Democratizing work: a conversation on the lessons of the current pandemic for the world of work

Working humans are so much more than ‘resources’. This is one of the central lessons of the current crisis.”

So begins a manifesto drafted in the spring of 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which argues that work needs to be democratized, de-commodified and made sustainable.

The Manifesto has been translated in multiple languages and supported across the globe:

This conversation on Democratizing Work, which will take place on Wednesday, November 18th (11:00 EST), is an opportunity to bring together its authors with leading representatives and specialists from the world of work in a dialogue about the Manifesto and current priorities for the pandemic and beyond.

To participate: advance registration is required. Register on

Marguerite Mendell (Concordia University)
Gregor Murray (Université de Montréal)

Manifesto Authors:
Julie Battilana (Harvard University)
Isabelle Ferreras (Université catholique de Louvain)

Lana Payne (UNIFOR)
Andrew Jackson (Broadbent Institute)
Esteban Kelly (U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives)
Jim Stanford (Centre for Future Work)

Note that a similar event will take place with other participants in French on Tuesday, November 17th from 9:30 to 11:10 (EST). 

The Conversation on Democratizing Work is an initiative of the CRIMT Partnership on Institutional Experimentation for Better Work, the Karl Polanyi Institute, and Industry 4.0, Work and Employment of the International Observatory of the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology

Biographical details on the participants

Julie Battilana : Julie Battilana is one of the coauthors of The Working Manifesto: Democratize, Decommodify, Remediate. Julie is the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School and the Alan L. Gleitsman Professor of Social Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, where she is also the founder and faculty chair of the Social Innovation and Change Initiative.

Isabelle Ferreras : Isabelle Ferreras is one of the coauthors of The Working Manifesto: Democratize, Decommodify, Remediate. She is a tenured senior fellow of the Belgian National Science Foundation. She is a professor of sociology at the Université catholique de Louvain where she teaches in the Department of Social and Political Sciences, at the Institut des sciences du travail and at the Economics School of Louvain. Since 2004, she has been an associate of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. In the spring 2017, Ferreras was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts of Belgium, Class Technology and Society. Isabelle is also a researcher and coordinator in the CRIMT Partnership on Institutional Experimentation for Better Work.

Andrew Jackson : Andrew Jackson is the former Director of Social and Economic Policy at the Canadian Labour Congress. He was the Packer Professor of  Social Justice at York University and is currently senior policy adviser at the Broadbent Institute ( Author of Work and Labour in Canada, now in its third edition, his new book, The Fire and the Ashes: Rekindling Democratic Socialism will appear in spring, 2021 (

Esteban Kelly : Esteban Kelly is the Executive Director for the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives ( and is a worker-owner and co-founder of AORTA (Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance), a worker co-op that builds capacity for social justice projects through intersectional training and consulting. Esteban is a compassionate leader and visionary strategist who inspires organizers by drawing on science fiction, social theory, and collective liberation. He is an advisor to the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, and he represents the US on the board of the international worker co-op association known as “CICOPA.” To support the US Federation of Worker Co-ops work, visit :

Marguerite Mendell : Margie Mendell, economist, is Director of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy and Distinguished Professor Emerita, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University. She is also a researcher in the Industry 4.0, Work and Employment Axis of OBVIA. Her engaged research on the social and solidarity economy and processes of economic democratization is inspired by the work of Karl Polanyi.

Gregor Murray: Gregor holds the Canada Research Chair on Globalization and Work at the School of Industrial Relations at the Université de Montréal. He is Director of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT) and of the CRIMT Partnership on Institutional Experimentation for Better Work. He is also a researcher in the Industry 4.0, Work and Employment Axis of OBVIA. Gregor’s research focus is on making work better.

Lana Payne : Lana Payne was elected to the role of Secretary-Treasurer by more than 1,800 delegates at Unifor’s Convention in August of 2019 ( Lana brings over 25 years of inspired leadership to workers in her previous position as Atlantic Regional Director of Unifor. She has built Unifor through consistent, powerful and vocal leadership. In 2014, she was named one of Canada’s 23 Bold Women of Vision.

Jim Stanford : Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work ( He divides his time between Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economic commentators. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union. To read Stanford’s study Ten Ways to Improve Work After COVID-19 Pandemic, click here :

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