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

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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.

Ken Jacobs

Balancing economic development and social welfare in South Africa: The Walmart/Massmart merger

Berkeley Blog post. I was invited to South Africa earlier this month to participate in a Competition Tribunal about a proposed merger of Walmart and South African chain Massmart. Facing falling sales in the U.S., Walmart seeks a stake in emerging African markets, and last September offered $4 billion to purchase a controlling portion of Massmart.

Arindrajit Dube, Ken Jacobs, Dave Graham-Squireand Stephanie Luce

Living Wage Policies and Wal-Mart: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Wal-Mart Workers and Shoppers

This study analyzes what the impact on Wal-Mart workers and shoppers would be if the retailer increased its minimum wage to $10 per hour. It finds that a $10 per hour minimum wage would provide significant, concentrated benefits to Wal-Mart workers, the majority in low-income families, while the costs would be dispersed in small amounts among many consumers across the income spectrum.

Arindrajit Dubeand Ken Jacobs

Impact of Health Benefit Reductions in the Unionized Grocery Sector in California

Using actuarial and membership data, we documented changes in the rates of health care eligibility, enrollment, and coverage, and in workforce turnover and demographics from 2003 to 2006. Based on our survey responses, we compared differences between incumbent workers and new hires with regard to access to and utilization of health care.

Ken Jacobs, Arindrajit Dubeand Felix Su

Declining Health Coverage in the Southern California Grocery Industry

In March 2004, after a four-and-a-half month strike and lockout, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and three major grocery chains signed a contract that significantly restructured health insurance coverage for grocery workers in Southern California. This report describes and analyzes the changes.

Arindrajit Dubeand Steve Wertheim

Wal-Mart and Job Quality—What Do We Know, and Should We Care?

This report addresses a range of issues surrounding worker earnings and health benefits at Wal-Mart stores. Comparing the company’s wages and employee benefits spending against the US retail and grocery sectors as a whole, the authors find that Wal-Mart is significantly below the sector averages on both measures. The research also reveals that the earnings of US retail workers have suffered due to Wal-Mart’s market presence. Finally, the authors consider the possibility of raising Wal-Mart’s employee compensation, and the effects this might have upon the prices of Wal-Mart goods.

Arindrajit Dubeand Ken Jacobs

Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs: Use of Safety Net Programs by Wal-Mart Workers in California

This widely publicized report finds Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits packages for its California workers to be below average as compared to the overall retail sector in California. The authors also find a greater reliance upon public assistance programs among Wal-Mart workers as compared to other California retail workers. Finally, the authors estimate the additional costs to taxpayers of “Wal-Martization”—the adoption of Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits standards by retailers throughout California.

Arindrajit Dubeand Alex Lantsberg

Wage and Health Benefit Restructuring in California’s Grocery Industry: Public Costs and Policy Implications

In this paper, we extrapolate the compensation terms of the new Southern California labor agreement to grocery workers statewide, calculate the resulting impact on workers’ wages and benefits over the life of the contract, and project the fiscal impact on California’s publicly supported health care programs as workers who were once covered by employer based health insurance are forced to rely on the public health system either because of ineligibility for health benefits or the inability to afford insurance.