The Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) is a public service and outreach program of the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Founded in 1964, the Labor Center conducts research and education on issues related to labor and employment. The Labor Center’s curricula and leadership trainings serve to educate a diverse new generation of labor leaders. The Labor Center carries out research on topics such as job quality and workforce development issues, and we work with unions, government, and employers to develop innovative policy perspectives and programs. We also provide an important source of research and information on unions and the changing workforce for students, scholars, policymakers and the public.
A report by Jane McAlevey and Abby Lawlor, illustrates best practices for building the power to win in today’s challenging union climate and features a series of case studies in collective bargaining during the four years under Trump. They cover four key employment sectors: teachers, nurses, hotel workers, and journalists. In each case, workers used high transparency and high participation approaches in contract campaigns to build worker power. Each victory points a path to raising workers’ expectations of what is possible to win at the negotiations table today.
In California, the question of whether and under what conditions labor standards requirements should be included in housing bills typically hinges on the issue of how much it would add to the cost of the project. However, one important aspect of cost has so far not been considered: the cost to the public safety net resulting from low-road employment practices common in residential construction. Our analysis calculates the cost of utilization of the five major means-tested safety net programs by California construction workers and their families. We find almost half of families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net program.
The Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, AB 257, would create a Fast Food Sector Council charged with establishing industry-wide minimum standards on wages, working conditions, and training in the industry. If the council raises the wage floor for fast-food workers and reduces wage theft it would create savings to the state budget through decreased utilization of state safety net programs as well as increased tax revenue.