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
Jacobs has been trying to quantify the cost of gig work on taxpayers for several years. A report he published with his colleague Michael Reich said that if Uber and Lyft drivers were employees between 2014 and 2019, the two companies alone would have contributed $413 million to the California Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Drivers aren’t paid for the time they spend waiting for passengers, nor the time they spend preparing and cleaning their cars. That time accounts for one-third of the drivers’ working time, Ken Jacobs at the UC Berkeley Labor Center said.
A report on the trucking workforce by the UC Berkeley Labor Center estimated that nearly a quarter of California truck drivers are misclassified as independent contractors, a practice that deprives the state of tax revenue and threatens California’s ambitious climate goals.
Because gig companies don’t reimburse drivers for car expenses such as maintenance or fuel, nor are drivers paid for time spent driving to pick someone up or during wait times, drivers can potentially earn far less, with a 2020 UC Berkeley Labor Center study finding that drivers would likely earn an average wage of $5.34 an hour under Prop 22.
Race is part of the debate over AB 701. Latino and Black employees constitute 66% of warehouse staff, although workers of color account for just 37% of the total U.S. labor force, according to a UC Berkeley study.