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Money

4 Myths About the $15 Minimum Wage Debate

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.

The New Yorker

The Fight for Fifteen at an Orlando McDonald’s

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.

Jacobin

John Sweeney Was Our Era’s Most Influential Labor Leader

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.

CNN Business

This is one of the fastest growing jobs at Walmart

“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.”

Journalist's Resource

A $15 minimum wage: What the research says

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.

Business Insider

One map shows how much a $15 minimum wage would be worth in every state

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.

Business Insider

Joe Biden’s plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 won’t just help workers: A new study finds that lower wages cost taxpayers over $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.

Yahoo Finance

Biden stimulus plan calls for $15 federal minimum wage

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.

The Atlantic

How the Low Minimum Wage Helps Rich Companies

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.

AARP

10 Steps to Reform and Improve Nursing Homes

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 Guardian

What can Biden do to reverse Trump’s assault on labor rights?

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.”

Vice Motherboard

DoorDash Is Hiking Customer Fees to Pay for a Law It Helped Write

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.

Vice Motherboard

‘Lazy,’ ‘Money-Oriented,’ ‘Single Mother’: How Union-Busting Firms Compile Dossiers on Employees

“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.

Capitol Weekly

Proposition 22: California’s new labor landscape

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.

CNN Business

These 20 states will raise their minimum wage by January 1

“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.”

California Department of Industrial Relations

California Worker Safety Concerns Intensify During the Holiday Season Due to Increased Demand for Products and Services

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.

KRON 4

Berkeley study shows virus risk in workplace

About two-thirds of California workers will be within arm’s length of their colleagues and customers when the economy reopens fully after the pandemic, University of California at Berkeley researchers discovered.

Zócalo Public Square

Can Society Afford to Hail a Ride in a Post-Prop 22 World?

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.

Los Angeles Times

Coronavirus Today: The toll on Latino neighborhoods

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.

Marketplace

Gig workers weigh in on Prop 22 passing

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.

CounterPunch

Yes, the Left Should Talk to Trump Supporters

“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

In These Times

Millions of U.S Workers for Walmart, McDonald’s and Other Corporate Giants Rely on Food Stamps and Medicaid

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.

Jacobin

The Class War at Walmart

The GAO’s conclusions add to an existing body of research showing the extent to which profitable companies paying low wages are effectively subsidized by the federal government to the tune of billions and billions of dollars.

Artvoice

Fighting Covid by Empowering Workers

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.”

New York Times

What Happened in California Is a Cautionary Tale for Us All

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.

Quartz

How far will Uber take its new legal framework for gig labor?

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.

Sacramento Bee

California’s gig worker initiative blew a giant hole in its landmark labor law. What’s left?

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.

Vice

Biden Promised to Reclassify Gig Workers. But How Will He Actually Do it?

“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.”

Wired

Who’s Still Covered by California’s Gig Worker Law?

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

The Nation

Can American Labor Survive Prop 22?

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.

CalMatters

What’s at stake for California if Obamacare is overturned, explained

“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.”

Personnel Today

California votes to preserve Uber and Lyft drivers’ gig status

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.

Salon

Why Proposition 22’s victory in California is a major setback for American labor

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.

CBS MoneyWatch

Future of gig workers could hinge on California ballot vote

“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.

Santa Barbara News-Press

Rally reveals Proposition 22 inequities

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.

Capital & Main

Even Before COVID, Pennsylvania’s Wage Growth Slowed Under Trump

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

The Conversation

Gig worker employment fights like those in California pit flexibility against a livable wage – but ‘platform cooperatives’ could ensure workers get both

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.

Forbes

Uber Drivers In California Sue To Stop Pro-Proposition 22 Messages Aimed At Drivers

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.

The New Yorker

Gig Work on the Ballot in California

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

Salon

Robert Reich on how to stop Uber’s corporate power grab

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.

New Europe

Latest election stunt proves Uber and Lyft are their own worst political enemies

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.

The Hill

Will voters side with the continued exploitation of gig workers?

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.

California Healthline

COVID Crackdowns at Work Have Saved Black and Latino Lives, LA Officials Say

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.

KCRW

Election 2020: How Prop 22 would affect rideshare and other app-based drivers

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.

Nonprofit Quarterly

California Vote Could Alter the Future of the Gig Economy

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).

Los Angeles Magazine

MADD Shows Support for Rideshare Corporation-Backed Prop 22

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.

The Week

Uber is attempting to colonize the California government

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.

New York Times

Customers Still Like to Shop in Person, Even if They Get Only to the Curb

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.”

Voice of America

COVID-19 Stokes Demand for Temperature Check Technologies

“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.”

SFist

Uber and Lyft’s Prop 22 Only Up By 3 Points in Poll, Despite $186 Million War Chest

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.

CalMatters

What to know about gig worker pay before voting on Prop. 22

“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.”

The American Prospect

How Uber and Lyft Are Buying Labor Laws

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.

Sacramento Bee

California wants to wind down its gas and oil industry. What does it mean for jobs?

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.

TechEquity Collaborative

Prop 22: What You Need to Know

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.

The New Republic

The Forgotten Feminists of the Backlash Decade

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.

The Guardian

Walmart cuts workers’ hours but increases workload as sales rise amid pandemic

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.

Los Angeles Times

Column: State and local budgets face a pandemic-related meltdown. Why won’t Republicans help?

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.

Capital & Main

Racial Justice Activists Split Over Proposition 22

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.

Inland Empire Community News

Envisioning a sustainable logistics system

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.

One Zero

Uber and Lyft’s California Proposal Is a Mishmash of Old Ideas for Fixing the Gig Economy

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.

48hills

Uber drivers protest billboard campaign

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.

openDemocracy

We lost because we weren’t big enough

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.

La Opinión

Cómo apoyar a las familias, mientras la economía se levanta

“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.

Retail Dive

Turbulence, tech and the retail worker

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.

Los Angeles Times

Clean energy jobs are coming. Here’s how to make sure they’re good jobs

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?

WEHOville

WeHo Chamber Opposes County Plan to Have Workers Monitor COVID-19 Compliance

“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.”

The Cut

Are Uber and Lyft Shutting Down in California?

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.

Cheddar

Combating A PPE Shortage With National Stockpile

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.

Personnel Today

Uber and Lyft may halt services in California

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.

The American Prospect

Kamala Harris’s Uber Test

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.

KPFA

Workers and the COVID-19 Recession

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.

Capital & Main

Gear and Garments: California Awaits the Next Pandemic

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.

Daily Californian

UC Berkeley researchers recommend creation of CA personal protective equipment stockpile for future

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.

CalMatters

California’s lack of protective gear cost lives, study finds

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.

Refinery29

Uber Might Briefly Shut Down In California After Court Rules That Drivers Are Employees

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.

Commentary by Ken Jacobs in San Francisco Chronicle

Pandemic underscores need for California’s gig worker law

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.

REVE

California offshore wind power auction could begin in 2021

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.

The Progressive

U.S. Capitalism Is in Total Meltdown

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.

ValueWalk

Drivers Protesting Lyft’s Decision To Sell PPE & Prop 22

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.

Jacobin

Organizing Rank-and-File Academics in Australia’s Universities

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.

VentureBeat

Work-at-home AI surveillance is a move in the wrong direction

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.

Modesto Bee

CA voters must stop app-company scheme to profit at workers’ expense

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.

World Politics Review

The Sharing Economy Will Survive the Pandemic. Is That a Good Thing?

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.”

Sacramento News & Review

Weekly Check: The $600 federal unemployment bonus is about to end, but it has highlighted inequality in America

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.

San Francisco Examiner

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash bring their battle against AB5 to November ballot

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.

Forbes

No Stimulus Check? Four Reasons Economists Ignore Freelancers

“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.”

The Diamondback

Where does the American left go from here?

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.

48hills

Uber, Lyft drivers take message to CEO’s house

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

Confronting the Black Labor Crisis

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.

Commentary by Adam Seth Litwin in The Hill

Let COVID show us how health care can best harness new technologies

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.

LAist

Unemployment Is Hitting LA’s Black Neighborhoods Hard

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 New Yorker

Jane McAlevey’s Vision for the Future of American Labor

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.

Offshore Engineer

Freight Planning… What About Offshore Wind…?

“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.

Truthout

Worker Surveillance Is on the Rise, and Has Its Roots in Centuries of Racism

“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.”

24/7 Wall St.

Adjusted Financial Guidance Lifts Lyft Stock

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.

Facing South

North Carolina nurses stand on the brink of a historic labor victory

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.”

The Nation

We Really Need to Tax the Rich

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.

Labor Notes

North Carolina Nurses Seek Their First Union

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.”

24/7 Wall St.

How California Voters Could Decide Future of Lyft Stock

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.

CalMatters

Labor vs. Uber, Lyft on Nov. ballot

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.

24/7 Wall St.

California Employee Ruling Could Hit Lyft Stock Hard

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.

The Hill

Unions worry Congress is one step closer to a liability shield

“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.”

The Intercept

Columbia Sportswear Sought to Crush a Warehouse Union Drive as the Pandemic Approached

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.”

Commentary by Ken Jacobs in Berkeley Blog

There are economic consequences to budget cuts

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.

Commentary by Ken Jacobsand T. William Lester in SFGate

Deficit reduction isn’t one size fits all

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.

Commentary by Carol Zabinand Dave Graham-Squire in Los Angeles Times

A green jobs generator

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.

Commentary by Ken Jacobs in Berkeley Blog

The end game on health reform

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.

Commentary by Ken Jacobs in Berkeley Blog

Do Health Savings Accounts Lower Costs?

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).

Commentary by Ken Jacobs in Berkeley Blog

Pass the bill

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.

Commentary by Ken Jacobs in Berkeley Blog

A step forward

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.

Commentary by Ken Jacobs in Berkeley Blog

Health Reform and Jobs

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.

Commentary by Ken Jacobsand Kent Wong in The Mercury News

California needs labor research and education

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.

Commentary by Jacob Hackerand Ken Jacobs in SFGate

Health care reform: Shared risk, responsibility

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.

Commentary by Andrea Buffa in California Progress Report

California Labor Unions Support Global Warming Solutions: Green Jobs Seen as Future

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.

Vice

Uber and Lyft Drivers Organize Caravan Outside Uber HQ

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.

Gizmodo

Guess How Much Uber and Lyft Would Owe California If Drivers Were Employees? Try $413 Million

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.

Labor Notes

Ontario Early Childhood Educators Unionize during Pandemic

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.

Forbes

Ma Joad’s Heirs–And the Battle Today Over Independent Contractors

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.

The American Prospect

New Legislation Aims to Clarify Who Is an Employee

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.

The Lempert Report

Another Knife In The Back Of The Meal-Kit Business

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.

The American Prospect

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Gig Economy

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.

Commentary by Nari Rhee in Los Angeles Times

If someone tells you your kid’s teacher would be better off with a 401(k) than a pension, don’t believe it

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.

Commentary by Ethan N. Elkind, Betony Jonesand F. Noel Perry in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Cap-and-trade system an economic net positive for Inland Empire

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.

Commentary by Saru Jayaraman in Huffington Post

The Politics on Your Plate at Olive Garden

Darden Restaurants, owner of multiple restaurant chains including Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, is a leading corporate lobbying powerhouse in its industry. Darden has played a prominent role in opposition to minimum wage increases and earned sick leave policies, and in supporting politics that impact food sustainability and customer health.