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.
Future of Work & Workers
Research & Publications
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.
This paper provides an inventory of existing and proposed public policy strategies designed to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits of data-driven technologies when applied in the workplace. The strategies are organized into five groups: notice and transparency, accountability, individual data rights, workplace rights, and government oversight and regulation.
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
October 22, 2019
The Future of Warehouse Work: Technological Change in the U.S. Logistics Industry
Uber, Lyft, AB5, and Prop 22
October 19, 2020
Labor Center research and Proposition 22
September 24, 2020
Fact check: Will Uber, Lyft drivers get paid less than minimum wage under Proposition 22?
June 29, 2020
Uber Rides Cost More? OK
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
Not only are gig companies gouging workers and consumers, but traditional firms are benefiting from the substandard labor regime as well.
Researchers with the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center estimated Uber and Lyft would have paid California more than $400 million in unemployment payroll taxes over five years if the companies treated drivers as employees.
Proposition 22 seems to be doing what gig companies like Grubhub promised it wouldn’t: raising prices and cutting driver earnings.
As more people order groceries online or use self-checkout, cashier positions could be threatened, researchers at the UC Berkeley Labor Center said in their recent report on e-commerce.
The company-funded Yes on Prop 22 campaign claimed that not passing the ballot initiative would result in higher prices for consumers, and in early December, news first broke that gig companies would be charging more anyway to cover the cost of benefits promised in Prop 22 such as a healthcare stipend and a minimum pay guarantee.