Across the country, cities and counties have become laboratories of policy innovation on labor standards. Before 2012, only five localities had minimum wage laws; currently, 56 counties and cities do. To help inform policymakers and other stakeholders, the UC Berkeley Labor Center is maintaining an up-to-date inventory of these laws, with details on wage levels, scheduled increases, and other law details, as well as links to the ordinances.
March 29, 2021
The Labor Center welcomes new Low-Wage Work Program Director
April 15, 2021
The downstream benefits of higher incomes and wages
March 2, 2021
The Fast-Food Industry and COVID-19 in Los Angeles
February 18, 2021
Paid sick leave will help protect us in this pandemic
October 19, 2020
Labor Center research and Proposition 22
Research & Publications
A list of California city and county ordinances, proclamations, mayoral directives, and orders that expand labor standards for workers affected by the pandemic, such as paid sick leave, health care, worker retention/right of return, and policies that lift workers’ voices in firm, industry, and government responses to the pandemic.
The Labor Center is working to provide research on how California is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic; analysis of new policies, what they offer the state’s workers and businesses, and what is still needed; and curated lists of resources, information, and tools for workers and their advocates.
Low wages and exploitative practices in the resident construction industry cause profound hardship for workers and their families. It also costs the public. This analysis finds almost half of families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net program.
The study, by Ken Jacobs and Kuochih Huang of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, finds that almost half of the families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion in public funds. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs.
Resources on COVID-19
- July 12, 2021 COVID-19: Local Labor Standard Policies in California
- July 1, 2020 COVID-19: Resources on Federal and State Policy and Assistance
- October 21, 2020 Public Sector Impacts of the Great Recession and COVID-19
Enrique Lopezlira, director of the low-wage work program at the Labor Center, discusses how the so-called “labor shortage” isn’t quite a shortage.
Employers complaining about the market should acknowledge that they are simply unable to find workers “at the wage and quality of job” they are willing to offer, Enrique Lopezlira said.
Enrique Lopezlira, the director of the low-wage work program at the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, said that the lack of access to child care and safety concerns are keeping many workers out of the labor force, particularly women.
Labor backers say such provisions ensure construction workers are paid fair wages and suppress an underground economy rife with exploitation. They point to a recent University of California, Berkeley study finding that many construction workers rely on welfare.
A 2021 report by UCLA and UC Berkeley determined that during the pandemic some restaurants put employees at risk by failing to notify them of viral outbreaks and that “37 percent of quick service restaurant employees reported they hadn’t had mandatory training on COVID-19 protocols.”