A Flexible Worker Agenda
In today's job market, managerial buzzwords like "work-life balance" and "workplace flexibility" appear in countless postings. Jobs that were once strictly 9-to-5 and located in downtown business districts are suddenly being performed in zip codes across the country and at all hours of the day and night.
The Covid-19 pandemic further accelerated this trend. Estimates suggest that at least 25% of professional jobs in America will remain remote going forward — up from a mere 5% pre-pandemic — with even more allowing for hybrid work arrangements. Data from Kastle Systems show that office occupancy levels have remained frozen for the past few years at around 50% of pre-pandemic levels.
At the same time, the pandemic also contributed to the Great Resignation, in which large swaths of Americans left the workforce if they couldn't find the flexibility or work arrangements they desired. In an effort to entice workers to stay in their jobs, companies large and small have rushed to provide generous work-from-anywhere arrangements and expanded benefit offerings. As a result, non-medical and non-traditional benefit offerings are expected to increase by 20% as of 2026, according to a LIMRA and Ernst & Young study, and three-quarters of employers plan to change their benefit packages in response to shifting workplace trends.
But flexibility can extend far beyond work-from-home policies, sweetened benefits packages, and assurances that parents can leave the office in time for weekday soccer practice. Workers in today's economy are also seeking flexibility in terms of workplace autonomy, benefit portability, geographic adaptability, and even the type of degrees or training needed to pursue certain careers.
Yet despite the rapidly changing nature of the American workplace, the national political conversation around American labor policy remains stuck in the past. The political left continues to try to fit the square peg of 20th-century labor policies into the round hole of a 21st-century economy, pushing for policies like reclassifying all independent contractors as full-scale employees and seeking one-size-fits-all minimum-wage rules across every job and industry. In far-left environs like California, progressives are even attempting to import sectoral bargaining principles from parts of Europe, which would allow unions to more easily influence entire sectors of the economy at once.
For its part, the modern right has grown increasingly muddled when it comes to its approach to labor policy. The nationalist-populist right has become more solicitous of organized labor in an effort to appeal to working-class voters. In addition to a shift toward protectionist trade policies (induced by former president Donald Trump), prominent conservative lawmakers have shown a greater willingness to side with unions over businesses in recent years — illustrated most dramatically when Trump, along with other members of the GOP, embraced the United Auto Workers cause during the recent strike against General Motors. This built on the 2022 railway strike, when senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio, among others, sided with unions in a vote over paid sick leave. Afterward, Senator Cruz declared that "the Republican Party is a blue-collar party," arguing that the GOP has been the main entity "fighting for everyday rail workers and truck drivers and steel workers and cops and firefighters." Beyond messaging and occasional high-profile votes, however, this new vein of conservative populism has yet to lay out a systematic, comprehensive approach to American labor policy.
In tension with these populist tides are the traditional pro-business impulses of the Republican Party commonly associated with presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan. About 60% to 70% of corporate CEOs continue to identify as Republicans, and GOP lawmakers still consistently receive the highest rankings in scorecards produced by entities like the National Federation of Independent Businesses. And despite a high-profile dispute with the Chamber of Commerce last year, Republicans also still receive the vast majority of the chamber's election endorsements.
Partly because of these internal tensions, the modern right has failed to identify and articulate a cohesive labor policy agenda that meets the current political moment and confronts the reality of America's rapidly changing modes of work. Its failure to do so could risk ceding the issue to the left.
The answer is a labor policy agenda for the modern right that is neither reflexively pro-union nor pro-business, but rather pro-flexibility. This would include flexibility across numerous spheres, including time, benefits, movement, and investment. It's an agenda that prioritizes the self-determination and agency of workers, ensuring they can live, work, and thrive in any career they choose to pursue. It would likewise unshackle employers, freeing them to creatively arrange and adapt their businesses to attract the workers they need to succeed.
By embracing a flexible worker agenda, conservatives can empower individual workers and entrepreneurial businesses without having to abandon their traditional deregulatory, pro-growth instincts. In turn, the modern right can play a leading role in ambitiously and boldly advancing America's labor policy into the 21st century.
