Industry Research

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

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Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Illinois Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Illinois. We find that 34% of families of construction workers in Illinois are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over half a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Illinois workers, 30% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. The rate at which construction workers lack health insurance (21%) is more than two and a half times the rate for all workers in Illinois (8%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the US Construction Industry

In this paper we look at the use by construction workers and their families in the United States of five means-tested safety net programs. We find that 39% of families of construction workers are enrolled in one or more safety net program at a cost of almost $28 billion per year. In comparison, 31% of all workers have a family member enrolled in a safety net program. Three times as many construction workers as all workers lack health insurance (31% compared to 10%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Connecticut Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Connecticut. We find that 39% of families of construction workers in Connecticut are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over a quarter of a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Connecticut workers, 29% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of construction workers lack health insurance, more than three times the rate for all workers in Connecticut (7%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Pennsylvania Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Pennsylvania. We find that 28% of families of construction workers in Pennsylvania are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $428 million per year. Compared to all Pennsylvania workers, construction workers are more than twice as likely to lack health insurance (7% compared to 16%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Washington Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Washington. We find that 38% of families of construction workers in Washington are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over half a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Washington workers, 32% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. The rate at which construction workers lack health insurance is close to three times the rate for all workers in Washington (22% compared to 8%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Texas Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Texas. We find that almost half—46%—of families of construction workers in Texas are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of almost $2 billion per year. By comparison, among all Texas workers, 31% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Over half (55%) of construction workers in Texas lack health insurance, two and a half times the rate for all workers (20%).

Kuochih Huang, Ken Jacobs, Tia Koonse, Ian Eve Perry, Kevin Riley, Laura Stockand Saba Waheed

The Fast-Food Industry and COVID-19 in Los Angeles

Over the last decade, fast-food restaurants have proliferated in the United States, with the largest increase in Los Angeles County. Fast food is an integral part of the food sector in Los Angeles, comprising nearly 150,000 restaurant workers. This report investigates working conditions in fast food prior to the pandemic, profiles the industry’s demographics and cost to the public, and examines the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.

Chris Benner, Sarah Mason, Françoise Carréand Chris Tilly

Delivering Insecurity: E-commerce and the Future of Work in Food Retail

This report examines trends in food retail in the U.S. preceding and up through the pandemic, assessing how e-commerce is likely to affect workers in the industry in the next 5-10 years. In contrast to widespread fears that technology leads to automation-related job loss, e-commerce is creating jobs, as customers are now paying for tasks that they used to do themselves for free. But for most of these new positions, job quality is a serious concern, and the passage of Proposition 22 in California this fall exacerbates the problem.

Françoise Carré, Chris Tilly, Chris Bennerand Sarah Mason

Change and Uncertainty, Not Apocalypse: Technological Change and Store-Based Retail

In this report, we focus on trends in technology adoption in the retail sector, looking beyond the effects of the current crisis to trace how retailers are using digital technologies in ways that alter the quality and quantity of front-line retail jobs. While we recognize the pandemic’s possible impacts on the retail workplace throughout the report, the bulk of our discussion concerns longstanding trends that appear likely to continue over the next five years or longer.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

RELEASE: Change and Uncertainty, Not Apocalypse: Technological Change and Store-Based Retail

New technologies in the retail sector are likely to mean more monitoring and coercion of workers, and a stronger advantage for large companies like Walmart and Amazon, according to a new report released today from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

RELEASE: Truck Driver Misclassification: Climate, Labor, and Environmental Justice Impacts

New UC Berkeley Report: Stop Truck Driver Misclassification to Meet California’s Climate Goals. Misclassified drivers can’t afford clean trucks; Current Legislation—AB 5 would help make California’s transition to low- and zero-emissions trucks a reality.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

RELEASE: Increased Funding for Early Care and Education Would Boost California’s Economy

As legislators in Sacramento consider proposals to improve early care and education (ECE), a new report by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley shines light on the shortfalls of the current system. It finds that increased public spending on early care and education can provide a substantial boost to California’s economy.