Prop 22 carves out an exception from state labor law for app-based transportation and delivery gig companies, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart, allowing the companies to continue to classify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Labor Center chair Ken Jacobs and economics professor Michael Reich have produced several papers that examine the implications of Prop 22 compared to employee status for drivers, consumers, taxpayers, and the companies.
The Labor Center’s research on labor standards focuses on minimum wage and living wage policies, and their effects on employment, workers, firms, and the public.
Research & Publications
The Effects of Proposition 22 on Driver Earnings: Response to a Lyft-Funded Report by Dr. Christopher Thornberg
Thornberg over-estimates driver gross earnings (before expenses) based on data that is not representative of drivers in California. He also underestimates driver costs. In doing so, he significantly overstates what drivers earn on net now, and would earn under Proposition 22.
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.
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.
Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash have unveiled their ballot initiative to undo historic worker protections enshrined in AB5, California’s new law that tightens the criteria for worker classification. The initiative claims…
North Bay Jobs with Justice, the North Bay Labor Council and other labor, environmental, and community organizations will propose a $15-an-hour citywide minimum wage by 2020 to the cities of…
Perhaps the most important effect of a strong labor movement is the countervailing force it poses to the corporate sector in the political and public policy arenas. This effect is clearly visible in California. With the support and backing of labor, California has passed ambitious laws promoting the rights of workers—union and nonunion alike—as well as policies advancing the common good broadly.
At the Wage Floor: Covering Homecare and Early Care and Education Workers in the New Generation of Minimum Wage Laws
These workers provide a critical (but too often unrecognized) public good; as such, we argue that a significant public investment is a necessary part of the solution, both to deliver minimum wage increases to these workers and to cover the significant unmet need for care.
In order to have meaningful retirement security, America’s low-wage workers don’t just need an effective way to save—they also need a raise. The State of California is leading the way by providing both.
California’s $15 Minimum Wage and Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program Can Boost Young Low-Income Workers’ Retirement Incomes by 50%
This study examines the separate and combined impacts of the $15 minimum wage policy and Secure Choice on the retirement income of California workers in the bottom half of the income distribution.
One cartoon stood out during the remembrances of economist Uwe Reinhardt, who passed away last week. The cartoon was striking to me because it also describes the difference between California’s progressive economic vision, and the vision behind the Republican tax plan passed this week by the House.
Between 2011 and 2016, California enacted a set of 51 policy measures addressing workers’ rights, environmental issues, safety net programs, taxation, and infrastructure and housing. Critics predicted that these policies would reduce employment and slow economic growth, while supporters argued that they would raise wages for low-wage workers, increase access to health insurance, lower wage inequality, and reduce carbon emissions. This paper assesses some of these claims and prognoses.
RELEASE: California is Working: New study finds progressive policies improving Californians’ lives without holding back jobs and the economy
Research from the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education measuring the impacts of numerous progressive California policies enacted over the last six years finds no negative effects on employment and economic growth.
This literature review was undertaken at the request of the San Francisco Airport Commission to aid in the evaluation of a proposal to increase wages for those covered under the…
Project Labor Agreements and Bidding Outcomes: The Case of Community College Construction in California
This is a study of the effects of using Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) in the construction of community college projects in California.
Estimating the Cost of Raising Child Care Workers’ Wages for State Subsidy Programs: A Methodology Applied to California’s New State Minimum Wage Law
we describe a methodology we have developed for estimating the additional child care subsidy funding needed to cover the cost of a state minimum wage increase for programs administered by the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Department of Social Services through the CalWORKs 1 (Welfare to Work) program.
We present here, at the request of the City of San Jose, an analysis of the impact of minimum wage increases for both San Jose and all of Santa Clara County. Both scenarios begin on January 1, 2017 and increase to $15 by January 1, 2019.
In this technical report we document a methodology developed by the UC Berkeley Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics to estimate the number of workers affected by proposed local minimum wage laws, as well as the expected increase in wages.
$15 Minimum Wage in California: Who Would be Affected by the Proposal to Raise California’s Minimum Wage?
Chartbook analyzing who would be affected by a $15 minimum wage in California.