Should California have a $18 minimum wage? Voters may get to decide
The rise to a $15 hourly wage has had a “real, measurable effect on workers’ pay in the state,” said Ken Jacobs. Still, “costs have continued to rise.”
The rise to a $15 hourly wage has had a “real, measurable effect on workers’ pay in the state,” said Ken Jacobs. Still, “costs have continued to rise.”
The diffuse nature of gig work makes it hard for workers to take collective action for better wages. But strikes and protests have provided PR benefits and caught the attention of policymakers, says Ken Jacobs.
Jessie Hammerling spoke about the increasing use by Google’s data centers of temps, vendors, and contractors, instead of workers directly employed by Google, as a way to appear more productive to investors.
In an op-ed for the Marin Independent Journal, Rozoff, a recently retired Marin County teacher, argues for preserving pensions as a valuable tool for recruitment and retention.
For some families, the classic American Dream of home ownership still is realistic, said Enrique Lopezlira, direct of the Low-Wage Work Program at the University of California, Berkeley. But for others, it isn’t.
When considering your options, you’ll want to ask yourself whether the job exists in the area where you need to be, want to be or can be, says Pamela Egan, director of the Labor Management-Partnerships Program for the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center.
From Nicaragua to Tennessee, learning how to organize to win the right to dignity. The organizers’ organizer, Jane McAlevey on Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay.
A study conducted by the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center for Labor Research and Education found that the share of workers of color entering apprenticeships in the three construction trades responsible for building most of the clean energy power plants in California reached 60% in 2017, compared with 56% for the state’s workforce as a whole. And veterans participated in these programs at a higher rate than in the workforce more broadly.
Ken Jacobs said the sympathy strike might well be a commentary on the overall state of labor relations at Kaiser right now.
Ken Jacobs noted that Kaiser serves 912,000 workers insured through 454 union trusts, and all those members care deeply about how Kaiser treats its unionized workforce.
The fast food industry is predominantly staffed by women of color. A study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that of California’s 550,000 fast food workers in 2019, 80% are people of color and two-thirds are women.
Annette Bernhardt, Lisa Kresge, and Reem Suleiman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center argue that companies should be required to reveal “which activities will be monitored, the method of monitoring, the data that will be gathered, the times and places where the monitoring will occur, and the purpose for monitoring and why it is necessary.”
One of the world’s leading “organizers’ organizer” Jane McAlevey has trained thousands of activists in building more militant unions and winning electoral organizing; she sees the fight for effective unions as critical to winning transformative climate policy. Jane tells her story to Paul Jay on Reality Asserts Itself.
A study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center shows unpaid waiting time means drivers would earn only about a quarter of the hourly rate the ballot initiative’s proponents say.
Many workers in the industry are in the residential construction sector, where they are often misclassified as independent contractors and are not being paid as highly as those who are putting up commercial buildings and roads, said Kuochih Huang, one of the authors of the study.
“Both child and elder care [are] essential if we want to have any kind of stability in the workforce given demand,” Ken Jacobs said. “It’s going to be very important in order to enable large numbers of particularly women to come back and participate in the workforce.”
The plummeting unionization rate has also come with deteriorating pay and working conditions, said Beth Gutelius, the research director at the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago who authored the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center’s study on the logistics industry.
A recent report by Nari Rhee provides policymakers and the public with an informed and objective analysis about defined benefit pensions for teachers, nurses, firefighters and other workers who provide essential public services to the residents of Marin County.
Laurel Lucia, director of the Health Care Program at UC Berkeley Labor Center, said she is also somewhat surprised that a health care company would move toward a two-tier wage system at this particular moment when workforce shortages make worker happiness and satisfaction especially important.
According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, these groups are also less likely to have health insurance.
Carol Zabin said she and her team — which included a chemical safety expert — found little difference between the cost of a solar system installed by a firm using certified electricians and a firm not using certified electricians.
The report, with data analysis from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, found that more than 40% of workers live outside The City and just 7% of essential workers studied can afford market-rate rents in San Francisco.
When workers see others go on strike, that can have a snowball effect, said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
A report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that in 2019 an estimated 550,000 Californians worked in the fast-food industry, with most earning close to minimum wage. Eight out of 10 fast-food employees were workers of color, the study said, and six out of 10 were Latinx. Two-thirds were women.
“What’s happened with port drivers and the inability to have people taking containers out of the ports is a direct reaction to how we’ve been doing that business for the last 50, 60 years,” said Rome Aloise, international Teamsters vice president. “It used people and threw them away. What it created was jobs that weren’t worth coming back to.”
In light of the growing use of data and algorithms in the workplace, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education released a report Nov. 3 that provides a set of policy principles for workers’ technology rights in the United States.
An analysis on the bill’s fiscal impacts by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley notes that fast food workers account for 3% of the state’s workforce, but are 2.5 times more likely to be enrolled in Medi-Cal than workers overall. If the Council recommendations result in wage increases, it could reduce state’s costs for Medi-Cal and increase income tax revenues for California.
Annette Bernhardt, along with Lisa Kresge and Reem Suleiman of the labor center, released a report on Wednesday outlining how employees in a variety of industries are tracked and surveilled in the course of doing their jobs, and what rights workers should have over how information about them is collected, stored and used.
A study by UC Berkeley’s Labor Center projected that the added subsidies will enable 135,000 Californians to obtain insurance in 2022, and would cut the costs faced by an additional 1.5 million enrollees — about 150,000 of whom had not qualified for subsidies before because their incomes were above the previous cutoff.
The report investigates how jobs and housing “fit” together. Roughly 50,000 trade and union workers volunteered wage data for the study, which the UC Berkeley Labor Center analyzed and compared to local housing prices.
“I do think that we are starting to see a crisis,” said Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education, “in terms of seniors not being able to stay in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.”
Jane McAlevey, a senior policy fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Detroit Free Press the pandemic simply paused momentum that had been building in 2018. That was the year teachers striking in West Virginia over pay and health care costs led teachers in other states to launch similar actions.
“I think the pandemic really has been a tipping point involving co-workers collectively trying to be a countervailing force to the market power of firms—and I think that’s great,” says Enrique Lopezlira, director of the Low-Wage Work Program at the University of California at Berkeley. “But there’s a lot of work still to be done.”
Nari Rhee talked about disproportionate disparity in retirement security among home care workers, especially women and people of color. Women often have truncated careers, she said, with interruptions for child-rearing or caring for elderly parents.
Hearing witness Nari Rhee said the current employer-sponsored retirement savings system omits many employees, including direct care workers, who toil in predominantly low-wage jobs. This reality poses special challenges for women, given their disproportionate caregiving responsibilities for children and aging parents, due to foregoing pay, a lasting pay penalty and a significant cumulative reduction in potential lifetime earnings.
Lawmakers and a panel of experts said the U.S. retirement system works well for some but is leaving others behind, and discussed ways to close the savings gap in a hearing Thursday before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
Ken Jacobs helps explain what two-tier contracts are and why they are bad for worker solidarity.
Some critical coalition-building opportunities in California have already been lost, according to UC Berkeley’s Carol Zabin, director of UC Berkeley’s Labor Center Green Economy Program and a governor’s appointee to the executive council for the California Workforce Development Board.
“Over time,” says Zabin, “the skilled and trained workforce standard allowed the Building Trades to have enough leverage with these contractors and these oil companies to get project labor agreements on this work.”
Union workers in California are more likely to receive health care through their employers and to earn nearly 13% higher wages than nonunionized workers in similar industries, and they are 50% more likely to have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, according to a report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
“Is it strong enough to build the momentum to win some part of labor law reform that would allow for greater success in organizing?” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. “That’s the real question.”
For those following along at home, strike support is a key piece of worker power.
The company is employing classic tactics, said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jane McAlevey of the UC Berkeley Labor Center talks about recent labor strikes at Kellogg’s, John Deere and the IATSE film and TV union, where workers are fighting for a weekend. The former organizer and expert on the history of labor movements says these strikes are “making up for lost time.”
We begin with the uptick in strikes across the country taking place with 176 launched this year so far and get an analysis of what is behind this post-Covid release of pressure in workplaces as billionaires make record profits and the cost of living rises. Joining us is an organizer, author and scholar Jane McAlevey.
A new report from the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, however, finds that (surprise, surprise) the majority of Massachusetts drivers are liable to earn as little as $4.82 an hour, while a smaller number who qualify for a health care stipend under the law could earn the princely wage of up to $6.74 hour.
The University of California Berkeley Labor Center predicts more than 3 million people won’t have health insurance in California next year, 65% of them people who are undocumented.
As recently as February, union organizer Jane McAlevey warned that we not only needed to massively scale up our activist base, but stop wasting our energies on social media. We spent most of our time mobilizing the vote rather than organizing tenants in the concerned buildings for the long term.
The battle over whether to classify rideshare drivers as employees for companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart has heated up, as both sides testified over a bill that would codify drivers’ status as independent contractors
An analysis by UC Berkeley recently revealed that, if passed, the Proposition 22-copycat ballot language proposed by big tech companies Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart would create a sub-minimum wage for app-based workers, as low as $4.82/hour.
Unionized workers in California earn on average 12.9% more than similar non-union workers, according to research from UC Berkeley Labor Center. They are also more likely to receive employer-sponsored health benefits and a retirement plan.
Rideshare drivers could take home a wage equivalent to under a third of the future state minimum wage of $15, according to a University of California, Berkeley study examining a Bay State ballot measure that would classify them as independent contractors instead of employees.
A ballot proposition in Massachusetts that would allow work services platforms such as Uber and Lyft to continue classifying their drivers as independent contractors in the state could cause drivers to earn as little as $4.82 per hour, according to a report by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center.
“They’re put through a gantlet by employers who make all sorts of threats,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education. Growers will sometimes fire organizers, even though that’s illegal; penalties are modest and rarely enforced.
A Massachusetts proposition put forward by gig-economy companies including Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash could result in drivers and riders taking home just a quarter of the hourly minimum wage, a study from UC-Berkeley says.
If the measure makes it to the November 2022 ballot and passes, drivers could end up earning as little as a quarter of the minimum wage, according to a University of California-Berkeley study published on Wednesday.
“Folks who are under age 26 who are low-income and undocumented can get full scope medical coverage through the state and this expands that to be 50 and above,” Dietz explained. “But, as you can imagine that still leaves a significant number of Californians ages 26 to 49 who are low-income and documented who are without insurance coverage.”
Alleging “loopholes” in a proposed ballot question, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley estimated Wednesday that drivers for Uber and Lyft would be guaranteed less than 40% of the Massachusetts minimum wage if the proposal becomes law.
“Even with the additional subsidies that are available through the rescue plan for coverage through Covered California, there’s a lot of folks who just can’t find the space in their budget to pay for those premiums or are worried about the deductible out-of-pocket costs,” Miranda Dietz said.
You may be able to stay on COBRA if you can afford the premiums, although keep in mind that there’s usually an 18-month limit to this option, said Laurel Lucia, director of the health-care program at the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education.
This number is even lower for frontline workers in the U.S. fast food industry. According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, median pay for these workers is only $8.69 per hour, and many of these jobs pay employees at or near minimum wage.
For unionists, her work is well known – and this episode is a joyous journey into how she came to this approach, and how that approach works. For others in the climate movement or racial justice movements – this is a useful introduction to what Jane means by organising, how it is different to mobilising and some of its crucial features.
Like most unions throughout the United States, New York’s labor unions operated under a blend of what Jane McAlevey calls an advocacy model and a mobilizing model.
Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, said that in deciding on the provisions, the parliamentarian should take into account economic studies and analytical gauges such as dynamic scoring, which considers the macroeconomic effects of policy changes on revenue.
The UC Berkeley Labor Center estimates nearly 3.2 million Californians won’t have health insurance next year, the largest percentage of them immigrants who are living in the country illegally.
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.
Recognizing things will change for workers in a decarbonized economy, the County of San Diego has undertaken a study to better understand how different policies may affect the region’s labor force and to identify tailored workforce development resources to adapt the skills of our region’s workers, including those from disadvantaged communities.
Zabin wrote that it’s hard to estimate the true impacts on natural gas jobs right now due to a “lack of clear policy signals” and research on the topic.
Enrique Lopezlira, a labor economist at the University of California, Berkeley, Labor Center, has studied California’s labor market over the last year and a half. While unemployment rates have been declining, Lopezlira says workers who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic have yet to recover.
California set out in 2016 to become the first state on a path to a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Five years later, how’s that going?
Here’s the current minimum wage in those cities and counties with a higher minimum wage, as of July 1, according to UC Berkeley Labor Center.
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.
Today’s jobs report shows a complicated picture for workers. The economy added only 235,000 jobs in August, despite near-record vacancies, while hourly wages grew faster than expected. But hold off a moment before calling it a labor shortage.
