Labor Center

Raising the bar to improve the lives of working people.
Report CoverA Little Investment Goes a Long Way: Modest Cost to Expand Preventive and Routine Health Services to All Low-Income Californians

May 2014, by Laurel Lucia, Ken Jacobs, Dave Graham-Squire, Greg Watson, Dylan H. Roby, Nadereh Pourat, and Gerald F. Kominski

More than 1.4 million undocumented Californians are predicted to remain uninsured because they are ineligible for Affordable Care Act coverage options due to their immigration status. State policymakers are considering a proposal to expand comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage to all low-income Californians. The authors predict the increase in Medi-Cal enrollment and net state spending under the proposal, primarily using the California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM) model. Predicted budget offsets are also estimated. The analysis finds that an investment equivalent to 2 percent of state Medi-Cal spending would expand preventive and routine health services to more than 690,000 undocumented Californians in 2015.

Report CoverWorkforce Issues and Energy Efficiency Programs: A Plan for California's Utilities

May 2014, by Carol Zabin, Jessica Halpern-Finnerty, Megan Emiko Scott, et al.

California has charted an ambitious course for building a clean energy economy, with energy efficiency (EE) as a key strategy. The investor-owned utilities (IOUs), directed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), invest and administer over a $1 billion of ratepayer funds annually in incentives and other programs designed to encourage widespread adoption of energy saving measures. This report offers a detailed action plan for the IOUs and the CPUC for developing and engaging a qualified workforce with the capacity to achieve the state's EE targets. It recommends the IOUs incorporate contractor and workforce standards as program requirements for their EE programs, and suggests a process for prioritizing the IOUs' investments in skills building to align with the state's key training institutions. It also proposes that the IOUs establish a dedicated workforce inclusion program for the explicit purpose of expanding access to living wage jobs and rewarding career pathways in EE work for disadvantaged Californians.

Report CoverThe Ongoing Importance of Enrollment: Churn in Covered California and Medi-Cal

April 2014, by Miranda Dietz, Dave Graham-Squire, and Ken Jacobs

Large numbers of Californians will continue to enter and leave Covered California and Medi-Cal throughout the year during Special Enrollment Periods due to life-changing "triggering" events such as divorce and job change. This churn in enrollment is important to understand and predict. Using the California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM) model and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the authors predict that close to half of those enrolled in a Covered California plan and receiving federal tax subsidies at any point in time can be expected to leave that plan within 12 months. Others will enter the marketplace after they lose Medi-Cal eligibility or experience life-changing events such as divorce or job loss. For a given cohort of enrollees in Medi-Cal, about three-quarters are expected to remain enrolled in Medi-Cal after 12 months, while one in six are expected to experience income increases that will make them eligible for Covered California.

Report CoverRealizing the Dream for Californians Eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Health Needs and Access to Health Care

March 2014, A joint report of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies

This report describes the common sources of care, barriers to care, and health needs of the estimated 300,000 young California immigrants who are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The authors find that DACA-eligible teens and young adults use less medical care than their U.S.-born peers in spite of being more likely to report poor health. The report also presents potential solutions for health care providers, community-based organizations, and private and public funders to improve health and access to care for this population. A companion report describes health care coverage of DACA-eligible Californians and presents potential policy solutions to expand their coverage options.

When Mandates WorkWhen Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level

Edited by Michael Reich, Ken Jacobs, and Miranda Dietz

Just released by UC Press, When Mandates Work analyzes and evaluates the impact of local labor standards policies on pay, employment, and benefits.

"At a time when powerful special interests have pushed to roll back workers' rights in statehouses across the country, this book provides another vision for how to build a strong economy—by establishing standards for fair and decent treatment of all workers and enforcing them. It turns out that the high road pays off with greater prosperity and opportunity for all."
– Congressman George Miller

New 2013 Update and e-Book!

California Workers' RightsCalifornia Workers' Rights: A Manual of Job Rights, Protections and Remedies

The California Workers' Rights: 2013 Update covers significant changes to the laws governing wage theft, Workers' Compensation, family leave, disability rights, and more, as well as major cases governing important rights like meal and rest breaks. The 2013 Update also includes new sections on the Affordable Care Act, immigration, and social media.

California Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez recognizes the UC Berkeley Labor Center in his speech at the inaugural ceremony of Chancellor Dirks

Speaker Perez gave powerful testimony at UC Berkeley’s ceremonial inauguration of Chancellor Dirks on the value of working people and the commitment of California’s public university to provide accessible, affordable, high-quality education. 

Fast Food, Poverty WagesFast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry

» Press Coverage

This report estimates the public costs of low-wage jobs in the fast-food industry. Due to the combination of low wages, meager benefits, and often part-time hours, many of the families of fast-food workers must rely on taxpayer funded safety net programs to make ends meet. For this analysis we focus on jobs held by core, front-line fast-food workers, defined as non-managerial workers who work at least 10 hours per week for 27 or more weeks a year. The median wage for this workforce is $8.69 an hour. Only 13 percent of the jobs provide health benefits. We found that 52 percent of the families of core front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in one or more public safety-net programs at a cost of nearly $7 billion a year.

Calculator: How Much Will a Family Save Under the New Federal Health Law?

Calculator» National Calculator
» California Calculator

Enter household and enrollee information and this interactive calculator estimates how much individuals and families will spend on premiums under the health law. (Updated May 2013)

Research & Resources on the Affordable Care Act »

Work Money PowerWork, Money and Power: Unions in the 21st Century
Report Cover Course Correction: Reversing Wage Erosion to Restore Good Jobs at American Airports
November 2013
Report Cover To Work With Dignity: The Unfinished March Toward a Decent Minimum Wage
August 2013
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Strategic Campaings
July 21-25, 2014
Video: UC Berkeley Labor Center celebrates 50 years
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The Impact of Oakland's Proposed City Minimum Wage Law: A Prospective Study

video Two-minute video produced by using Labor Center research on the public cost of Walmart’s
low wages.

Local Minimum Wage Laws: Impacts on Workers, Families and Businesses

Op-Ed Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich discuss minimum wage increases in the New York Times

PressWhen Mandates Work discussed in Economix.

Under the "Forty Hours is Full Time Act" more Americans would lose job-based health coverage and work hours, while federal costs would increase

Op ed by Ken Jacobs in The Hill

PressView Saru Jayaraman’s presentation at The Shriver Report LIVE. Video

PressSaru Jayaraman profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle.

PressNew York Times Economix blog on minimum wage cites Labor Center research

Op-Ed Ken Jacobs on the public costs of low wages in fast food

Learn more about the Food Labor Research Center, a new Labor Center project

Covered CaliforniaCALCULATOR
New Covered California website features the cost calculator developed by the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the IRLE Library

YouTubeSubscribe to the new Labor Center YouTube channel

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A public service and outreach program of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment