The Catholic University of America


Navigating a New Era:
An Experts' Dialogue on International Labor Standards & the U.S. Judiciary

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Slowinski Courtroom
The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
Washington, D.C.

Columbus School of Law CUA International Labor Organization



The U.S. judiciary has been increasingly called upon to analyze labor and human rights issues referencing not only federal and state law but also international labor standards as relevant authority. These standards, developed through the International Labor Organization by governments, employers, and workers, are embedded in contracts, trade agreements, maritime standards, and legislation within the United States. The ILO and Columbus School of Law will host a one-day conference to address both the questions and criticisms surrounding the interpretation and application of international labor law to domestic disputes.

•  Under what circumstances have U.S. judges used international labor standards? 

•  How might international labor standards be relevant in future cases? 

•  How do U.S. laws use core labor standards to address modern day slavery, illegal child labor, human trafficking, and freedom of association in the United States and in global supply chains? 

•  What concerns arise as the U.S. judiciary interprets and applies international law and principles in domestic disputes?


8:30 a.m. Registration opens
9:30 a.m. Opening remarks, including
Keynote address by U.S. District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte and Q&A session
Coffee break
10:30 a.m. Panel One - International law in the U.S. courts – addressing international labor standards and labor exploitation in global supply chains
Earl Brown, American Center for International Labor Solidarity
Michael Gadbaw, Georgetown University Law Center
Shelby Quast, Catholic University, Columbus School of Law
Steven Schneebaum, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Karen Tramontano, Global Fairness Initiative - moderator
12 noon Lunch in the Atrium
1:00 p.m. Plenary address by Janice Bellace, Chair, Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Coffee break
2:15 p.m. Panel Two –Trends and circumstances involving freedom of association & the application of international labor standards in the U.S.
Lance Compa, Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Stefan Marculewicz, Littler Mendelson P.C.
Judy Scott, Service Employees International Union
John Higgins, Catholic University, Columbus School of Law – moderator
3:45 p.m Wrap up
4:00 p.m. Reception in the Atrium

 register online

Please contact the Office of Student Life and Special Events, 202-319-6126, to request disability accommodations. In all situations, a good faith effort will be made to provide accommodations.