The difficulty in finding workers has helped lift wages for low-paid employees, although higher wages might not be enough to convince some people to come off the sidelines, Jacobs said.
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.
You may be able to stay on COBRA if you can afford the premiums, although keep in mind that there’s usually an 18-month limit to this option, said Laurel Lucia, director of the Health Care Program at the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education.
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.
Rhee, who reviewed a copy of the rankings ahead of their release, said it was difficult to compare defined contribution and hybrid plans alongside pension plans without calculating the likely salary replacement rates under all three plans.
Jacobs says the current union election system gives employers significant access to workers and this bill, he says, puts the decision in the hands of the farmworkers.
According to a recent UC Berkeley Labor Center study on the effects of the pandemic on California businesses, the state has only recovered half the jobs lost to COVID-19, even when the Golden State’s job gains in the past four months were the largest in the nation. Of those job losses, 80% were low-wage positions, with the leisure and hospitality industry providing the lowest wages nationally.
In its latest update on the effects of the pandemic on the California job market, the UC Berkeley Labor Center reports, “As people return to work, the overall number of unemployed has come down, but, increasingly, most of those who remain unemployed are workers who have been out of work for six months or longer. (T)he decline in unemployment is due in part to workers dropping out of the labor market altogether, as opposed to increasing number of jobs.”
Dr. Zabin spoke about the current leadership of Gavin Newsom as governor, and Joe Biden as president, and the opportunity to advance climate solutions during their terms. This means labor, as well as environmental preservation. All will have a seat at the table to confront the critical issues we share.
Prop 22’s backers said drivers would be paid at least 120 percent of local minimums while actively driving. That “actively driving” is key: given how much of a driver’s shift consists of time in between rides or tasks, the pay is far lower than that. A UC Berkeley study estimates the effective average wage under Prop 22 is as low as $5.64.
A UC Berkeley report found that smaller scale, residential solar projects offer lower wages and fewer paths for career advancement than large-scale solar projects. The difference between the smaller scale and larger scale projects is that the larger scale projects are often required to use project labor agreements (PLAs).
Automation doesn’t always eliminate human roles entirely, but “this looks like a fairly extreme case of technology scaling back the human’s role in a particular work process,” says Jessie Hammerling at the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the impact of new technologies on work.
She owes much to Jane McAlevey, a US labour strategist who has indicated that she supports Unite’s new boss. Ms McAlevey says unions won’t expand their ranks with labour law reform. She told the New Yorker last year that “power for ordinary people can be built only by ordinary people standing up for themselves, with their own resources, in campaigns where they turn the prevailing dogma of individualism on their head”.
“The judge’s ruling states that changing that would require a constitutional amendment,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. “Proposition 22 was not a constitutional amendment.”
Ken Jacobs, chair of the University of California at Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, said it’s a big win for drivers who challenged the law — but only the first stage, and it could take another year until it’s resolved.
“It’s great that the state saw a sixth consecutive month of 100,000-plus job growth. But many workers are still on the sidelines. Employers need to improve the quality of jobs, not just wages.”
The data shows that pensions are the best vehicle to provide a secure retirement for our nation’s public educators. A study from the National Institute on Retirement Security and the University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education that analyzed teacher pensions in six states (Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas) found that defined-benefit pensions provide a more secure retirement than defined-contribution plans such as 401(k)s.
Almost half of the families of construction workers in California are enrolled in public safety net programs that cost the public more than $3B annually, according to a recent study from the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center. The center said this is due to the many construction workers in the state who lack full employee status, are paid under the table and don’t have insurance through their work.
But because these benefits are largely based on the hours and miles that the drivers are actually engaged (not while they’re waiting for or returning from a gig), many workers say they’re illusory. In fact, an analysis from UC-Berkeley’s Labor Center estimated the pay guarantee under Prop 22 for Uber and Lyft drivers actually equates to a wage of $5.64 an hour.
“When the labor market does its thing, we produce tremendous wage inequality and tremendous growth in low wage jobs,” said Carol Zabin, who directs the Green Economy Program at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center.
The federal minimum wage hasn’t been adjusted since July of 2009 — 12 years ago — when it was increased to $7.25 from $6.55. It’s the longest period in history without an increase, according to the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
Enrique Lopezlira, the director of the low-wage work program at the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, said that while some hourly workers have enjoyed the new incentives, others remain boxed out because of health concerns and other pandemic-related challenges, such as a lack of child care.
A data tool from the UC Berkeley Labor Center is tracking the state’s uneven economic recovery, looking at how rolling, pandemic-driven rounds of hiring and firing have affected people from different backgrounds and in different jobs.
The coalition argued that “extensive loopholes” mean the guaranteed minimum wage is far lower than advertised, and tout a study from the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center that found that Prop 22 only guaranteed a minimum wage of $5.64 an hour for drivers in California.
After years of salary scales that don’t keep up with the cost of living, an SEIU 1021 bargaining team for city of Berkeley workers decided to do something different at the bargaining table this year. They decided to go big—by opening up bargaining to all members.
“The same thing happened with Prop 22—obviously the companies can’t go to the public and explicitly say ‘we want to take drivers rights away.’ They have to include some handout, but look at California: UC Berkeley found that the California wage guarantee was worth $5.54.”
Similar to Prop 22, the proposed Massachusetts ballot initiative presents a minimum earnings guarantee of “120 percent of minimum wage” based on “engaged time,” meaning the only time counted is when a driver is fulfilling a ride or delivery request but not the time they spend waiting for a gig.
University of California Hastings law professor Veena Dubal, who is a member of the coalition fighting the ballot in Massachusetts, said industry-sponsored research found drivers spend up to 37 percent of their online time waiting for their next ride or delivery.
“Low-income workers face significant practical challenges. They often have limited time because of multiple jobs, they may lack childcare, spend a lot of time commuting. And they’re worried about missing work, not just for the appointment but also if they have symptoms from the vaccine,” Lucia said.
These are rather simple structure tests described by Jane McAlevey’s brilliant organizing guide No Shortcuts.
The CSLB ruled that the C-10 license is the only specialty license eligible to install solar and energy storage systems.
About 3.2 million people in the state of nearly 40 million are projected to not have health insurance next year, according to the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Roughly 1.5 million are unauthorized immigrants, making them the largest uninsured group in the state.
About 3.2 million people in the state of nearly 40 million are projected to not have health insurance next year, according to the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Nearly half are people who are living in the country illegally, which makes them ineligible for full Medicaid benefits and other health insurance assistance programs.
The agency based its ban on a June report it commissioned from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, which found the technical capacity of the electrical workforce exceeded that of the solar workforce and warned of the dangers tied to batteries. But the researchers acknowledged that “only a very small percentage” of battery installations were performed by solar contractors without an electrical license.
The California State License Board contracted the University of California Berkeley (UCB) to evaluate which specific contractor licenses should be allowed to install battery energy storage systems (BESS), particularly when BESS are installed simultaneously with solar photovoltaic systems. UCB’s findings were compiled into an extensive report and submitted to the CSLB on June 30, 2021.
A U.C. Berkeley Labor Center report estimated the industry could save $35 billion in fuel efficiency gains.
Because of grassroots movements like the Fight for $15 and growing political support, eight states and the District of Columbia have already passed legislation to raise the wage to $15 an hour, most recently Florida, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center. But not Wisconsin. It is among 21 states whose minimum wage matches the federal level of $7.25 an hour. In 10 other states, the minimum is higher but still under $10, the UC Berkeley Labor Center reports.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a bill into law that will now give health care coverage for low-income people age 50 and older, including those who are living in the country without the proper documentation.
There’s a big argument for shrinking the state’s uninsured population, since undocumented immigrants are still the least likely to have insurance. With coverage, people aren’t having to rush to emergency rooms to get health care, which is more expensive than preventative medicine.
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.
The PRO Act, now in Congress, uses the same test for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee as the test codified in Assembly Bill 5, but this is specifically for the purposes of collective bargaining, said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Therefore, he said, it would not affect workers’ status for the purpose of other federal laws, such as taxes or minimum wage.
California should be encouraging the creation of blue-collar jobs with good pay and benefits. Residential construction used to be a solid middle-class career, but now the work can pay near-poverty wages.
California has a strong Medi-Cal takeup rate, with 95% of eligible people enrolled, said Laurel Lucia, director of the health care program at the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California-Berkeley. But of the remaining uninsured people, about 610,000 qualify for Medi-Cal, she said.
In California, one-third of workers earned less than $14.35 in 2017, according to a UC Berkeley study.
“The lesson of self-checkout is that all this technology still requires a substantial amount of human labor to back up these systems,” said Lisa Kresge, research and policy associate at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
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.
“For a public sector union to not engage in politics at all is unilateral disarmament,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. “Unions have really been the strongest bulwark of support for electing both candidates and passing ballot propositions that are in the broader interests of working people and that support strong, good quality public services. Were unions in general to pull out of doing so, that would have real ramifications.”
Automation hasn’t replaced all the workers in warehouses, but it has made work more intense, even dangerous, and changed how tightly workers are managed.
If you don’t have another job lined up that will provide health insurance, you may be eligible for Medicaid or a subsidized plan on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. Medicaid typically involves no or low monthly premiums, Lucia said. And marketplace plans are the cheapest they’ve ever been for many people, thanks to relief legislation passed in the pandemic.
Nearly 1.3 million undocumented Californians will remain uninsured in 2022, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center. This group makes up the largest chunk of the state’s remaining uninsured.
Nearly 1.5 million unauthorized immigrants lacked health insurance last year, the largest group of uninsured in the state, according to a report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
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.
Still, about 3.2 million people in the state are projected to not have health insurance next year, according to UC Berkeley Labor Center. Nearly half of those people are living in the country illegally, making them ineligible for full Medicaid benefits and other health insurance assistance programs.
As scholar and organizer Jane McAlevey writes in ‘No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power’, “Make the Road goes beyond a pure advocacy approach. They are not simply trying to win specific legislation or material benefits, but also trying to make long-term, structural changes in the power structure of the wider society, shifting the balance of power toward the organization’s base constituency and away from the forces that oppress them.”
But more than 1.3 million undocumented Californians are projected to lack health insurance next year, remaining the largest uninsured group in the state, according to a report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
Rhee also argued for a national universal retirement savings system. “I am agnostic on the exact policy model. Having been deeply involved with the development of the CalSavers program, I offer that there’s much to learn from the states.”
Many states have pursued their own requirements for most or all employers to offer a plan of some form, driven in part out of concern for the long-term financial burden that will arise from legions of older workers who haven’t saved enough for retirement, according to Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the University of California at Berkeley.
“The employer-sponsored retirement system leaves out many groups of workers and jobs, in a manner that disproportionately impacts women and people of color, particularly Blacks and Latinos,” Nari Rhee, director the retirement security program at the University of California at Berkeley, said in her written testimony.
Rhee said, “Your degree of access to the DC plan system is directly correlated with your income level. Most concerning, those sectors of the economy with the greatest representation of Latino and Black workers, such as hospitality, have the worst access to the DC plan system. The upshot of this is that only 46% of Black working households and 36% of Latino households are currently enrolled in the DC plan system.”
While not all states embraced the law, California implemented it fully — and built on it. The Golden State had the most at stake. Here’s what you need to know about California’s gains through the Affordable Care Act.
“The folks who are justifiably critical of the conventional approach say it’s about train and pray — train a bunch of people in skills that you think they might want and pray that they might get hired,” said Carol Zabin, co-author of research for the UC Berkeley Labor Center that backed High Road.
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.”
Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center at Institute for Research on Labor Employment, says it’s “fairly likely” Biden’s NLRB will eventually weigh in on the gig workers’ battle with companies like Uber.
Jacobs says the share of worker households who rely on Medicaid or the Earned Income Tax Credit is likely much higher in non-unionized residential construction. “These are costs that really should be taken into account when we think about, overall, what is the cost of having labor standards on construction and on affordable housing,” he said.
Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, joined Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster to chat about a number of labor issues, including the ongoing uproar over at SEIU 1000 following the election of outsider candidate Richard Louis Brown; the latest fallout from Proposition 22; and The PRO Act: what is it, and how will it impact California workers if passed?
Enrique Lopezlira, a labor economist at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on the low-wage workforce, said the stories were a sign, albeit anecdotal, that the market was functioning as it should in the face of excessive demand for workers.
While the $220 million campaign to pass the ballot initiative promised drivers “120% of the minimum wage,” a report from the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center estimated that real driver earnings will be $5.64 an hour.
“If the companies lose, it may garner the attention of other states who are looking for what to do here,” said Ken Jacobs, the chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California at Berkeley. “California isn’t the only one with lots of these suits.
Rhee told The Sacramento Bee the House retirement reform legislation, which passed the House Ways and Means Committee on a voice vote last month, “tinkers around the edges of the retirement system and will thus have a modest impact on household retirement assets.”
Converting to a single-payer system would cause enormous upheaval, however, and the Legislature has balked at bills to mandate it. Instead, in 2019 it created the Healthy California for All Commission to study its feasibility. That work is starting to bear fruit.
A report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center disputed the solar industry argument that prevailing wage laws significantly increase solar costs and slow investment. According to the report, installation labor accounts for 6 to 11 percent of project costs, so a 50 percent increase in those labor costs would increase total costs 3 to 5 percent.
The technology needed to fulfill orders is costly for stores, and the workers who pick items off the shelves often feel the pressure of being tracked.
UC Berkeley’s Labor Center estimated that it worked out to having a wage floor of $5.64 per hour, a little more than a third of what New York City drivers are guaranteed now.
“Yes, they have to raise the wages because they were paying too low before but they also have to provide the kind of jobs that workers want,” Lopezlira said.
Tens of millions of dollars in forgivable federal loans have flooded the troubled fast food industry, including more than $51 million that went to at least 110 outlets facing COVID-19 safety complaints, according to an analysis by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
A study conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found that an increase in pay improved worker performance and decreased the turnover rate by an average of 34 percent.
An economic study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, confirms what we already know: paying workers family-sustaining wages is not a burden to the large-scale solar industry.
A new report coauthored by labor analyst Jane McAlevey presents overwhelming evidence that democratic unionism that puts workers at the center of collective bargaining wins strong contracts. Just as important, such unionism also has a transformational effect on workers’ consciousness.
Despite the public outcry and ominous national data, Dr. Enrique Lopezlira, the director of the Low-Wage Work Program at the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, maintained that the reports of a labor shortage were contrary to the statistics presented by the government.
A UC Berkeley Labor Center study in 2017 found that EMTs and paramedics in the private sector earned 39 percent less than those working for public-sector agencies.
“Typically, where you have a labor market that has excess demand for workers, what’s needed is for employers to raise wages,” Lopezlira said. In economics, he explained, the “reservation wage” is the wage at which a worker will choose to accept a particular job rather than not work. “The reservation wage has changed for some of these workers.”
“Yes, they have to raise the wages because they were paying too low before but they also have to provide the kind of jobs that workers want. Stable scheduling, paid leave for sick or vacation leave be able to meet basic living expenses with their work,” said Lopezlira.
“Women in the United States are stuck with bosses who abuse them, because to walk out could mean living in their cars or on the streets — or taking two fulltime jobs and never spending a minute with their kids,” wrote the veteran labor organizer and author Jane McAlevey in a 2017 essay on the broader #MeToo movement for In These Times.
Union organizer Jane McAlevey on labor’s loss at Amazon in Alabama, what the future of labor organizing success depends on, and how organizers can win.
Due to low earnings, bank tellers and their families receive an annual average of $105 million in food stamp benefits and $250 million from Earned Income Tax Credit payments, according to a 2014 report by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center.
These “Fight for $15” fast-food actions have been rightly criticized by organizer and author Jane McAlevey, among others, for focusing more on media-friendly drama than on building lasting organization. After all, the walkouts have been going on for nearly a decade and fast-food workers still don’t have unions, though some companies have raised their entry-level wages.
Scholars say, however, that the companies’ alleged past-due bill could be material and should be of interest to investors. “We’re talking about an incredible amount of money,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. What’s more, he says, “The state is very likely to prevail, given what we’ve seen in preliminary rulings.”
Last November, California passed a ballot initiative called Proposition 22, cementing Mighetto and her colleagues in semi-employee status. They still don’t get state unemployment, discrimination protections, sick leave, or collective bargaining rights, though they do have some bare-minimum guarantees of pay while actually carrying a passenger.
About one-third of bank tellers were on some form of public assistance, from Medicaid to food stamps, according to a 2013 report from The Committee for Better Banks.
“The pandemic has affected the economy as a whole, but it has had an adverse disparate impact on sectors that primarily employ low-wage workers … retail, hospitality, leisure,” said Lopezlira. “The pandemic caused huge decreases in employment all at once, and re-hiring all those workers is much harder than letting them go.”
For most people, eligibility for subsidized health insurance is calculated using your household’s modified adjusted gross income, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
The laws vary but generally require companies to take a hands-off approach to union organizing efforts in exchange for state permission to sell cannabis.
The specific $153 billion figure and underlying claim were supported by ongoing, repeated, peer-reviewed research.
Access to health care and utilization of health care are two different things, Lucia said, citing workers like Bernal. Nearly 500,000 Californians eligible for coverage through a job or otherwise remain uninsured; “affordability of premiums is the main obstacle,” she added.
And Hammerling, who studies the future of work at UC Berkeley, said those who have do their jobs in person –– at restaurants, hospitals, grocery stores –– usually make less than people who can work from home, and the pandemic has only brought more attention to this inequality in the labor market.
According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, one in 10 low-income workers experiences wage theft in California. Violations range from getting paid below minimum wage to working off the clock or without overtime pay, resulting in thousands of dollars in lost compensation per worker.
The gig companies do not pay into state unemployment insurance funds. In California, a UC Berkeley Labor Center study estimated that Uber and Lyft would have had to pay $413 million into the state’s unemployment insurance fund from 2014 to 2019 if they had been required to do so.
That support will be critical in an election off-year, said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
McAlevey educated us about why we should strike and taught us not to do things like third-partying the union, meaning talking about it as a separate entity, which I definitely used to do.
“Whether it is FDR or Biden, the issue is what are unions and the organized working class doing to help create the possibility to achieve Biden’s stated goals of increasing unionization and decreasing misery and inequality?” asks McAlevey.
“Most everything Biden is proposing are things that are budgetary, which means they can be moved through the Senate procedure called reconciliation, which can be done with a majority vote,” Jacobs said.
A 2019 report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found “significant misclassification problems” in the trucking industry, citing studies suggesting up to 85% of port truck drivers across the country could be misclassified.
Providing support for workers affected by the energy transition could prove critical to accelerating climate action, Zabin said. If these communities fear they won’t be able to support their families, she said, their fear will turn into resistance that may stall climate policy.
In an industry where high rates of turnover make it tough for employees to unionize and collectively bargain, the council could be a tool for workers to increase their negotiating power, said Ken Jacobs at the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
A recent joint publication by the UC Berkeley Labor Center and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research projected the subsidies passed in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will help over 1.6 million Californians. This number includes 151,000 individual market enrollees who will qualify for subsidies for the first time and 135,000 uninsured people who will become insured.
Relying on outside donations is unusual for a labor union. But it’s been a common practice at the UFW since its earliest days in the 1960s, said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
Excessive focus on job training, the declining power of unions and other trends over the last few decades mean that green energy jobs are, in many cases, not the quality, family-supporting jobs still available in the fossil fuel industry, according to Carol Zabin.
The Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, in an October 2019 analysis of Proposition 22, wrote that while the initiative guarantees drivers 120% of minimum wage, since it only applies when the drivers are actually en route to or transporting passengers, drivers may be paid for only 67% of their actual working time.
Emerging tech and automation have yielded mixed results for workers, according to a 2019 report from UC Berkeley’s Labor Center. The report claims new technologies can help reduce monotonous and physically strenuous activity, but also warns it could also negatively affect workers’ health, safety, and morale, ultimately accelerating worker turnover.
Ken Jacobs, the chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, told Insider in March that one of the main attacks from opponents of a minimum wage is that it could help large businesses at the expense of small businesses.
In this segment, Brooke and Jane discuss how the coverage raised expectations, how Amazon dashed those hopes, and what mistakes the union may have made along the way.
“Creating minimum health and safety standards and a fast-food council provides a way to address these industry-specific issues and improve conditions for the fast-food workforce in an industry that, because of the way it is structured is unlikely to do so outside of government regulation,” Jacobs said.
“That’s pretty compelling evidence that improving wages can be expected to reduce crime rates,” Jacobs says.
Jane McAlevey argues that the danger signs were there for all to see. She does an excellent job cataloguing the company’s many attacks on the organizing effort, some putting up anti-union signs everywhere, intimidating organizers and mounting an effective counter-campaign. The company, one of the richest in the world, practiced the art of union busting with aplomb.
Climate Jobs Illinois points to a study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center finding that prevailing wage requirements increase solar project costs by about 5% to 9% in the residential sector, 2% to 5% in the commercial sector, and 1% for utility-scale projects. Those costs are small overall and are offset by the increased value provided by more skilled workers that fill prevailing wage jobs, the research found.
The reason Amazon workers lost in Alabama is simple: Employers in the US are allowed to engage in brazen anti-union tactics throughout union elections. The PRO Act would change all of that, finally freeing workers from employer intimidation.
Though a majority of Americans say they are in favor of unions, creating new ones is not easy. Key to the movement’s future is a sweeping piece of pro-union legislation, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which passed the House and faces uncertain prospects in the Senate. Ken Jacobs on Forum.
The key point McAlevey makes is that once Amazon won the fight to enormously change the composition and size of the bargaining unit at the warehouse, the union had to either sharply revisit its strategy or simply withdraw to fight another day.
Jane McAlevey is a veteran organizer, now a senior policy fellow at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center. Her most recent book is A Collective Bargain.
McAlevey says organizers made a number of missteps in their campaign and didn’t do enough to engage workers in the warehouse. “There’s a strategy and a method for every part of a hard campaign.
The new stimulus law includes opportunities for you to save money on health insurance, medical expenses and more. Here’s what to know.
A 2018 UC Berkeley Labor Center report shows 1.5 million Californians who lack insurance are undocumented — the “largest group of uninsured Californians.”
It’s bad news, but it doesn’t mean workers in future Amazon campaigns won’t or can’t win. They can. The results were not surprising, however, for reasons that have more to do with the approach used in the campaign itself than any other factor.
Last summer a study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center concluded that PPE shortages caused an estimated 20,000 coronavirus infections among healthcare workers in California.
One factor that has been shown to drive up wages in a given area is penetration of unions. “In unionized settings you are more likely to see both higher wages and better benefits,” said Ken Jacobs, who chairs the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
Jane McAlevey concurs, stressing that this is an important moment for the labor movement: “We’re at a strategic pivot right now: Are we, the working class, going to take a nosedive down or are we going to take this moment, coming out of the pandemic, to punch back as hard as we can and say that we never want to go back to the conditions we had before?”
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.
“It’s a stark choice,” says Zabin at UC Berkeley. “Either we have low-wage, dead-end jobs or we use the tools of government to make companies better employers and create real careers.”
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.)
“The COVID pandemic really laid bare to a large number of workers how little they matter to their employers,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “Employers may call them essential, but they see how little regard they have for their lives and well-being.
A higher minimum wage can produce benefits not just for workers, but for their employers, their communities and the entire economy.
“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.
Sarah Thomason on about the disproportionate number of Latino workers and other workers of color in what we now call essential industries, from farm work to grocery stores. These conditions have contributed to the outrageously high death tolls we’re seeing for this group from COVID-19.
A study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that nearly half of immigrant workers in California are employed in essential jobs.
“Women lost their jobs by far more than men because either their position was affected by the pandemic, or because they needed to quit their job or reduce their work hours because they needed to take care of their children,” Huang said.
In the chaotic early weeks of the pandemic, health officers from six Bay Area counties took a bold step to slow the spread of the virus. They directed millions of residents to stay home in what amounted to the nation’s first — and at the time strictest — shelter-in-place order. But those first orders held a critical flaw: They didn’t include clear strategies to protect essential workers whose jobs made it impossible for them to stay home. In California, 55 percent of Latinos work in those front-line essential jobs, according to an analysis from the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center.
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing improved employment figures for women. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. The dual shocks of employment and child care loss continue to threaten decades of progress in women’s labor market participation and earnings.
Still, the subsidies may be coming late in the game for many people, said Laurel Lucia, director of the Health Care Program at the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education. “Some workers who lost job-based coverage earlier in the pandemic and already enrolled in Medicaid or marketplace coverage may prefer to stay in that coverage to avoid further coverage transitions,” Lucia said.
A report from UCLA and UC Berkeley finds that nearly 150,000 QSR employees in Los Angeles County, California, are at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure
Raising the wage floor to $15 would also have a lasting impact on major U.S. public safety net programs, according to a January 2021 study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Nearly half (47%) of the families who would receive a direct pay bump are enrolled in programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Raising the minimum wage to $15 would ease the financial burden of those programs, the study says.
Fast-food workers in LA County are “especially vulnerable” to COVID-19 community transmission. They often face unmasked customers and unsafe workplaces. Workers aren’t protected when they speak up, and some are even punished, researchers wrote.
If national union leaders acquiesce to the creation of a third category of worker in exchange for sectoral bargaining, collective begging will replace collective bargaining.
A study released today by the UCLA and UC Berkeley Labor Centers highlights difficult working conditions in L.A. County’s fast food sector, which employs nearly 150,000 workers.
Grocery store workers are also shouldering extra tasks due to guidelines for sanitization and mask compliance, according to Nari Rhee, researcher at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. Rhee said it is “high time” that essential workers are recognized for their efforts.
“It’s a uniquely American problem that so many people have to rely on crowdsourcing to pay for their health care,” said Laurel Lucia, director of the health care program at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center. “It shows how many people are left out of our system and how unaffordable care has become.”
Ken Jacobs, UC Berkeley Labor Center chair, says confusion is by design. “Many of them thought they were voting to increase gig workers’ pay,” he says. “The $200 million allowed the companies to confuse the issue.”
According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, Latino workers also have the highest rate of employment in essential front-line jobs, where there’s a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.
A recent study from UC Berkeley’s Labor Center found that lower wages cost taxpayers more than $100 billion a year, as almost half of the families who would see a raise from a $15 minimum wage rely on at least one social safety net program. The study found that 42% of the $254 billion spent on safety net programs goes to those families.
According to the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center, around 41% of registered nurses identify as White while 15% identify as Latino. The California Health Care Foundation found that 32% of physicians identify as White while only 5% identify as Latino.
Drivers say working conditions remain poor after voters approved measure exempting Uber and other apps from labor laws.
McAlevey recently sat down with Blue Tent to talk about the necessity of “good” relational organizing, why the most exciting union organizing is going on at the local level, why unions need to look beyond workplace issues, and how no one reads those mass email blasts that are supposedly from Michelle Obama.
“Business as usual” when it comes to paid sick leave won’t work in a pandemic. It’s time to extend a clear, strong and unequivocal paid sick safety net to all workers.
California’s vote to classify Uber and Lyft drivers as contractors has emboldened other employers to eliminate salaried positions—and has become a cornerstone of bigger plans to “Uberize” the U.S. workforce.
Latino workers have the highest rate of employment in essential frontline jobs, where there’s a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
A study by the University of California, Berkeley, from 2015, found that more than half of the 3.7 million people who work in fast food rely on public benefits to survive. Today McDonald’s is one of the five biggest employers whose full-time employees survive on food stamps and Medicaid programs.
Economist Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, explained this week: Beyond the working families who will get a raise, every single American taxpayer has a stake in raising the minimum wage. When corporations like McDonald’s pay poverty wages, workers often turn to public safety net programs to make ends meet.
The Raise The Wage Act will give 32 million working people a much-needed raise. Increasing the minimum wage is an urgent, necessary step that President Joe Biden and Congress must take to combat the nation’s pandemic-induced economic crises.
In her book “A Collective Bargain,” Jane McAlevey documented compelling reasons to support public sector unions, especially those that promote democratic participation among their membership.
Sweeney also launched the Geographic Organizing Project. A successful effort in Stamford, Connecticut, under the leadership of Jane McAlevey was thwarted when affiliate organizing directors of the AFL-CIO disingenuously undermined the program, feeling threatened by these efforts.
Ken Jacobs said, “An economic downturn is an important time to undergird and set a strong floor for wages, to keep families’ income and to keep workers’ incomes up and to stop a ruinous drive down.”
“Customer interaction has always been two-edged. It’s been a source of frustration, but also a source of gratification,” said Françoise Carré. “Here, you have the tediousness and the pressure, but you don’t have any gratification in terms of interpersonal contact.”
Between the emergency of the pandemic and wage increases at the state level, we’ve never been closer to a national $15 minimum wage.
UC Berkeley Labor Center Chair Ken Jacobs joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how raising the U.S. minimum wage will help workers recover from their outstanding debts during the pandemic.
“The employer is still requiring the employees to come to work — they’re not laying them off,” Muñoz said. “Clearly, they have a need for them. They’re thinking about how to make their bottom line and continue to get their business to be productive. But what about on the other end?”
A study from the University of California-Berkeley Labor Center estimated that a higher wage would significantly reduce costs for federal safety net programs. “There’s a strong positive effect on lower-wage workers earnings. Strong reduction in poverty,” Ken Jacobs, the center’s chairman, told McClatchy.
“What do you do when you want to intimidate workers? You force them to walk through a gantlet of managers who are looking at them,” said McAlevey.
Jacobs said similar increases in cities such as San Francisco “have led to measurable, strong increases in workers’ pay, [and] we are not seeing effects on employment overall.”
The country’s three largest grocery providers, Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons, together earned an additional $6.8 billion in profit in the first three quarters of 2020 compared to 2019 — an average increase of 98%. “The industry is doing extraordinarily well in the pandemic,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
Ken Jacobs is the Chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center (@UCBLaborCenter). His latest report, co-authored with Ian Eve Perry and Jenifer MacGillvary is “The Public Cost of a Low Federal Minimum Wage”
The combination of these measures make the minimum wage hike not at all incidental to the budget. The Berkeley Labor Center estimates that workers who would receive a wage increase in this bill receive $107 billion per year in safety net support.
“In a period where lots of people have lost jobs and people are desperate for work, people will go and end up working under dangerous conditions and they will do so believing they have no other alternative,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
The University of California, Berkeley Labor Center maintains a database of municipalities with minimum wage ordinances. Emeryville, California, a small town north of Oakland that’s home to the animation studio Pixar, has among the highest minimum wages in the country at $16.84 per hour.
A study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that nearly half of families who would see a pay bump rely on at least one such program like SNAP or Medicaid, and $100 billion in taxpayer money goes towards those families. A higher minimum wage would both put more money in families’ pockets, and provide some relief for those programs as those families would rely on them less.
Latino workers also have the highest rate of employment in front-line jobs that have a high risk of exposure to COVID-19, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
Latino workers have the highest rate of employment in essential front-line jobs, where there’s a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
A separate 2013 study by University of California Berkeley economists found the fast-food industry has the largest share of workers who rely on public benefits, with 45% using government assistance.
The new Biden administration wants to keep this unionization trend going, said Ken Jacobs at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, “changing the law to make it more friendly to workers and easier to organize, and create real penalties on employers who violate the laws.”
If we are to sustain a meaningful democracy, the Democrats need a compelling campaign to fix our public spending so that it supports the majority of Americans on whose backs the economy has been resting.
Putting more money in the hands of workers could boost economic activity at a time when it is flagging. It could also help taxpayers.
Over the past few years, Uber, Lyft, and other app-based gig labor platforms have fought a series of protracted battles across the country to erode U.S. labor laws that would challenge the murky legal basis upon which their wholly unprofitable enterprise works.
The nation’s low minimum wage could be costing state and federal governments more than $100 billion a year, a UC Berkeley Labor Center study published Thursday finds.
That the solar and wind sectors employ such large shares in construction is not without benefits. It means that a potential wind and solar jobs boom would create plenty of work for people without college degrees.
The U.S. minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, hasn’t been raised since 2009. But 29 states and the District of Columbia and at least 53 cities and counties have lifted their pay floors above the national mandate.
One study published by the University of California Labor Center suggests that the $15 federal minimum wage could help boost the nation’s economy, noting that the country’s current low minimum wage costs taxpayers more than $100 billion a year because nearly half of working families rely on government programs such as Medicaid or SNAP.
Results of a UC Berkeley study released Thursday show that increasing the minimum wage could save American taxpayers about $100 billion a year.
The study, which comes from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, found that the country’s current low minimum wage costs taxpayers more than $100 billion a year. That’s because nearly half of the working families who would benefit from the pay bump rely on at least one safety net program, such as SNAP or Medicaid.
A recent report by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education found that if the federal minimum wage is raised to $15, more than 23 million Americans will receive a “direct boost” in pay, which would improve their lives amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
Latino workers have the highest rate of employment in essential front-line jobs where there’s a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
To help folks stand on their own two feet, the government can’t just make people work. It has to make work pay. The cost of low wages is too high for the country’s working families. And it’s too high for Uncle Sam as well.
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.
A University of California, Berkeley, Labor Center analysis shows that setting aside 90 days’ worth of PPE per 1 million health care workers would cost $50 million, although advocates point out that it would save lives and lead to lower treatment costs.
The difficulties of midwives in getting vaccinated raise questions about how independent workers in other professions deemed essential will gain early access to the vaccine once more supply is shipped.
“We’ve seen a big trend recently in the labor movement around bargaining for the common good,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. “It’s a focus that reflects that workers have lives that go beyond the workplace.”
Steven Pitts, a longtime labor economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said Biden should pursue two sets of labor policies. “One is try to raise and protect labor standards like a higher minimum wage and tougher safety rules,” he said. “Second is to build worker power into policy. Too often we focus on the former and not the latter.”
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.
Prop. 22 gave companies confidence that they could contract out work that was previously reserved for employees with secure pay and benefits, without facing the risk of being sued for misclassification, said Chris Benner, a University of California at Santa Cruz professor who has studied app-based delivery work.
“We should draw a really clear line between how union busters surveil workers, versus how workers offer up their own connections via wall place charting [an exercise unions use to identify social and communication networks within a workplace and track progress toward winning a union drive] in an effort to win [union elections],” said Jane McAlevey.
Ken Jacobs talks the Georgia Runoff Election and how minimum wage earners can impact the election outcome.
According to the Labor Center study, Proposition 22 only requires payment for time spent on the way to a customer or with a customer in the car. This means that all the time that drivers have to spend driving home or have to wait between orders is left unpaid for. Additionally, the $0.30 per mile payment was decidedly lower than the amount needed to cover the costs of driving and maintaining a car.
A 2016 study, conducted by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, found raising the minimum wage to a then-high of $15 in San Jose would result in a wage increase for 31.1% of the city’s workforce and an annual pay increase of 17.8% for those getting raises.
UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education published a study in 2017 which found that PLA projects do not reduce the number of bidders, nor do they increase project costs.
For state lawmakers, 2020 “was a year that started out with lots of aspirational plans,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. “But it became a year about saving lives.”
Ken Jacobs, who heads the Labor Center, spoke with WABE’s “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress about how the wage increase could free up billions of dollars a year that Georgia now spends on social safety net and welfare programs.
“We have lots of low-wage, service workers who are working through the Covid crisis, many of whom are in jobs with a greater risk of transmission,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California-Berkeley. “This will be a very welcome boost for them. As well, a lot of families are struggling right now in this crisis.”
UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education published a study in 2017 which found that PLA projects do not reduce the number of bidders, nor do they increase project costs.
We have seen a steady increase in the share of older adults who are still working. Before the pandemic, about 13 percent of seniors aged 70 and older were working.
“Workers of color have disproportionately applied for and are receiving unemployment insurance benefits here in California,” Sarah Thomason of the UC Berkeley Labor Center said. “Service workers who have seen the highest job losses are disproportionately people of color and they’re also low wage.”
Nari Rhee: “If you claim Social Security before full retirement age, which at this point is 67, so if you do it at 62, when you’re first eligible, that can basically slash your monthly check compared to if you had waited until age 67.”
A recent UC Berkeley Labor Center analysis highlights the millions of Californians who were considered essential workers during the earlier portions of the pandemic.
Rebecca Dixon, Bill Fletcher Jr., and Jane McAlevey look back on 2020, a tumultuous year for workers.
According to a recent UC Berkeley Labor Center analysis, low-wage workers are less likely to be able to work remotely, and women – in particular Black and Latina women – are more likely to have very close proximity to others on the job, which puts them at higher risk. This underscores the importance of highlighting workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities in key industries and regions across California.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds of the California labor force would be considered as being employed in occupations of close proximity, according to a Nov. 30 study from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
“One of the shortcoming around the whole conversation around job creation is that we don’t often go back and look to see how accurate the models actually were,” said Hinkley of UC Berkeley.
More than 20,000 COVID-19 cases among essential workers in the state may have been avoidable if proper PPE had been available before the pandemic, a UC Berkeley Labor Center study found in August. Moreover, it’s “likely that dozens of deaths” among these workers could also have been avoided.
“As productivity has increased, pay has stayed very low, and again, our federal minimum wage is well below where it would have been if it kept up with inflation and very far where it would have been if it kept up with productivity growth. So many families earn too little to get by on what they earn from their jobs.”
Latino workers have the highest rate of employment in essential frontline jobs where there’s a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center; 55% of Latinos work in such jobs and 48% of Black residents do as well, compared with 35% for white residents.
Eighty percent of these front-line jobs are considered low-wage, according to a May 14 UC Berkeley Labor Center report. That means most can’t afford to miss work in the fields should they fall sick, despite facing greater rates of COVID-19 risk factors like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
UC Berkeley Labor Center report, shared exclusively with MarketWatch, raises concerns about gig-work model expansion and calls for better worker protections.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated emerging labor market trends associated with e-commerce in the grocery industry, creating mixed implications for jobs, according to a new report led by Chris Benner.
Newsom faces the pressure from lawmakers to make California the first state in the nation to cover every income-eligible resident regardless of immigration status.
Though $14 an hour is the statewide standard, several California municipalities maintain their own minimum wage which is higher, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
Taking advantage of this “independent contractor loophole” lowers a company’s labor costs by about 30 percent, but leaves workers in a lurch and threatens to eviscerate the national employer-based safety net by stranding more workers without benefits. It’s well past time to construct a new kind of safety net that allows workers with multiple employers to get the support they need.
Keep in mind, 55% of California’s Latino residents work in essential front-line jobs where there’s a higher risk of coronavirus exposure, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center. That’s the highest such employment rate in the state; Black residents come in second, at 48%, compared with just 35% of white residents.
Latino workers have the highest rate of employment in essential frontline jobs where there’s a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center; 55% of Latinos work in such jobs and 48% of Black residents do as well, compared to 35% for white residents.
Prop 22 requires companies to pay drivers at least 120% of minimum wage, which in California in 2021, would be over $15 an hour. But a study from the University of California, Berkeley says that number doesn’t account for a lot of things.
A University of California, Berkeley, Labor Center study found that between 2014 and 2019, Uber and Lyft alone avoided $413 million in wages, overtime and other taxes in America.
“To win big, we have to follow the methods of spending very little time engaging with people who already agree, and devote most of our time to the harder work of helping people who do not agree come to understand who is really to blame for the pain in their lives.” – Jane McAlevey
Scholars at University of California, Berkeley’s Labor Center, estimate that under this arrangement ride share workers will earn an average of $5.64 per hour when time between rides and vehicle costs are factored in.
Economists at the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center crunched the numbers and included other costs, like the time when drivers must wait to be matched with a rider. They concluded drivers’ actual wage to be closer to $5.64 per hour.
The new GAO report echoes the conclusions of similar studies by the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center in 2013 and 2015, which found that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing large corporations to the tune of $153 billion per year in the form of public assistance programs to support their low-wage employees.
A Berkeley Labor Center study found Prop 22 would net ride-hail and delivery drivers a minimum wage of $5.64 an hour—California’s minimum wage is $12 an hour.
As researchers at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center have noted in a recent report, “there is strong evidence that worker voice on the job has a positive impact on compliance. Unionized workers know more about health and safety risks and their rights under the law and are more likely to report violations because they have better protection from unfair dismissals.”
Jane explains the door-knocking Democrats should do, why the left needs more than a Labor Secretary, and how to take lessons from union elections, since they’re models of voter suppression.
A sizable number of the recipients of federal aid programs such as Medicaid and food stamps are employed by some of the biggest and more profitable companies in the United States, chief among them Walmart and McDonald’s.
The benefits stipulated in Prop 22 are not as good as those for someone classified as an employee. One study said those “promises in the proposition were worth the equivalent of only $5.64 per hour” (University of Berkeley Labor Center).
A study by three research groups at the University of California at Berkeley found that Uber and Lyft drivers would be guaranteed only an estimated $5.64 per hour. This no doubt would have surprised 40 percent of those in a survey of early voters who said they had supported Proposition 22 to ensure workers earned livable wages.
Labor advocates say it’s possible to both have flexibility and be an employee. Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, sees Uber’s hybrid model as an “old model wrapped in new technology,” with the companies shifting the costs and risks to workers.
Prop 22 promises substandard healthcare, a death sentence to many in the middle of a pandemic. We’re promised a sub-minimum wage in the middle of a recession that an independent study showed would be as low as $5.64 an hour – not the eventual $15 state minimum.
AB 5 still covers the majority of California’s independent contractors, from maids to truck drivers. To classify those jobs as independent contractors, companies still have to meet what is known as the ABC test, meaning they should not impose control over workers in areas such as their hours. Those workers should also perform duties outside the usual course of the companies’ business.
But winning the election is like gaining recognition for a union. Now the real work starts.
A new podcast “Black Work Talk” with Steven Pitts kicked off its first episode with long-time racial justice and labor activist Bill Fletcher Jr. on Nov 11.
“The biggest thing is control of the Senate and the ability to pass a law for gig workers,” Ken Jacobs, a gig economy expert at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, told Motherboard. “We’ll know more after the Georgia election, but things like an ABC test that takes legislation will be more difficult for Biden in the short run.”
AB 5 still exists, and it still covers millions of California workers, says Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. They include janitors and other cleaners, retail workers, ground maintenance workers, and truck drivers
Prop 22 exempts the gig companies from AB5, and instead creates a “third category” of independent contractors with a few perks. Drivers will now receive limited health benefits, but only for those who log enough hours, and an hourly pay “guarantee” that a UC Berkeley Labor Center study found to be worth $5.64.
“The ACA covered millions of people and reduced the racial and ethnic disparities in health coverage in California,” researchers at the UC Berkeley Labor Center and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research wrote in a recent publication. “(T)o take away these coverage options especially during a global pandemic and recession would exacerbate racial and ethnic inequality in California.”
Guest Jane McAlevey: “What Silicon Valley did in this election by overturning the will of the most progressive legislature we’ve had in decades is sinful. They just undid 100 years of basic worker protections & basic worker rights in [#Prop22].”
“AB5 was always about so much more than Uber and Lyft and (app-based) delivery drivers,” said Jacobs, who co-wrote a research paper looking at who was covered by AB5. “They make up a small fraction of the millions of Californians covered under the law.”
A report conducted by the UC Berkeley Labor Center in May 2020 found Uber and Lyft would have paid $413m into California’s unemployment benefits system if drivers had been classified as employees rather than independent contractors. California is among many US states struggling to maintain funds for unemployment insurance funds.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are deeply concerned that the passage of Proposition 22, a ballot initiative in California, will undermine the rights of workers for app-based companies in the state and set a dangerous precedent across the United States and globally.
A University of California at Berkeley analysis concluded that after accounting for full expenses and wait times, the proposition’s pay guarantee is worth less than $6 an hour.
Californians’ approval of this ballot measure cements gig workers as permanent independent contractors, keeping them from qualifying to be full-time employees and receive basic benefits. Labor experts at University of California – Berkeley did an analysis which found that Proposition 22’s passage means that Uber and Lyft drivers will only make $5.64 an hour on average.
A University of California, Berkeley labor center study found that when full time spent working (including wait time) was counted, the guarantee amounts to $5.64 an hour, less than half the state minimum wage.
If Uber and Lyft had classified workers as employees, they would have collectively contributed $413 million into the state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund between 2014 and 2019, according to a May report from The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jacobs also said the federal government can step in to say gig drivers should be considered as employees in its law, making them eligible at least for some benefits such as the federal minimum wage, which is set at $7.25 an hour. “Either way, this debate is far from over.”
“Drivers will continue to be paid less than the minimum wage if all their work time is counted; and they will be reimbursed for less than half of their business expenses. That’s a big price to pay,” UC Berkeley labor economist Michael Reich said in an email.
As Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich of the UC Berkeley Labor Center have pointed out, the $15.60 minimum shrinks to only $5.64 when conditions and specifics are factored in.
California voters typically support labor rights, but gig companies successfully confused the issue through “deceptive design in the measure itself,” as well as the volume of spending to push out the companies’ messages, said Ken Jacobs.
It should be noted that the UC Berkeley Labor Center estimates this only works out to about $5.64 an hour on average; Uber and Lyft insist it’s closer to $25 to $27, but UC Berkeley still disagrees.
“The question all along has been over time would new workers continue to enroll at the same rate or would some people drop off,” said Jacobs, the UC Berkeley professor. “And so far we’ve seen union membership hold pretty steady.”
“If you’re a barista, you are paid whether or not there’s someone at the counter at the moment,” noted Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at the University of California at Berkeley. Jacobs analyzed Prop 22 and found its wage guarantee comes out to $5.64 for every hour that drivers are logged into their app. California’s minimum hourly wage is $12.
According to the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center, rideshare drivers will only earn an average wage of $5.64 per hour after numerous loopholes are factored in — a pay rate considerably below California’s $13 per hour minimum wage starting in 2021.
An August 2020 report by Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UC Berkeley concluded that drivers’ compensation, if Proposition 22 passes, is approximately $5.64. The proposition doesn’t pay drivers for the time spent waiting for customers and underestimates driving expenses.
According to Business Insider’s review of compensation in Uber’s initial public offering, Uber’s CEO took home a $45 million pay package last year; comparatively, under Prop 22, a 2019 study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center last year found that a worker’s “guaranteed pay” would hover around $5.64 per hour.
Pennsylvania is one of 26 states that saw median household income grow at a slower pace during the president’s first three years than during the three years leading up to his administration, according to the analysis conducted by Capital & Main in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education
Fifty-five percent of Latino Californians are employed as essential workers — in agriculture, construction, product-stocking and other occupations that require close proximity between workers, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Only 35% of white Californians hold these types of jobs.
Another chronic problem in the gig economy is that too many workers chase too little work, a phenomenon that has been particularly acute among ride-hailing services. It arises in part because most platforms allow almost anyone to join. Our ongoing but unpublished interviews with gig shoppers and delivery workers find that this imbalance has intensified during the pandemic.
This stipend bears little resemblance to traditional employer-based insurance, which is what drivers would get if they were considered employees instead of gig workers, said Ken Jacobs, chair of the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
“Instead of spreading the cost of new cleaner technologies to whole industries, you’re putting that on the backs of workers,” said Carol Zabin.
We talk to Goldman Alumna Rebecca Stack-Martinez and the Chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center Ken Jacobs about the implications of Prop 22 on labor and the influence of money on the most expensive ballot initiative in California’s History.
“Obama was carrying us out of a very deep and long recession, and Trump inherited that. If anything, it’s notable that real income didn’t rise any faster under Trump than it did under Obama, despite the stimulus that his tax cuts were supposed to provide.”
“This is a really important battle. We’ll see it spread to other industries. It’s not just an issue in California. It has huge implications for labour – more of a race to the bottom by taking away worker protections through outsourcing and subcontracting.”
Much of gig work is spent waiting for a job in the app. UC Berkeley’s Labor Center did a study where they tried to take time between rides into account, along with wear and tear on the vehicle. Adding those factors in the mix, the study found the wage guarantee drops to just $5.64 an hour.
Drivers are only compensated when they’re fulfilling a ride request, not when they’re waiting for one, [so] the actual average pay for total time spent in the car is only $5.64 per hour.
Reich and Jacobs say the studies backed by Uber and Lyft underestimate costs like gas, vehicle damage and car-value depreciation, in part because those studies discount expenses incurred outside of engaged time.
Labor activists say Uber is failing to provide drivers basic protections only offered to employees, such as healthcare and the ability to unionize. They also say the protections outlined in Prop 22 are inadequate, pointing to an analysis from the Labor Center at the University of California Berkeley that found the minimum wage under Prop. 22 would only be $5.64 due to loopholes and hidden costs.
In late 2019, the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, released a report estimating that drivers working under Prop. 22 could receive a net wage as low as five dollars and sixty-four cents an hour—less than half the minimum wage in California, and hardly a third of the minimum wage in San Francisco
Economists at the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center crunched the numbers and included other costs, like the time when drivers must wait to be matched with a rider. They concluded drivers’ actual wage to be closer to $5.64 per hour.
California receives some $27 billion a year from the federal government to subsidize insurance coverage for low- and moderate-income Californians, an amount roughly equivalent to what the state spends annually on prisons, colleges and universities, according to estimates by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
Labor activists say Uber is failing to provide drivers basic protections, such as healthcare, wage protections and the ability to unionize, because they aren’t employees.
Los Angeles County worked with UCLA’s Labor Center and the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center to study and respond to the situation. The first step was to give workers a direct and private way to report worrisome situations. Thousands of tips poured in, allowing the county to crack down on situations.
“The U.C. Berkeley Labor Center estimates that California could annually lose 27 billion [dollars] and potentially 299,000 jobs if the ACA was struck down,” Kelch outlined.
Reich has a more optimistic view than Uber and Lyft of their ability to transition. He predicts that in California, prices would increase 5% to 10%, while labor costs would go up 25% to 30%.
A UC Berkeley Labor Center study said Uber and Lyft would have owed California $413 million for unemployment between 2014 and 2019 if drivers were employees.
A study by my colleagues at UC Berkeley found that under Prop 22, Uber and Lyft drivers would be guaranteed only $5.64 an hour – a far cry from the $13 an hour minimum wage they’d otherwise get. And the vast majority would not qualify for the health benefits outlined in Prop 22.
Proposition 22, which is being put to voters on the same day as the November 3 presidential election, will determine whether California’s government can enforce a law which became effective this year requiring on-demand companies to treat drivers as employees, instead of independent contractors.
The NLRB has been “ripped asunder by the current leadership,” says Jane McAlevey, a longtime labor organizer and fellow at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center. The result is that corporations are more likely to cheat in negotiations, knowing there won’t be any real consequences.
“You know, that’s about $6 an hour, what they’re proposing — it’s actually less than I make right now. That’s how bad this thing is.” (Labor and economics experts at University of California, Berkeley, later confirmed the driver’s calculations.)
Prop 22 also will not likely offer higher wages because of a complex formula that will be used to determine “minimum wage.” A study by the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center found that if Proposition 22 passes, many drivers could earn as little as $5.64 an hour once their considerable driving expenses are subtracted, which is not even half of California’s minimum wage of $12 per hour.
LA officials pushed to set up tip lines for violations on workplace health enforcement and other offenses. UC Berkeley Labor Center believed the idea was “innovative,” noting that the workplace was the driver of COVID-19 in the county, affecting mostly Latinos and Blacks.
“If the ACA is overturned, policymakers would be facing a lot of hard decisions about how to respond,” Lucia said. “Over $28 billion in federal funding would be very difficult for the state to replace.”
Misclassification of workers is a substantial contributor to growing inequality, as well as a raid on the public treasury. One study estimated that Uber and Lyft would have paid $413 million into California’s unemployment insurance fund between 2014 and 2019 if their drivers had been employees.
As president, Biden would have a number of means at his disposal to enforce better labor standards in the industry, said Carol Zabin, a labor economist who directs the Green Economy Program at the University of California, Berkeley. His administration could make sure individual workers aren’t expected to cover the costs of environmental initiatives.
Los Angeles County officials attribute a dramatic decline in COVID-19 death and case rates among Blacks and Latinos over the past two months to aggressive workplace health enforcement and the opening of tip lines to report violations. Now, officials intend to cement those gains by creating workplace councils among employees trained to look for COVID-19 prevention violations and correct or report them — without fear of being fired or punished.
California measure would bring slight tweaks including a path to health-care reimbursements and some disability insurance, but if companies’ record-breaking $185 million campaign fails, it could mean much bigger changes.
A car caravan of more than 250 rideshare drivers will bring their “No on Prop. 22” message to Los Angeles on Wednesday, alleging the ballot measure would lock workers into sub-minimum wage jobs with little in the way of benefits.
Opponents of Proposition 22 say the initiative does not guarantee that drivers will receive the 120% of California’s $13 minimum wage because of the hidden costs of app-based driving, such as vehicle upkeep and waiting times between rides. They cite research from UC Berkeley, which indicates drivers would only make about $5.64 under Proposition 22.
The UC Berkeley Labor Center also estimates that after factoring in waiting time, expenses, and taxes, this wage floor established by Proposition 22 would, in fact, come out to $5.64 an hour, far less than the current state minimum wage of $12 an hour ($13 an hour at larger firms like Uber and Lyft).
It seems that these companies would sooner destroy their own businesses than grant workers the dignity of comprehensive benefits, guaranteed wages or unemployment insurance. Rejecting Prop 22 is a chance finally to ensure gig workers the protections all workers deserve.
A joint analysis of Prop 22 by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics found that the estimated pay guarantee for rideshare drivers would be equivalent to a wage of $5.64 per hour; California minimum wage for employees will be $13 in 2021.
Voting against Prop 22 is arguably a pro-business move in addition to being pro-worker. If you believe in market competition, companies should have to compete fairly on grounds of price and quality, not be undercut by a cynical evasion of labor and anti-trust law.
“The assumption that streamlining processes leads in a linear fashion to greater efficiencies, and thus cost reductions, may be fundamentally flawed,” professors Beth Gutelius and Nik Theodore wrote in the paper, commissioned by the U.C. Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and Working Partnerships USA.
A recent report by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the nonprofit Working Partnerships USA predicted that workers would come under new pressure as stores began to resemble Amazon warehouses, and noted that “stock clerks’ jobs seem destined for more radical change than any of the other major retail job categories.”
An analysis by the UC Berkeley Labor Center earlier this year found that had California’s gig economy law been in place between 2014 and 2019, Uber and Lyft would have paid $413 million in unemployment insurance alone
“Do you believe for one second that these companies are spending $180 million on a ballot measure that’s going to benefit drivers more than it benefits Uber-Lyft-DoorDash’s bottom line?”
“If your employer is going to stop you coming in the door because you have a temperature, it would also be really good if (the) employer was offering paid sick leave,” Jessie HF Hammerling said. “So that workers don’t have an incentive to try to sneak into work when they might potentially be infected.”
Prop 22’s text actually calls for “a net earnings floor based on 120% of the minimum wage applied to a driver’s engaged time.” So they’re making a distinction between ‘engaged time’ versus ‘unengaged time’ — ‘engaged time’ is when the driver has a fare, ‘unengaged time’ is when the driver is hanging around hoping for a fare to come in.
“This is an extremely dangerous precedent,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley. “They just acted like the law doesn’t apply to them and assumed they could bring in enough money, gain enough political power, to bend the law to their will.”
“These are unacceptable deaths, each of which could have been prevented if we had had adequate supply chains in place in advance of the pandemic,” said UC Berkeley Professor William Dow.
Prop 22 “guarantees” certain benefits, including completely undefined “assistance” with health care premiums and disability coverage for those injured on the job. Drivers are guaranteed an hourly wage at least 120 percent of the local minimum. But that only kicks in during time spent driving, while waiting for or getting to a ride or a delivery, which can be as much as 37 percent of the time spent on the job, remains uncompensated.
If Prop 22 is defeated and A.B. 5 is enforced, driver pay would be tied to hours worked rather than just ‘engaged’ time. Drivers would receive fairer wages, and it would be less financially attractive for the companies to have drivers idling or driving unproductively.
Cherri Murphy, like other gig workers, found she couldn’t get unemployment insurance because Lyft didn’t classify her as an employee. She says the fight over this ballot measure is critical for worker protections.
Dr. Rhee’s data shows that workers of color are behind on saving for retirement — 38% of Black households and 31% of Latino households have some assets in a retirement account, compared to 63% of white households.
Prioritizing good jobs that also solve some of our environmental and climate issues are part of a strong economic recovery. We’re at a crossroads. The recommendations in the Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030 will help California emerge from this recovery stronger and more resilient than ever.
“The companies have been slick in their deception. [Prop. 22] doesn’t provide meaningful guarantees for the driver. The central effect of Proposition 22 is to take away rights and benefits for drivers under California law.”
“They have basically operated as though the law does not apply to them,” Ken Jacobs, the chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, told Salon. “And I think that signals to other states around the country, ‘Don’t try to enforce your laws because we have the political power and resources to defeat you if you do.'”
Unless workers in the gas and oil industry see a future for themselves in a low-carbon economy, their first priority is to “save their own livelihoods,” said Carol Zabin, director of Green Energy Program at UC Berkeley Labor Center. For the state to truly achieve its goals fighting climate change, Zabin said, it needs to invest in helping its gas and oil workforce transition.
Prop 22 would legalize the companies’ current practice of classifying drivers as independent contractors, preventing them from access to the benefits and protections that employment status offers. Prop 22 does mandate certain pay, reimbursement, and benefit standards for drivers, but there are loopholes in these standards which erode their value.
Interview with Laurel Lucia on “What Losing the Affordable Care Act Could Mean for Californians.”
Under Proposition 22, drivers will not be paid for the time they are waiting to give a ride, nor the time they spend preparing and cleaning their cars. That time accounts for some 33% of the drivers’ working time, Jacobs said, citing a 2019 study that looked at Lyft and Uber rides in six metropolitan areas across the country, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Organizing, the last approach—and the one McAlevey champions—recognizes that ordinary people outnumber the elites, and it seeks to involve them in developing a power analysis and a campaign to win. There may be professional organizers who help start a campaign, but for it to be most successful, ordinary people (not staff) must become the leaders of the movement.
Walmart is estimated to save around $2.2bn annually from the tax cut bill. Before the bill was passed, Walmart announced plans to spend $20bn over the next two years on stock buybacks. Ken Jacobs, the chair of the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center has estimated it would cost Walmart $3.8bn to increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour, the level being lobbied for by the Fight for $15 movement, Senator Bernie Sanders and others.
While every thinking person is rightly worried about the prospect of a third U.S. wave of COVID-19 cases and deaths, one should take a moment to contemplate a pandemic-related disaster in which the first wave is just beginning. That’s the meltdown of state and local government budgets produced by the higher costs of dealing with the crisis combined with the collapse of revenues.
According to Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich of the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center, engaged time is only 67 percent of a driver’s shift, and workers under Proposition 22 could make as little as $5.64 an hour. “Not paying for [wait] time would be the equivalent of a fast food restaurant or retail store saying they will only pay the cashier when a customer is at the counter,” they wrote in 2019.
“We know they’ve been affected by the crisis more than any other group,” Lozano said. Latinos hold over half of front-line worker jobs in California, according to a 2018 report from UC Berkeley Labor Center.
We must invest in a healthy economic recovery – one that prioritizes underserved communities, reduces pollution, and grows good jobs. We can’t slow the growth of the logistics and warehousing industry, but we can make sure that it is cleaner, safer, and better. A new report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, “Putting California on the High Road,” lays out how we get there.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is courting union members with what California Labor Federation spokesman Steve Smith described as “the strongest platform to support workers since FDR.”
Uber and Lyft say they’ve created a new type of work that deserves new rules. Their opponents say that what these companies have created is an app for an old type of work — employment — and that they only want new rules because it is less expensive than following the existing rules, which guarantee employees protections like minimum wage, overtime, and the right to form a union.
The COVID-19 crisis comes in the middle of a fundamental shift toward more automation and online ordering in grocery retail. In fact, the pandemic is likely to accelerate that change.
Murphy said she believes that Uber’s publicly stated commitments to racial justice are intended as a smokescreen to protect their reputation as a progressive company as they try to circumvent classifying drivers as employees and granting them labor protections such as paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, and reimbursement for business expenses by passing Prop 22.
Building support and political consciousness amongst workers is obviously crucial to the task of weakening support for the nationalist Right. Writers like Day & Uetricht and Jane McAlevey have made profound and persuasive observations as to how this could be achieved in the US context.
Biden traveled last week to Pennsylvania, where the jobless rate is 13.7 percent, and, as Jane McAlevey reported in the Nation (where I am editorial director), he talked about looting and violence rather than about jobs.
Let’s doff our hats to Uber, Lyft and their fellows in the gig economy. Having created a model of exploiting workers and obnoxiously browbeating local officials to get their way, they have now set a record for spending on a self-interested ballot proposition.
“One thing we do know is that it takes a fair amount of time to train these robots,” Tilly said. In some cases, the researchers heard of robots still struggling to learn shelf inventory after being in stores for nearly a year.
“Esa pieza de legislación por primera vez requirió que el estado presentara recomendaciones sobre cómo apoyar a los trabajadores, mientras hacemos esta gran transición económica para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero”, dijo Zabin, quien es la principal autora del reporte.
Many people just want to get through 2020, but labor organizer Jane McAlevey believes we can set our sights higher than simply surviving.
Many people just want to get through 2020, but labor organizer Jane McAlevey believes we can set our sights higher than simply surviving. A senior policy fellow at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, McAlevey kicked off the year making a strong case for Americans to build and flex their collective muscle through workplace organizing.
For Labor Day, let’s imagine it’s time to actually try winning key swing states, where, like the entire country and world, finding a good-paying job is the most urgent issue—unless you are Black, in which case not being shot by the police trumps employment.
An August report from the University of California-Berkeley found that at least 20,860 California cases of COVID-19 among essential workers could have been avoided, as well as dozens of deaths, if the state had had a sufficient supply of protective gear.
Carol Zabin, Director of the Green Economy Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, is the report’s lead author. She says it’s meant to act as a roadmap as the state intervenes in the economy to enact climate goals.
Tilly said in interview he was surprised by the extent that new technologies allow for surveillance of a store’s occupants. “We knew there were things going on but had no clue of how much we, as customers, and retail workers were already being scrutinized by cameras and sensors and so on,” Tilly said.
“California has the most comprehensive portfolio of climate policies and programs, so it’s really important to add labor and equity elements to that, and this report shows the state how,” Zabin said.
Joe Biden said at the Democratic National Convention that America should “lead the world in clean energy and create millions of new good-paying jobs.” Similar thinking underlies the Green New Deal, which declares a goal of “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” So how do we actually create those kinds of family-supporting jobs, and give people the skills to fill them?
A UC Berkeley Labor Center study found that if the state had had a stockpile prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of workers would not have contracted the virus, and California would have saved $93 million each week on unemployment claims from out-of-work healthcare workers.
The initiative, Proposition 22, relies on false premises to make the case that it would be good for drivers, as UC Berkeley’s Labor Center has helpfully noted. When the California Attorney General created an accurate description of what was in the measure, companies sued to change the language to suit their PR spin.
“Research shows that when workers are empowered to speak up it leads to safer conditions on the job,” said Ken Jacobs, director of the UC Berkeley Labor Center and also a co-author of the report. “Workers have deep knowledge of the workplace and are best positioned to identify threats to themselves and the public, as well as solutions. Frontline workers are less likely to speak up if they fear retaliation or don’t believe they will be listened to.”
Latinos account for 56% of California’s low-wage workers, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, many of whom work in essential jobs in which they must leave home to work, raising their risk for infection.
If Uber and Lyft can continue delaying an order to convert their California drivers to employees and reorganize into franchise models, it would signal to other companies that corporations have the power to avoid complying with the law, said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Berkeley Labor Center.
“Health care and nurses unions have an impressive history of fighting to improve their working conditions and pushing for patient care policy reforms that benefit all of us,” Lucia said.
With the federal government at a standstill on a stimulus package and the challenge of controlling the pandemic and establishing economic stability, the U.S. economy could spiral from a recession to a depression, according to a study by UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.
A UC Berkeley Labor Center study estimates that drivers will earn $5.64 an hour if Proposition 22 is passed. If drivers switch from independent contractors to employee status they will make at least minimum wage, which is $13 an hour.
“If this proposition passes, there was a study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center that found that this pay guarantee would amount to about $5.64 an hour for drivers.”
Lyft and Uber have spent a collective $90 million on their campaign to pass the measure — which, if passed, could reduce drivers’ earnings to $5.64 an hour, by an estimate from UC Berkeley Labor Center. California’s minimum wage is $12 an hour.
An analysis from the Labor Center at the University of California Berkeley found the minimum wage under Prop. 22 would only be $5.64 due to loopholes and hidden costs. The analysis also found that the vast majority of drivers wouldn’t be eligible for the healthcare subsidies.
A new study out of the University of California Berkeley finds that creation of a state stockpile of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for future pandemics or emergencies could have economic and health benefits. Co-author of the study, William Dow, joined Wake Up With Cheddar to discuss.
A report conducted by the UC Berkeley Labor Center in May 2020 found Uber and Lyft would have paid $413m into California’s unemployment benefits system if drivers had been classified as employees rather than independent contractors. California is among many US states struggling to maintain funds for unemployment insurance funds.
One study by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education found that Uber and Lyft would have had to pay more than $400 million over the last five years into California’s unemployment insurance fund if their drivers were classified as employees.
At a press conference organized by the No on Proposition 22 campaign, app-based drivers in L.A. and the Bay Area expressed their frustration at Uber’s latest tactic to gain an exemption from regulations.
Sylvia Allegretto is a labor economist and co-chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the co-author with Bryce Liedtke of the new report Workers and the COVID-19 Recession: Trends in UI Claims & Benefits, Jobs, and Unemployment.
When you look inside the numbers of the new UC Berkeley report urging California to aggressively stockpile protective gear for the next pandemic, it doesn’t take long to understand how the state could spend itself into a financial ditch just trying to keep health care workers safe.
In California, for example, a lack of sufficient PPE may have infected 20,860 essential workers and members of their households, who would have otherwise not gotten the virus, according to a recent study from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center.
If Uber won’t follow the rules, it should move over and make space for companies that will.
The report states that many health care workers were furloughed because of the lack of PPE, partially resulting in more than 250,000 California health care workers receiving unemployment benefits. According to the report, for every week earlier that these workers could return to work in the next pandemic, the state would save approximately $93 million in unemployment insurance payments.
Nearly 21,000 essential workers wouldn’t have contracted COVID-19 and dozens likely wouldn’t have died if California had an adequate stockpile of personal protective equipment at the outset of the pandemic, according to a Wednesday report from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and Labor Center.
UC Berkeley researchers believe 35 percent of these infections could’ve been avoided. It was estimated that the cost of PPE would’ve only been 17% of what it has taken to battle coronavirus infections now due to inflated rates.
Even before AB5, states have been using ABC tests, and court rulings have declared that Uber drivers aren’t independent contractors. These rulings are costly for Uber, who was found to owe $649 million in unpaid unemployment taxes in New Jersey last year. A UC Berkeley study estimated that in California, Lyft and Uber should have paid $413 million into the state unemployment fund.
But the meager stockpile carried a high human toll as well, as according to a new study the state could have prevented thousands of new infections and even deaths among frontline workers.
Proposition 22 is meant to give drivers more protections while allowing Uber to still minimize labor costs, but researchers at the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that the measure would only guarantee $5.64 an hour, not the $15.60 an hour that Proposition 22 advocates promise.
A new case study of California’s preparedness aligns with experts’ worst fears about the dangers of a dearth of PPE: More than 17,000 essential workers in the state were estimated to be infected because they didn’t have the proper equipment.
“It was one shocking number after another as I looked at this,” said report co-author William Dow, a professor of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. “Based on these numbers, we should be building a stockpile for the future.”
Researchers at UC Berkeley are urging California legislators to pass a bill that would create a stockpile of face masks and other personal protective equipment in case of future pandemics, saying such a cache would have averted much of the human and economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
Uber and Lyft drivers have lost significant income as ridership has dropped during the pandemic, pushing many to seek relief from unemployment insurance that Uber and Lyft have yet to contribute to.
California’s Assembly Bill 5 went into effect in January. The law stops companies from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors. As California grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the new law has illustrated how critical workplace protections are — particularly for those who are misclassified and treated like independent businesses when they are, in fact, employees.
About 34.5% of workers in the county earned less than $14.35 per hour, or less than $574 a week, according to a survey of 2017 employment data by UC Berkeley’s Labor Center.
“Disasters, including pandemics, are often times when there’s an opening for privatization. Sometimes, the public sector can’t really adapt because it’s required to serve everybody,” says Dr. Hinkley.
As businesses start to reopen, some are turning to technology to figure out how to make workplaces safer. Michelle Quinn reports on the tradeoffs.
An analysis by the UC Berkeley Labor Center released in May indicated that had AB 5 been in place between 2014 and 2019, Uber and Lyft would have paid $413 million just in unemployment insurance.
The pandemic has dramatically raised the stakes in the years-long fight over what protections Lyft, Uber and other gig-economy companies should be required to provide workers.
So an active struggle has to be waged within class organizations to build unity and equality, as Jane McAlevey describes in her account of a hospital strike in Nevada.
For California’s ports – A robust offshore wind industry will revitalize ports in the state with investments to manufacture, assemble, and install wind turbines and towers. The Port of Humboldt Bay has already issued an RFP for an offshore wind terminal and manufacturing facility. Other ports such as Richmond, Stockton and Vallejo could be renovated to support parts of the offshore wind supply chain.
Enrollment could also be lagging because the service industry has been hit hard, and many low-income workers in restaurants, bars or salons were already enrolled in Medi-Cal. “About a quarter who were at risk of losing jobs were already enrolled when the crisis started,” said Laurel Lucia.
This week’s Strike for Black Lives, a massive walk-out action spanning 160 cities and many thousands of workers, according to its organizers, was a shot across the bow. While many of the participants were not actually on strike, we should see it as what union organizer Jane McAlevey calls a structure test—a demonstration of the potential chaos to be caused if this many workers did, in fact, go out on strike.
Additionally, Lyft is not only shortchanging drivers, they’re also stealing from California tax payers to the tune of $413m, according to a recent report from the Berkeley Labor Center. Lyft is continuing to practice a predatory business model that is subsidized by taxpayers and fueled by the exploitation of workers. If Prop 22 is not defeated, this exploitation will be codified into law.
With 2020 half gone, its time for my annual mid-year look at the most significant events in California workers’ comp to date. In a year unlike any other because of changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the top developments must be seen through that lens. But there were others as well.
These huge challenges call for a style of organizing that Jane McAlevey refers to as “whole worker organizing.” It’s about engaging people beyond their roles as employees, tapping into their roles as community members — members of community groups, sporting associations, political parties, congregations, whatever the case may be.
“Right at the same moment that workers are facing greater risk, they are being asked to take cuts. It’s not surprising that you would see a pretty big reaction,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley.
A 2019 report from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center states that algorithmic management introduces new forms of workplace control, where the technological regulation of workers’ performance is granular, scalable, and relentless. There is no slacking off while you are being watched.
UC Berkeley Labor Researcher Ken Jacobs says communities of color have born the brunt of pandemic-related job losses. “The jobs that have gone away during this downturn, are jobs that are also disproportionately workers of color, so that includes jobs like non-food retail, the restaurant industry, entertainment industry, [and] hotels,” he says.
Warehouse workers are more likely to toil in dangerous conditions that put them at greater risk of infection. A recent report from the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, found that, nationwide, Latino and Black workers were far overrepresented in warehouse jobs.
Compliance with the existing law could also pose an economic threat to the companies themselves: University of California, Berkeley researchers estimated that treating independent contractors as employees would have cost Uber and Lyft $400 million in unemployment insurance between 2014 and 2019.
If the app companies get their way, they would never pay a dime into California’s unemployment insurance program, which is already stretched thin as millions who have lost their jobs to COVID-19 fight for coverage. A study by the University of California, Berkeley’s Labor Center found that Uber and Lyft combined have already left a $400 million crater in our state unemployment fund, after stealing five years worth of payments from taxpayers and hardworking families.
Instead, policymakers should focus on traditional approaches that will boost the economy as a whole. Pandemic responses should aim to support businesses and workers—both salaried and non-salaried—alike, addressing inequality through a focus on its root causes and industry-level trends. This last point was captured by Annette Bernhardt, a labor economist at U.C. Berkeley, who found little evidence of “a strong, unambiguous shift toward nonstandard or contingent forms of work—especially in contrast to the dramatic increase in wage inequality.”
First, it showed how few workers make a living wage during normal times. About one in three workers in California—that’s about 5 million people—make less than $600 a week, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center. The current state minimum wage—$13 an hour at larger employers—comes to only $520 a week for full-time workers, and that’s before taxes are taken out from their paychecks.
One estimate from the Berkeley Labor Center estimates Uber and Lyft would have contributed $413 million into California’s unemployment insurance fund between 2014 and 2019 if their workers had been classified as employees. They’d be on the hook for even more money if contractors became employees because they’d be liable for accidents or traffic collisions, for example.
The compensation and benefits the companies would pay under Proposition 22 would fall far short of the costs their drivers must shoulder. The UC Berkeley Labor Center estimated in October that 120% of the California hourly minimum wage of $13 in 2021, or $15.60, would effectively shrink to $5.64 an hour because of provisions in the initiative.
Many workers who will benefit from the wage hikes have continued working through the perils of the pandemic, including retail and grocery workers, as well as those in elder care, according to Ken Jacobs of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
“BLS statistics are just not picking up workers who do independent contracting on the side, for supplemental income in addition to a W-2 job,” says University of California economist Annette Bernhardt PhD., author of “The Gloves-off Economy.” “This is a real significant challenge to understanding what’s going on in the labor market.”
This country is teetering on the brink of becoming a failed state, and climate change remains a profound, nearly existential threat to human civilization. We need to win — and fast. I don’t know how we can do that. However, I think the scholar and organizer Jane McAlevey holds part of the answer.
Misclassification often results in workers being significantly more likely to draw on government-funded income supports to make ends meet, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill in lieu of big business.
New unemployment numbers are out – and they show over 2 million people have filed or applied for some type of assistance. Interview with Steven Pitts.
Jane McAlevey said Musk’s treatment of his workforce was typical of tech companies in Silicon Valley. “He is causing untold problems for his workers. He has stressed them out. They’re saddled by the kind of promises and rushed production that get people hurt, and now he’s doing it again during a pandemic.”
Beyond alleging wage theft, drivers also demanded that Uber and Lyft pay unemployment insurance taxes. According to a report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, Uber and Lyft have evaded paying $410 million in unemployment insurance taxes between 2014 and 2019 by classifying their drivers as independent contractors, who are exempt from traditional unemployment insurance benefits.
Capital & Main caught up with Steven Pitts less than a month before his retirement to talk about the work that has defined his career: understanding the crisis affecting Black workers and how to address it. Pitts has focused on the lack of good jobs, which he says is an underappreciated dimension of that crisis.
I spoke to dozens of health care experts about how technological change would impact the health care industry. The results were, for workers and patients, a warning: without a purposeful push from worker groups and others, technologies like telehealth, autonomous robots, and artificial intelligence will likely erode job quality and, by extension, patient care.
Forty percent of fast food workers live in poverty, and a 2015 study by the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education shows that nearly 52 percent of all fast food workers are dependent upon public assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and child care subsidies.
Ken Jacobs said issues like affordable housing and substantial increases in wages for the lowest-paid workers must be addressed to avoid further displacement. “If we don’t address these problems, the result is more homelessness, greater commutes, and a pushing of low-income people and people of color out of the Bay Area.”
Steven Pitts, a professor at the UC Berkeley Labor Center who has led racial justice discussions for many unions, argued that the behavior of cops is a bigger issue than the presence of their unions within the AFL-CIO.
A study conducted by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education found that Uber and Lyft would have had to pay more than $400 million in the last five years into California’s unemployment insurance fund if their drivers were employees rather than independent contractors.
According to a recent UC Berkeley Labor Center analysis, 48% of black workers in California are now employed in a front-line job deemed “essential.” This category includes food prep workers, personal care aides and material movers.
The story of how Los Angeles teachers’ unions rebuilt their union is the crown-jewel chapter of McAlevey’s newest book, “A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing and the Fight for Democracy.” McAlevey, who is the strike correspondent for The Nation and a senior policy fellow at the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center, is both a coach of today’s labor movement and a chronicler of its key plays.
“Even local governments have played a significant role. For example, in manufacturing and port areas, streets are designed to facilitate the passage of turbine blades and other large parts with street poles that fold flat and with traffic circles that have wide, straight shortcuts through the middle.” That’s a description of wind-freight logistics and infrastructure in Denmark, captured in a report by Robert Collier for the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center.
“If we’re going to make these technologies work for workers rather than harm them, we’re going to have to figure out the question of governance,” said Dr. Annette Bernhardt, director of the Low-Wage Work Program at the University of California, Berkeley. “Workers need to have a direct say over which technologies are used, to which ends, whether it’s through collective bargaining or legislation or new mechanisms we haven’t dreamed of yet.”
A report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, which has been vocal in its belief that drivers should be employees, said that Uber and Lyft would have had to pay $413 million into the state unemployment insurance fund from 2014 to 2019 if their drivers had been employees.
In the wake of nationwide demonstrations protesting police brutality, many large food companies — including at least one which has a history of fighting policies that would benefit employees of color — are now making public statements about racial injustices.
A UC Berkeley Labor Center study last month analyzed the racial makeup of jobs that California officials designated as essential, including those in hospitals, home care, nursing homes, grocery stores, warehouses, meat processing plants, trucking and public transit agencies.
If the ride-sharing companies had been forced to classify drivers as employees instead of independent contractors, they would have owed the state of California $413 million between 2014 and 2019. That’s according to an analysis from the UC Berkeley Labor Center. That money would have been due to California’s Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Additional scrutiny from law enforcement during protests on top of pandemic restrictions serve as a “double whammy” for people of color, said Brenda Muñoz, deputy chair of UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education.
In “A Collective Bargain,” labor organizer and author Jane McAlevey notes that the majority of HCA Healthcare facilities are located in right-to-work states like Tennessee and Florida. “This isn’t an accident,” writes McAlevey. “It’s part of HCA’s strategic plan to operate in states with weaker union laws in order to profit off cheap labor.”
This group of capable organizers, rooted in structure-based organizations in the workplace and in the community, composed of many groups whose leaders and members are overwhelmingly women and people of color, is now attempting the unthinkable: challenging Proposition 13, passed by California voters more than four decades ago.
Ride-hailing companies oppose efforts by drivers to access traditional unemployment benefits from states, which are financed through payroll taxes. Uber and Lyft are contesting a California law intended to classify workers like their drivers as employees, and the state recently sued them in response.
In A Collective Bargain, organizer and author Jane McAlevey notes that the majority of HCA Healthcare facilities are in right-to-work states like Tennessee and Florida. “This isn’t an accident,” writes McAlevey. “It’s part of HCA’s strategic plan to operate in states with weaker union laws in order to profit off cheap labor.”
A recent study found that if the ride-sharing companies had been forced to classify drivers as employees instead of independent contractors, they would have owed the state of California $413 million between 2014 and 2019. That’s according to an analysis by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
If the drivers had been classified as employees, Uber and Lyft would have paid $413 million into California’s unemployment fund between 2014 and 2019, a recent report from UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found. That’s about the same amount of money as California borrowed from the federal government in April to pay a staggering number of unemployment claims.
If the ride-sharing companies had been forced to classify drivers as employees instead of independent contractors, they would have owed the state of California $413 million between 2014 and 2019. That’s according to a new analysis from the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
“There will be deep concern in labor on anything that lets employers off the hook on health and safety,” Ken Jacobs said. “We have already seen in a number of cases — both in the nursing home industry and in the meatpacking industry — what appears to be real negligence on the part of employers. If they are free from any liability from their actions at the same time that workers are forced back to work … that is a very dangerous formula.”
Laurel Lucia, director of the health care program at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, says some people will still face a fine. “I think it’s worth exploring whether a temporary exemption is needed for Californians who have lost coverage due to COVID-related hardship, but are not eligible for one of the existing exemptions,” she said.
A study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center said that Uber and Lyft should owe the state $413 million in unpaid unemployment insurance taxes.
Jane McAlevey, a longtime labor organizer who has written several books about the labor movement, said coaching workers on what to expect from union avoidance firms like Crossroads has become an essential step for organizers. “If you haven’t been inoculating workers about the employer campaign to come, you’re probably going to be in very, very big trouble once the union buster starts.”
The very business model behind social gathering magnets, like restaurants, nightclubs, bars and hotels do not gel with California’s new health standards as they were before the novel coronavirus said Policy Research Specialist Sara Hinkley with the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
“The right wing, the corporate elite understand how strategic nurses are to the labor movement,” said Jane McAlevey, a union organizer, The Nation’s strikes correspondent, and author of A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy. “Hospital administrators try to come off as doing something good, but really they’re just taking public money and hiring union-busting thugs.”
Today is the final day for public comments on the draft plan for implementing AB32, California’s global warming solutions plan, and one area that has still received far less attention than it should is the key role California’s workers must play in restructuring our economy to reduce our carbon footprint.
When it comes to jobs and the economy, not all solutions to the state’s budget shortfall are equal. Most measures designed by well-meaning state leaders to reduce the deficit also will depress employment and economic growth in California. But the magnitude of those impacts will vary significantly – depending on what measures are enacted – and the worst effects can be avoided.
When it comes to jobs and the economy, not all solutions to California’s estimated $20 billion budget shortfall are equal. Most measures designed to reduce the deficit can be expected to depress the state’s economy even further in the short term, but the magnitude of that impact will depend on which cuts are enacted.
We are the authors of an often-cited study about the economic impact of California’s landmark global warming law, AB 32. The law was passed in 2006 to control the state’s greenhouse gas emissions; now some in Sacramento want to see it shelved. And to bolster their case they are misrepresenting our research — despite the facts and over our objections.
With 2.3 million Californians out of work, the California legislature should take care to minimize harm to the State’s economy as it works to close an estimated $20 billion budget gap. When it comes to jobs and the economy, not all budget solutions are equal.
Health reform is reaching an end game. Obama came out strong in his speech today for the first time drawing sharp distinctions between the two parties views on health care reform, and calling for an “up or down vote” on the bill.
Consumer directed health care has been touted as an important means of achieving health cost savings. The theory is that the more people pay out of pocket for health care, the more prudent purchasers they will become. One of the major tools to achieve this has been high deductible health plans with Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
At yesterday’s bi-partisan health summit, Republicans repeatedly called on the Democrats not to use budget reconciliation to finalize the bill. John McCain said that doing so would have “cataclysmic effects“.
As the discussion begins at today’s bi-partisan meeting on health care, it is important to remember the stakes in this debate. Nationally 31 million people are projected to gain health coverage under the President’s proposal.
The House should act quickly and pass the Senate bill as is. They should simultaneously use the budget reconciliation process to deal with the main outstanding financial issues: improving the subsidies for lower income families, amending the excise tax on high cost plans and other changes as needed on the financing of the bill.
The health care proposals under consideration would take an important step towards expanding access to affordable health care for all Americans. The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, in collaboration with NORC and Watson Wyatt, has released a series of reports on the impacts of the proposed bills on California which provide important context for the debate.
Over the last few months, we have heard any number of outrageous claims about the potential impacts of the proposed health care bills (death panels, end to private insurance, etc.). Still, the claim made by Republicans during debate in the house—that the bill would result in a loss of 5.5 million jobs—stands out.
A world-class university needs to represent the interests of all the people of California, including the vast majority of its residents who are working people. On this Labor Day 2009, we should ensure that labor research and education will be maintained and expanded to serve the needs of California and our economic recovery.
When Congress resumes work after Labor Day, the members must act swiftly to pass the Affordable Health Choices Act. Contrary to the misleading attacks, this uniquely American plan represents our best hope for expanding access to affordable coverage. Why? Because the House bill upholds the twin principles of shared risk and shared responsibility. As the legislation moves forward, any changes made should not abandon these two crucial ideals.
As California moves toward a decision on how it will implement AB 32, the state’s landmark “Global Warming Solutions Act,” there is increasing interest in the legislation on the part of labor unions, who want to make sure that the AB 32 implementation plan not only benefits the environment but also benefits California’s economy and workers.
The focus on the gig economy has obscured the more widespread impact of the new law in traditional businesses where workers — like the delivery drivers who sued in 2005 — have been misclassified for years.
Misclassification is a key part of Uber’s elusive path to profitability as the strategy minimizes labor costs and liabilities by increasingly shifting its burden onto workers and taxpayers. This strategy allows Uber and Lyft to dodge paying $413 million in unemployment taxes to California and another $630 million in California wage claims.
If Lyft and Uber had classified their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors as the companies currently do (and would very much like to continue doing), what would they have hypothetically owed to California in unemployment insurance tax? According to an estimate from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, the two companies would have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund over a five-year period had their workers been employees.
A group of early childhood educators with the Halton District School Board, near Toronto, were in the middle of a union drive when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With schools closed and physical distancing rules in effect, workers had to quickly shift gears and experiment with new approaches.
Uber and Lyft would have contributed more than $400 million to California’s unemployment insurance fund since 2014 had they classified hundreds of thousands of drivers as employees instead of independent contractors.
A new report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center finds that Uber and Lyft avoided paying California $413 million in state unemployment insurance (SUI) taxes by misclassifying drivers as independent contractors from 2014 to 2019.
Government jobs played an important role in the building of the black middle class in the U.S. It started after World War I, when blacks began migrating from the rural south to urban areas across the country, said Steven Pitts, associate chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at UC Berkeley.
“I think we will see more people classified as employees over time,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Center for Labor Research and Education at UC Berkeley. “And that is very likely to expand the number who are offered and take coverage. But the situation is definitely fluid.”
Annette Bernhardt is the director of the low wage work program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, and the preeminent researcher on California’s contingent economy. Her recent research has emphasized the diversity of the contingent economy: a relatively small portion of the California workforce in 2016, an estimated 8.5%, who rely on contingent work full-time, and a greater number who use it to supplement incomes.
By 2016, full-time independent contractors constituted 8.5% of California’s workforce, according to estimates in UC Berkeley Labor Center’s in-depth survey of available data. A somewhat higher percentage uses independent contracting for supplemental income, the study suggested.
Jacobs added that it is difficult to determine how many Californians would be affected by AB 5 if it passes, because it’s already a challenge to determine how many are now misclassified by the current standard. Ironically, the very act of incorrectly classifying workers skews the statistics.
Now, another blow comes to the industry in a report from UC Berkley’s Center for Labor Research and Education which found that the workers filling boxes with pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards are struggling with low wages, unaffordable benefits, unpredictable schedules, inconsistent wage increase policies, risk of injuries, and recurrent problems with timely payment.
But the big weeks are rare, and if Hunt gets sick, or injured, or takes a mental-health break, he doesn’t get paid at all. He belongs to the 8.5 percent of California workers whom the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center calls the “unincorporated self-employed.”
Monica’s story holds true for thousands of other families across California for whom a union job has been the main path to the middle class. These stories demonstrate just how important unions have been for increasing economic mobility.
Mantener sindicatos fuertes no solo es un asunto para los miembros sindicales – sino que nos afecta a todos
A new report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the San Francisco International Airport finds that improving wages at U.S. airports is not only an issue for workers’ livelihoods, it is vital for the safety and security of the flying public.
According to data obtained and analyzed by researchers at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center, the answer is that in recent years, a significant share of good, career-track jobs in the construction of renewable energy power plants in Kern County and statewide have in fact gone to low-income residents and people of color.
While an explosion in gig workers is often assumed, clear evidence of it is hard to come by, said a study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center on gig workers in California.
To try to find out, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center published a report last month called “What Do We Know About Gig Work in California?” They sifted through government statistics and recent industry studies, and came away with many more questions than answers.
As they move to dismantle secure pensions for teachers, GOP politicians are starting to argue that eliminating guaranteed pensions is what’s best for teachers. They base this claim on dubious research, sponsored by anti-pension groups, that uses high attrition rates among entering teachers to claim that “most teachers” don’t stay in their jobs long enough to get a decent pension.
California legislators are on the verge of voting whether or not to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program — one of the policies critical to meeting the state’s long-term climate change goals. As they debate the measures, they should be aware of the economic and job impacts of cap and trade in the state’s most environmentally and economically challenged regions.
Much of the automation-driven jobs losses that basic income seeks to remedy may still be decades, if not generations away. In the meantime, it’s important to remember that work will remain the primary source of income for workers and families now and for the foreseeable future. Good jobs still matter.