AUTONOMY IN THE WORKPLACE
Survey after survey shows that, above all, workers desire flexibility. According to an October 2021 survey by Jabra, close to 60% of workers reported that workplace flexibility is more important to them than salary or benefits, while over 75% prefered working for companies that allow them to work from anywhere. Notably, respondents were not satisfied with uniform remote-work policies; they wanted to be able to exercise more individualized control over when and where they worked.
While it might be tempting to narrow the import of these findings to the professional salaried class, surveys of hourly and shift workers are equally compelling. In a recent study of these workers, over 80% of respondents cited the ability to influence their work schedule as a key component of job satisfaction, and over 75% voiced a preference for selecting which shifts they worked rather than having shifts assigned to them.
Given this focus on flexibility, arrangements like independent contracting and gig-economy work can be attractive options for many Americans. In fact, autonomy and flexibility are the two most common reasons that workers choose independent contracting over more traditional forms of employment, with 31% listing "being their own boss" as the most common reason for their contracting career path and 32% listing "flexibility" or the need to work around personal obligations. Over 60% of gig-economy workers list the flexibility of choosing when to work as the key reason why they chose gig work — higher than any other factor. For gig workers with children, it's closer to 70%.
Contrary to some narratives on the political left, independent contractors and gig-economy workers generally pick their careers not by necessity, but by choice, with 70% to 80% of gig workers saying that it was their first option. Furthermore, over 60% reported the intention to remain in the gig economy rather than return to more traditional employment setups. A mere 10% of independent contractors desire a more traditional job, with close to 80% wanting to remain in their current freelancing setup.
Despite these statistics, the left continues to argue that "good" jobs — by which they usually mean full-time jobs with expansive benefits — are disappearing, forcing more Americans to take "bad" jobs like part-time gig-economy work. In reality, it is more difficult than it should be to create contracting and gig work. Meanwhile, employers are unable to fill the full-time jobs with benefits that are available. This is because many people prefer jobs that offer more flexibility, less work, or some other desirable feature, and therefore they actively choose not to seek traditional full-time employment.
The left has ignored these realities, however, and its antagonism toward independent contracting, self-employment, and gig-economy arrangements continues to grow. To take one example, a provision in the Democrat-passed American Rescue Plan lowered the Form 1099-K reporting threshold for third-party payment services from $20,000 to $600. This disproportionately affects independent contractors and the self-employed, who tend to rely on third-party payment platforms such as eBay, PayPal, or Venmo to conduct business in our increasingly cashless society.
The $600 threshold was delayed for a year, but it continues to loom large on the horizon. While efforts have bubbled up in Congress to raise the threshold back to $20,000, a broad approach to enhancing worker flexibility would seek to raise the $600 threshold for all Form 1099 work — whether it be 1099-K, 1099-NEC, or 1099-MISC. These rules tend to hurt small businesses and self-employed Americans who have smaller administrative-support staffs, and they disincentivize independent-contracting arrangements more broadly.
When the threshold was established in the 1950s, $600 represented about 14% of the median household income of that era. Today, it is about 0.8% of the median household income. This has led many to mistakenly conclude that independent contracting and gig-economy work is on the rise, when it in fact just means that more paperwork is being filed.
The war on contracting, self-employment, and gig work extends well beyond the tax code. Most gig-economy platforms classify their workers — from rideshare drivers to grocery deliverers — as independent contractors. The political fight over this classification status took off in California in 2018, when the state supreme court overturned long-standing state labor law by laying down a stringent "ABC test" for independent contractors.
Among other requirements, the strictest versions of the ABC test — like the one found in California — state that workers are presumed to be employees rather than contractors unless they can show they are engaged in work "outside the usual course" of the employer's business and have made the deliberate choice to go into business for themselves. This rule made it nearly impossible to envision any gig-economy workers — let alone other types of independent contractors — being able to maintain their contractor status. Nonetheless, in late 2019, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 5, codifying the ABC test into state law.
The impact of Assembly Bill 5 in California was both immediate and widespread. Given the broad reach of the bill, independent contractors in nearly every industry suddenly found themselves subject to reclassification as employees. While California lawmakers intended to target gig-economy companies, stories abounded of freelance actors, dancers, and musicians suddenly losing their jobs. The state legislature attempted emergency surgery by carving out exemptions for over 50 industries (in addition to the nearly 60 industries that the statute already exempted), thereby picking winners and losers arbitrarily.
