed to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board by President Barack Obama ’91. While serving in the Obama White House as senior public engagement adviser for labor and working families, Block led the White House Summit on Worker Voice, which explored ways for workers to fully participate in their economic future.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, she was senior labor and employment counsel to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

She writes frequently on labor and economic justice issues in major media outlets, including as a senior contributor to OnLabor.org.

Block received her B.A. from Columbia University and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she received the John F. Kennedy Labor Law Award.