Annette Bernhardt, director of the Labor Center’s Technology and Work Program, recently joined with colleagues to author a memo providing recommendations for federal administrative actions to protect worker rights and promote equity in the use of new workplace technologies.
Future of Work & Workers
Research & Publications
This report examines trends in food retail in the U.S. preceding and up through the pandemic, assessing how e-commerce is likely to affect workers in the industry in the next 5-10 years. In contrast to widespread fears that technology leads to automation-related job loss, e-commerce is creating jobs, as customers are now paying for tasks that they used to do themselves for free. But for most of these new positions, job quality is a serious concern, and the passage of Proposition 22 in California this fall exacerbates the problem.
New Report Shows E-Commerce & Food Delivery Work Growing During Recession & Unemployment, but Jobs More Precarious Than Ever
This paper offers a framework for understanding the broad range of data collection strategies and algorithmic systems currently in use or being developed for the workplace. It describes key technologies and how they operate, the context in which they evolved, and their potential applications in the workplace.
This paper reviews strategies that unions have used to leverage their collective bargaining agreements to address technological change, both past and present. It groups these approaches into three categories: those focused on establishing rights and roles regarding the decision to adopt new technology, those designed to mitigate the introduction of new technology, and those related to the use of technology in workforce management.
April 19, 2021
Ensuring Worker Rights and Promoting Equity in the Use of New Workplace Technologies
December 9, 2020
Delivering Insecurity: E-commerce and the Future of Work in Food Retail
September 3, 2020
Change and Uncertainty, Not Apocalypse: Technological Change and Store-Based Retail
June 23, 2020
Technological Change in Health Care Delivery
June 8, 2020
COVID-19 and Technology at Work
Uber, Lyft, AB5, and Prop 22
October 19, 2020
Labor Center research and Proposition 22
January 15, 2021
Prop 22 Is Here, and It’s Already Worse Than Expected
October 12, 2020
California, Reject Prop 22: Gig workers deserve the dignity of fair compensation.
May 7, 2020
What would Uber and Lyft owe to the State Unemployment Insurance Fund?
October 31, 2019
The Uber/Lyft Ballot Initiative Guarantees only $5.64 an Hour
That raises a fundamental question about what kinds of jobs the new, “green” economy will create. As Jacobs said, the only way to get to “good” jobs is to reinforce their creation with policies that encourage fair labor practices, conditions that prevent risk being shouldered by workers, and more.
Jessie Hammerling, lead researcher for the Technology and Work Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, said it is wise to be cautious with assumptions about automation.
When the pandemic settled in, many drivers realized they had no safety net, as rides slowed to a trickle and they were made to appeal to the federal or state government for unemployment benefits, funds that gig companies don’t pay into. (By one estimate, Uber and Lyft saved more than $400 million in California alone over a five-year period by eschewing the payments.)
“This means that Uber drivers will be still short-changed to the tune of 40-50%,” they added. That figure lines up roughly with a study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center that found Uber and Lyft drivers were between trips approximately 33 percent of the time in six major American cities.
A 2019 study by the University of California, Berkeley, found that US Uber and Lyft drivers spent roughly a third of their working day logged in to the app and waiting for fares.