While numerous states have less-stringent versions of the ABC test, some policymakers in Massachusetts and New Jersey have pushed to adopt the stricter California-style approach. The Biden administration's Department of Labor also recently announced plans to reverse a more lenient Trump-era rule for how to classify independent contractors, returning instead to a previous multi-factor test deployed under the Obama administration.
Perhaps most troubling is the introduction by Democrats in Congress of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. In addition to numerous other provisions, the PRO Act would codify at the federal level the stringent version of the ABC test. According to analysis by the American Action Forum, doing so could risk up to $2.3 trillion of U.S. GDP (8.5%). Apart from the potentially massive economic impact, Democratic priorities like the PRO Act fly in the face of what workers themselves actually want: As noted, independent contractors and gig workers overwhelmingly prefer to remain in their current arrangements.
Conservatives would therefore be wise on both political and economic grounds to make protecting the status of independent contractors and the self-employed a key feature of a flexible worker agenda. To be truly flexible, such an agenda should not only protect the status of these workers, it should also provide them with a secure safety net from which they can jump to new opportunities.
The main drawback of independent work cited by those engaged in such occupations is the lack of benefits. Indeed, independent contractors rarely have access to unemployment insurance, sponsored retirement plans, workers' compensation, disability insurance, or paid sick leave — and health insurance is usually only available through the Affordable Care Act's complicated exchanges.
Yet strong protections for independent contracting and more robust benefit options need not be mutually exclusive priorities. As the R Street Institute's Eli Lehrer has discussed in these pages, protections for independent contractors — or some other type of newly minted "flexible worker" status — could be coupled with worker-controlled benefits exchanges, which would create portable and individualized benefit options for these workers.
While a portable benefit system might take numerous forms, a center-right approach could operate with features similar to those of a Simplified Employee Pension plan, or SEP-IRA — meaning it would use a system of employer contributions while giving employees the ability to make their own pre-tax contributions. The funds could then be used toward paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, or even health insurance, which could be purchased via worker-controlled benefits exchanges.
These benefit-flexibility concepts could also expand beyond contractors and gig workers, especially in the retirement context. America currently operates under a system that largely features employer-based retirement plans, and many workers find it difficult to roll over old retirement accounts to new jobs — which in turn has contributed to the proliferation of abandoned or "orphan" accounts that workers lose track of.
Establishing a system of automatic portability for retirement accounts, or even deeming retirement contributions the property of workers, could help reduce this problem while increasing flexibility. If retirement contributions were the property of workers, employees could simply direct contributions they received from any employer to any account of their choosing.
The current system could remain intact in many ways. But if a worker particularly liked a 401(k) plan from his old job or the federal thrift savings plan from his days in government, he could simply instruct his new employer to send contributions to that plan rather than having to establish a new one. If that worker wanted to suddenly shift to contracting or self-employment, he could still continue using his original plan for his own retirement savings. While there could be some complexities to iron out in terms of the vesting of employer contributions in certain plans, these are likely solvable.
The right could find a natural sweet spot in prioritizing worker flexibility not only by creating regulatory leeway for alternative work arrangements, but also by providing workers with more control over benefits options. Doing so would not compromise pro-market ideals, as it would empower workers to have more autonomy and choice over their jobs and save businesses from the dramatic cost burdens associated with the left's more draconian labor policies.
FREE TO MOVE
Each year, tens of millions of Americans decide to change jobs or move to a new location. While it may seem like government has little role to play in these personal decisions, public policy can be overhauled to make such movement easier. A robust flexible worker agenda should protect a worker's right to move — whether it be from job to job or state to state.
In this vein, a broad rethinking of non-compete agreements in labor contracts is far past overdue. While libertarian notions of the freedom of contract have long pushed right-leaning policymakers away from rules that restrict any type of contractual arrangements, recent years have seen more free-market policy wonks start to question the desirability and efficacy of non-compete agreements.
Such agreements are surprisingly widespread across the American economy. Recent research suggests that close to 20% of American workers are currently bound by a non-compete agreement, and just under 40% have signed at least one non-compete agreement in their lifetimes.
Non-compete agreements were once seen as the exclusive province of the corporate C-suite, but this is no longer the case. Even among workers earning less than $40,000 a year, one in 10 is subject to a non-compete agreement. Such agreements appear to have an earnings effect, with evidence suggesting that they generally reduce the wages of hourly workers.
