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California Workers' Rights: A Manual of Job Rights, Protections and Remedies

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Sam Appeland Jessie HF Hammerling

California’s Climate Investments and High Road Workforce Standards: Gaps and Opportunities for Advancing Workforce Equity

This report presents a current snapshot of the state’s progress in implementing several of the strategies outlined in our 2020 report A Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030. Specifically, we review existing high road standard policies in California, and assess the reach of high road standards across the state’s proposed climate investments in California’s 2022-23 state budget.

Laurel Lucia, Miranda Dietzand Tynan Challenor

What can we afford? Considerations for aligning Office of Health Care Affordability spending target with Californians’ ability to afford increases

The California Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA) will establish statewide and sectoral health care spending targets with the goal of achieving a more sustainable per capita rate of spending growth on health care provided by a range of health care entities. This policy brief will discuss the various economic indicators that can be used in setting the statewide target.

Nari Rhee

Public Pensions Support Race, Class, and Gender Equity in California

This report finds that public pensions play an outsized role in the retirement security of every major demographic group in California, with the strongest impact on women and people of color. It is also a powerful tool for reducing wealth inequality. As private pension coverage declines, public pensions remain a critical bulwark of middle-class retirement security alongside Social Security, particularly for marginalized communities who have been historically shut out of other wealth-building opportunities.

Nari Rhee

Closing the Gap: The Role of Public Pensions in Reducing Retirement Inequality

This study analyzes the impact of defined benefit pensions, especially public pensions, on retirement income security and wealth distribution by race, gender, and educational attainment in the U.S. It serves as a companion report to Closing the Gap fact sheets, which are designed to inform the public about the social equity impact of pensions in each state and the District of Columbia.

Steve Viscelliand Eric Balcom

Ensuring the Supply of Agricultural Truck Drivers: What the State of California Can Do

This report is the first in-depth look at the labor market for agricultural truck drivers in California and the first study of this workforce anywhere in the U.S. in almost 30 years. It found that better efforts in recruiting and training drivers would ease turnover and improve job satisfaction, particularly for agricultural trucking, which is critical to California’s economy but can often be seasonal or require specialized equipment.

Savannah Hunter, Annette Gailliot, Enrique Lopezliraand Ken Jacobs

California Union Membership and Coverage: 2023 Chartbook

Chartbook comparing California union membership and coverage from 2001-2002 and 2021-2022. Findings show that at least half of all of California’s 2.5 million union members are women and that the majority of all union workers are people of color. By contrast, 20 years ago the typical union member in California was a white man.

Laurel Lucia, Enrique Lopezlira, Ken Jacobsand Savannah Hunter

Proposed health care minimum wage increase: State costs would be offset by reduced reliance on the public safety net by health workers and their families

In this brief we estimate the new costs to the state resulting from SB 525 as well as the savings it would generate through reductions in safety net program enrollment of affected workers and their family members.

Savannah Hunter, Vivian Vázquez, Enrique Lopezliraand Ken Jacobs

The state of working East Bay, 2015-2019

This report examines the state of work in the East Bay prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that even before the pandemic, when the economy was strong by conventional economic metrics and had recovered from the Great Recession, many East Bay workers were earning low wages, housing cost-burdened, and struggling to make ends meet, with workers of color in particular making wages too low to support themselves and their families.

Virginia Parksand Ian Baran

Fossil fuel layoff: The economic and employment effects of a refinery closure on workers in the Bay Area

On October 30, 2020, the Marathon oil refinery in Contra Costa County, California, was permanently shut down and 345 unionized workers laid off. The findings in this report focus on these workers’ post-layoff job search, employment status, wages, and financial security. The Marathon refinery’s closure sheds light on the employment and economic impacts of climate change policies and a shrinking fossil fuel industry on fossil fuel workers in the region and more broadly.

Enrique Lopezliraand Ken Jacobs

Proposed health care minimum wage increase: What it would mean for workers, patients, and industry

This report shows that the proposed California Senate Bill No. 525 (SB 525), which would establish a new $25 per hour minimum wage for health care employees, has the potential to substantially improve conditions for low-wage health care workers that provide essential services to the state, ameliorate staffing shortages in the industry, and improve quality of care.

Miranda Dietz, Laurel Lucia, Srikanth Kadiyala, Tynan Challenor, Annie Rak, Yupeng Chen, Menbere Haile, Dylan H. Robyand Gerald F. Kominski

California’s Uninsured in 2024: Medi-Cal expands to all low-income adults, but half a million undocumented Californians lack affordable coverage options

California continues to make remarkable progress in expanding access to health coverage, including by expanding Medi-Cal eligibility for low-income undocumented residents. Yet, we project there will be 520,000 uninsured undocumented residents who earn too much for Medi-Cal and do not have employer coverage. This group remains categorically excluded from enrolling in Covered California and cannot receive federal subsidies to make coverage more affordable.

Aida Farmand, Tynan Challenor, Savannah Hunter, Enrique Lopezliraand Ken Jacobs

State workers struggle to make ends meet throughout California; Women, Black, and Latino workers are disproportionately affected

The California state government has close to a quarter of a million employees, almost half of whom are women and almost two-thirds of whom are workers of color. But across occupations and throughout the state, many state workers earn well below what is needed to attain a decent standard of living in California.

Nari Rhee

Marin Public Pension Series – Brief #3: How public pensions support race and gender equity

This brief analyzes the impact of public sector employment and defined-benefit pensions on race and gender equity in retirement income security in Marin County and California. Public pensions play an outsized role in the retirement security of every racial group, particularly in Black and Latino communities, and pension income provides a critical buffer against economic hardship in old age for all groups, especially women, Black and Latino Californians, and seniors without college degrees.

Nari Rhee

Understanding Public Pensions in Sonoma County

This brief examines pension benefits for public servants in Sonoma County in terms of their role in employee compensation, the evolving financial status of pension systems, the impact of pension reform on costs, and how different pension systems in the county and surrounding Bay Area region stack up against each other in terms of protection from inflation during retirement.

Sara Hinkley

Technology in the public sector and the future of government work

This report explores how governments use technology, what drives technology adoption, and how technologies affect public sector workers and the delivery of public services. Using examples across local, state, and federal governments, the report finds that transparency and accountability have lagged behind rapid technology adoption in the wake of COVID-19, and that public sector workers play a critical role in ensuring that technology is used to strengthen the ability of governments to provide quality and equitable public services.