Future of Work & Workers

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The Labor Center conducts in-depth research on how work is changing in the US labor market, especially for low-wage workers, immigrants, and workers of color. Our research helps policymakers, unions, and other stakeholders respond to the challenges and opportunities facing workers in the years ahead. We consider both new and ongoing trends, including technological change, outsourcing, and gig work.

Research & Publications
Press Coverage
    TechEquity Collaborative

    Prop 22: What You Need to Know

    Prop 22 would legalize the companies’ current practice of classifying drivers as independent contractors, preventing them from access to the benefits and protections that employment status offers. Prop 22 does mandate certain pay, reimbursement, and benefit standards for drivers, but there are loopholes in these standards which erode their value.

    Sacramento Bee

    Fact check: Will Uber, Lyft drivers get paid less than minimum wage under Proposition 22?

    Under Proposition 22, drivers will not be paid for the time they are waiting to give a ride, nor the time they spend preparing and cleaning their cars. That time accounts for some 33% of the drivers’ working time, Jacobs said, citing a 2019 study that looked at Lyft and Uber rides in six metropolitan areas across the country, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Capital & Main

    Racial Justice Activists Split Over Proposition 22

    According to Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich of the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center, engaged time is only 67 percent of a driver’s shift, and workers under Proposition 22 could make as little as $5.64 an hour. “Not paying for [wait] time would be the equivalent of a fast food restaurant or retail store saying they will only pay the cashier when a customer is at the counter,” they wrote in 2019.

    One Zero

    Uber and Lyft’s California Proposal Is a Mishmash of Old Ideas for Fixing the Gig Economy

    Uber and Lyft say they’ve created a new type of work that deserves new rules. Their opponents say that what these companies have created is an app for an old type of work — employment — and that they only want new rules because it is less expensive than following the existing rules, which guarantee employees protections like minimum wage, overtime, and the right to form a union.

Program Contacts