Ultimately, of course, their biggest impact is on worker autonomy and flexibility. Non-compete agreements bind workers to jobs that they otherwise would seek to leave, or sideline them from the workforce after they leave a role with a trailing non-compete clause. A labor policy that prioritizes worker flexibility and agency would look skeptically at rules that make it difficult for workers to move from job to job — non-compete agreements included.
It remains uncertain whether conservative lawmakers could embrace a broad-brush ban of all non-compete agreements without isolating some of their constituency in the business community. A recent Federal Trade Commission proposal for a blanket ban on non-compete agreements nationwide, for instance, faced vigorous opposition from business interests. While a federal, top-down solution — especially one proposed by a federal agency without any congressional input — may rightly raise conservative eyebrows, more nuanced reforms to non-compete agreements could be more viable.
One option could entail limiting or banning non-compete agreements that are overly broad in scope, or only allowing them in certain contexts, such as for highly compensated C-suite executives at public companies or when a full business is sold. Another option would be permitting back-end non-compete agreements for higher-wage workers that are offered and signed when the employee leaves the job. States as red as Alabama and as blue as Massachusetts have limited non-compete agreements in these and other ways, underscoring the cross-ideological nature of such reforms. These more narrowly tailored options would protect companies' ability to continue using non-compete agreements in environments where they may be appropriate but limit their use outside that context.
It's also worth noting that even in states that permit non-compete agreements, their use is far from routine. Traditionally, courts have only enforced non-compete agreements if they are "reasonable" — a murky legal standard that makes non-compete litigation one of the least predictable areas of the law. Businesses value certainty and clarity; the current system provides little of either. Carefully drawn, nuanced limitations on non-compete agreements, therefore, could actually provide better bright-line rules for businesses, which in turn would reduce litigation costs, administrative burdens, and uncertainty.
As noted above, the pandemic has further upended traditional norms about where people work. Geographic and locational flexibility are only going to become more important to workers in the years ahead. Giving workers more control over where they work should be another pillar of a flexible worker agenda.
Generally speaking, the number of Americans changing locations to obtain new jobs is at an all-time low. Numerous factors play into this phenomenon, from rising real-estate prices to place-based poverty-relief programs that tether lower-income individuals to certain locales. But these barriers don't mean policymakers should ignore the importance of locational flexibility for workers.
In fact, evidence suggests that with the economy moving toward more remote-working options, there could be more worker movement in the years ahead. According to surveys, around 30% of remote and hybrid workers moved in 2022, compared to only 17% of on-premise workers. In other words, Americans may not be moving for jobs, but many are moving and taking their jobs with them.
For many occupations, this poses few challenges beyond packing up the car, moving to a new state, and logging in remotely. But in industries that require government licenses, moving across state lines can be extremely challenging — and even prevent workers from obtaining employment altogether.
Therapists, nutrition advisors, and certain other medical professionals can often practice from anywhere through telehealth technology. During the pandemic, states instituted waivers in many medical occupations to allow licensed professionals to practice across state lines. But with many of these rules expiring, the ability of these workers to move could be undercut. One obvious priority for conservatives in the years ahead should be pushing policies to expand telehealth and other virtual services that allow more Americans in these sectors to work from anywhere.
If occupations like medicine can be done remotely, the possibilities for expanding virtual services across various fields are nearly limitless. Many other occupations — from sign-language interpreters to owning a travel or bill-collection agency — can be practiced remotely but may also face arbitrary licensing barriers that prevent them from operating across state lines. Even some on-site workers who move due to life events or to seek new employment opportunities encounter such barriers.
Between 25% and 30% of jobs in the United States require some form of license — a dramatic increase from around 5% in the 1950s. As organizations like the Institute for Justice have chronicled, occupational-licensing rules can be found in many lower- and middle-income occupations, such as barbering or landscaping, as well as the aforementioned remote careers like owning a travel or bill-collection agency.
Unfortunately, there is little uniformity between states when it comes to their respective licensing regimes. A health coach licensed in California, for example, recently faced the prospect of obtaining a bachelor's degree in dietetics, fulfilling a time-consuming internship requirement, passing an exam, and paying hundreds of dollars in fees to practice the same occupation after moving to Florida.
States like Arizona have led the way in alleviating this problem with comprehensive universal-recognition laws, which recognize the licenses of professionals from other states so long as the licensees are in good standing in their state of origin. To date, 20 states have enacted at least some form of a universal-recognition law — a reform wave that right-leaning policymakers should seek to expand. Other promising options on this front include interstate compacts for various licensed occupations, similar to the successful nurse-licensure compact that allows nurses to practice in 40 different states with one multi-state license.
It often remains difficult to fully de-license occupations given the protectionist interests that fiercely guard the status quo. Still, a flexible worker agenda should continue the right's push against overburdensome licensing requirements — with a particular focus on increasing licensing portability across state lines.
Implementing targeted policies that enhance the ability of workers — from the professional class on down to the blue-collar trades — to move jobs or change locations is the type of market-based, bread-and-butter agenda that the political right has historically thrived on. By championing a worker's right to move, a flexible worker agenda can empower Americans while creating a more dynamic labor force for the country.
FLEXIBLE CAREER PATHS
Conservative policymakers would be wise not to limit their focus to helping workers gain more control and flexibility over where they work; they should also provide more options for how those workers can obtain the requisite credentials and training to pursue their chosen career. A flexible worker agenda would address this issue in two ways: by overhauling burdensome degree requirements for existing careers, and by reforming the scope of practice for occupations to allow more professionals to practice more widely in many fields.
It's quickly becoming clear that America has a credentialism problem. The modern labor market prioritizes expensive — and often unnecessary — educational degrees and licenses for many jobs. An analysis by Burning Glass Technologies showed that job postings are increasingly requiring college degrees for positions that never previously necessitated such a credential. A recent study by the Harvard Business School found that as many 6.2 million workers in middle-skill jobs were potentially affected by degree inflation — in other words, they could be precluded from qualifying for a job based on a lack of a degree.
Admittedly, government has limited means to prevent credential creep for the four-year bachelor's degree. But this does not mean it is powerless — at least as an employer itself.
An immense number of Americans work for the government or in government contracting roles. At the federal level, after factoring in government contractors and those receiving federal grants, the government workforce exceeds 9 million. Another 16 million Americans work for the government at the state and local levels. Combined, this equals close to a sixth of the entire U.S. workforce of 167 million. Government jobs are also more likely to require post-secondary degrees compared to private-sector positions, with over 60% of state- and local-government jobs having such requirements.
Governments retain significant control over the credentials needed both for direct workers as well as contractors. States as politically diverse as Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Utah have responded by dropping requirements for a four-year college degree for many government jobs. As of this publishing, 10 states have enacted such reforms. Conservatives should seek to expand this trend to the remaining states.
At the federal level, both the Trump and Biden administrations have issued executive orders directing agencies toward more assessment-based, rather than degree-based, hiring. Policymakers can likely take more aggressive action on this front. For instance, presidents could instruct entities like the General Services Administration or the Government Accountability Office to identify the degree requirements for various government positions and then eliminate them outright. Presidents also have significant influence over federal contracting rules under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, and could implement similar reviews and overhauls of potentially problematic degree requirements for contracting positions.
The government is also often complicit in America's credentialing problem by itself being the credentialer. Here again, professional- and occupational-licensing laws rear their head by forcing many Americans to secure expensive and hard-to-obtain credentials in order to pursue many careers.
One notable example is the process needed to obtain a cosmetology license. According to the Institute for Justice, the average cost of attending cosmetology school — which is necessary to obtain a license in most states — is $16,000, and the average cosmetology student takes out $7,300 in debt. Depending on the state, the average time needed to obtain a cosmetology license can be anywhere from 233 to 963 days.
Given the substantial time and monetary investment needed, the returns are relatively modest, with over half of cosmetologists earning under $15 per hour, or $30,000 annually. What's more, there is little evidence that all this training is necessary to safely cut a person's hair. Based on an analysis by Daniel Greenberg, only 25% of the average cosmetology-school curriculum is related to health and safety.
As noted, efforts to fully de-license professions often face fierce resistance. But policymakers could at least initiate state-guided reviews of curriculum requirements for educational programs that are mandated for obtaining government licenses. In turn, course time spent on non-essential or non-safety-related teaching could be curtailed or eliminated. Occupations as varied as athletic trainers, interpreters, and interior designers require four years or more of education in numerous states, underscoring the widespread impact such reforms could have.
