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Ariana R. Levinson

Professor of Law, University of Louisville
Chapter Leader: Kentucky SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Ariana

Levinson's research focuses on labor and employment law. Overarching themes in Levinson's writing include arbitration, worker-owned cooperatives, social movement theory, discrimination, and trial practice. Levinson serves as a fellow in the Rutgers School of Management & Labor Relations Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership & Profit Sharing.

In the News

"Unionize Starbucks. On Red Cup Day, Show Your Support With a Cup of Coffee – Elsewhere.," Ariana R. Levinson, The Courier Journal, November 14, 2023.
"Potential Ford LAP Layoff: Workers Should Get Unemployment Benefits Not UAW Strike Funds," Ariana R. Levinson, The Courier Journal, October 16, 2023.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted on Louisville baristas' union organizing efforts by Jacob Munoz, "Union Efforts Brew Across Major Louisville Coffee Shops" Louisville Public Media, August 12, 2022.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted on the cooperative organizing efforts of gig workers by Kate Conger, "A Worker-Owned Cooperative Tries to Compete With Uber and Lyft" The New York Times, May 28, 2021.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted on the need for public access to union negotiations by Adam K. Raymond, "LMPD Contract Negotiations Are Private. Some Want to Change That" Spectrum News 1, February 3, 2021.
"No Grocery Store in Your Neighborhood? Join Forces to Create One," Ariana R. Levinson (with Kaitlyn Smith), Louisville Courier Journal, January 10, 2019.
"The Law behind Sexual Harassment," Ariana R. Levinson, Interview with Tabnie Dozier, WHAS 11 News, November 6, 2017.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted by Joan Rogers, "DOL Persuader Rule Injunction Gets Mixed Reactions" BNA Daily Labor Report, July 29, 2016.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted by Joan Rogers, "Opinion Blocking DOL Rule Cites Clash with Ethics Rules" ABA BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct, July 27, 2016.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted by William Joy, "Laws Vary on When Guns are Allowed at Businesses" Wave 3 News, December 4, 2015.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted by Katie Brandenburg, "Simpson Joins Other Counties with Approval" Bowling Green Daily News, December 17, 2014.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted by Corey Weinberg, "A High-Tech New Way for Your Boss to Follow You Everywhere" Bloomberg Businessweek, August 1, 2014.
Ariana R. Levinson quoted by Vickie Elmer, "Your Boss is Reading Your Text Messages" Quartz, July 29, 2013.


"Breaking New Ground: Social Movement Theory and the Cincinnati Union Co-ops" Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal 34 (2022): 213–265.

Provides a case study, based on original author research, about the start of the union co-op movement in Cincinnati a decade ago. The author views the formation of initial union co-ops through the lens of social movement theory and identifies mechanisms critical to the success of a local union co-op movement.

"Challenging Jurors' Racism" (with Sonya Faber, Dana Strauss, Sophia Gran-Ruaz, Monnica Williams, Amy Bartlett, and Maria Macaluso). Gonzaga Law Review 57 (2021-2022): 365-424.

Assists judges and attorneys in their efforts to select an impartial jury by equipping them with a better understanding of different forms of racism (e.g., overt, covert, symbolic, aversive), and provides an introduction to insightful psychometric tools that can be used to prioritize the selection of antiracist jurors and identify those who hold implicit and explicit biases or others who are likely to be impartial in their assessment of the case.

"Cooperative Ownership and the Fair Labor Standards Act" (with Chad Eisenback). Michigan State Law Review 73 (2021): 73-142.

Describes the lack of a consistent Department of Labor (DOL) test to govern whether a worker is an owner (due to the fact that the issue of whether a worker is an independent contractor is much more often addressed). Suggests a test to determine whether cooperative owners should be classified as employees or owners, drawing on factors used in independent contractor settings.

"Cooperative Principles and Fair Labor Standards: Volunteering for Food Co-Ops" (with Chad Eisenback). Michigan State Law Review (2020): 189 - 231.

Argues that food cooperatives located in food deserts do not violate the FLSA when the owners volunteer to work without compensation. Whether the food co-op operates as a for-profit, non-profit, or not-for-profit, owners should be able to volunteer for humanitarian tasks like assisting the elderly and disabled with transportation and shopping, teaching cooking classes, and providing childcare.

"Predictability of Arbitrators’ Reliance on External Authority?" (with Erin A. O'Hara O'Connor and Paige Marta Skiba). American University Law Review 69 (2020): 1827-1881.

Investigates whether arbitrators consider external authority, such as statutes or case law, when deciding labor grievances under collective bargaining agreements. In contrast to previous research, findings show that the overwhelming majority of awards do not cite to any external authority (statutes, administrative authorities, case law, or secondary sources).

"Founding Worker Cooperatives: Social Movement Theory and the Law" Nevada Law Journal 2 (2014): 322-363.

Applies social movement theory to five historical examples of establishing worker-owned cooperatives in the United States.  It describes the resulting insights, such as the importance of leader education and access to resources, for those wishing to establish such cooperatives and mentions potential legal reforms that would assist those establishing worker-owned cooperatives.

"Federal Preemption of Local Right-to-Work Ordinances" (with Alyssa Hare and Travis Fiechter). Harvard Journal on Legislation, no. 2 (2017): 457-501.

Explains that local right-to-work ordinances, which purport to make it unlawful for a union to receive payment for its services from those it represents, are prohibited by federal law.  Because of this, passing such ordinances is not a good use of tax-payer funds or local officials’ time.

"Social Media and the National Labor Relations Board" in Research Handbook on Electronic Commerce Law, edited by John A. Rothchild (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016), 337-360.

Explains how the National Labor Relations Board has properly applied long-standing legal concepts to protect workers who seek to improve their working conditions through discussions on social media.  It suggests that some minor changes to its rulings involving social media would make the Board’s position even stronger.

"Solidarity on Social Media" Columbia Business Law Review 2 (2016): 303-338..

Summarizes the Board’s decisions and guidance about employees’ use of social media and employer policies regulating the use of social media. It then discusses four simple clarifications that the Board should make in future decisions in order to make its regulation easier for employers and employees to understand and follow.

"What the Awards Tell Us about Labor Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Claims" University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 46, no. 3 (2013): 789-862.

Examines 160 labor arbitration opinions and awards in employment-discrimination cases and concludes that labor arbitration is an appropriate way to resolve employment-discrimination claims.  The article acknowledges that targeted legislation to ensure the protection of employees’ rights might further insure that labor arbitration effectively resolves employment-discrimination claims.

"Toward a Cohesive Interpretation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act for the Electronic Monitoring of Employees" West Virginia Law Review 114, no. 2 (2012): 461-530.

Proposes a cohesive interpretation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that courts should adopt to protect employees’ basic right to privacy in their electronic communications.