Many occupations also suffer from excessively restrictive scope-of-practice rules that make them inaccessible to the middle and lower classes, and to people who are not naturally inclined to classroom learning. Overhauling these rules and allowing less-credentialed professionals to take on more tasks would create more flexible job options for many Americans.
This is particularly important in fields that have extremely high educational barriers to entry. One of the most notorious examples is the legal field, with the average cost of a legal education running close to $200,000 and entailing a three-year law-school commitment.
The legal field also rigorously polices the "unauthorized practice of law," meaning only licensed attorneys can provide legal advice. What constitutes "legal advice," however, is often construed broadly, entailing even discussion of basic legal information. Permitting attorneys alone to engage in these types of tasks raises the cost of legal services and needlessly sidelines supporting professions like paralegals from doing work they are capable of completing.
States are starting to respond creatively to these problems by establishing new career options that stop short of a fully licensed attorney but nonetheless allow different types of professionals to provide a greater variety of legal services. Utah, to take one example, established a paralegal practitioners program that allows participants to practice without a lawyer's supervision in areas such as divorce, custody, and debt collection. A handful of other states have established similar programs.
Utah's paralegal practitioner certification costs around $600, which, even if combined with an associate's degree upon entering the legal field, is likely to cost closer to $10,000 versus $200,000 for law school (on top of a four-year college degree). Those who have received the certification report earning up to $75 an hour — a wage that far exceeds that of many other career paths.
Additional examples abound. Dental hygienists, to name one, are capable of providing many dental services independently of a dentist. In some states, dental hygienists have limited diagnostic and prescriptive authority, and can administer anesthesia; other states prohibit them from engaging in these services. Restrictive scope-of-practice rules have been found to correlate with reduced numbers of hygienists per capita as well as lower hygienist wages. Increasing the services hygienists can engage in on their own, on the other hand, is associated with improved oral-health outcomes for the general population.
While more states have started to expand the scope of practice for dental hygienists in nuanced ways, there are tremendous opportunities for flexibility-minded policymakers to continue reforming the rules governing this occupation. States like Colorado and Maine, for instance, have permitted dental hygienists to own their own practices, enabling them to run their own businesses and be their own bosses. The scope of practice for other dental professionals, such as dental therapists, could likewise be expanded.
The federal government is limited in its power to play a role here, but it is not powerless. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employs dental hygienists, and could expand the authority of these workers. The VA expanded the scope of practice for advanced-practice nurse practitioners several years ago, and other federal agencies like the Indian Health Service have experimented with allowing hygienists and other dental workers to provide more types of services in places like rural Alaska.
It generally takes two to three years to complete the necessary education to become a dental hygienist, which can often be completed at a community college or technical school. The average cost for the degree hovers around $22,000. Becoming a licensed dentist, by contrast, requires a four-year bachelor degree followed by another four-year dental-school degree — with dental school alone often costing over $200,000.
Broadly and forcefully pushing back against credential creep by eliminating degree requirements for government positions, decluttering curricular requirements for additional occupational licenses, and expanding affordable career-path options through scope-of-practice reform could be one of the most important policy arrows within the worker-flexibility quiver.
A PRO-WORKER FUTURE
In the current political environment, conservatives are eager to burnish their populist credentials, which has led them to push back against "woke" corporations and even start embracing labor unions. So far, however, today's conservative movement has failed to present a unifying vision for American labor policy in the 21st century. The way forward is a flexible worker agenda that prioritizes workers while also ensuring that businesses have the capacity and opportunity to thrive and grow.
None of the ideas discussed here are geared toward the rich and elite levels of society; a flexible worker agenda targets the middle- and working-class tiers of the American labor force. Embracing such an agenda could help conservatives appeal to everyday Americans — from gig-economy workers and freelancers to landscapers and dental hygienists. In other words, right-leaning policymakers can be pro-worker without necessarily being pro-union — and without having to embrace the far-left economic policies that most labor unions (and the political left writ large) currently support.
Americans' priorities in the workplace are changing. The political movement that can most effectively respond to this reality is the one that will be best positioned to lead our country's labor policy for current and future generations. A labor agenda premised on flexibility could therefore be a lodestar for conservatives in the years ahead.