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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment supports faculty and graduate student research on employment and labor topics in a variety of academic disciplines. The Institute also sponsors colloquia, conferences and other public programming, and is home to the undergraduate minor in Labor and Workplace Studies at UCLA. The Institute also includes three sub-units: the UCLA Labor Center, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program, and the Human Resources Round Table.

Cover page of How Can Universities Foster Educational Equityfor Undocumented College Students:Lessons from the University of California

How Can Universities Foster Educational Equityfor Undocumented College Students:Lessons from the University of California

(2019)

Undocumented students face a multitude of barriers when pursuing highereducation. This report examines what universities can do to promote theeducational equity of undocumented students. We focus on the Universityof California system, nine undergraduate educational institutions thathave supportive institutional policies and are located in a state that offersaccess to in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid. Drawing on focusgroups and interviews with 214 undocumented University of Californiaundergraduate students and an original survey with 508 respondents, weoutline how these educational institutions have successfully closed someresource gaps by creating undocumented student programs. We thenexplore four persisting barriers: financial need, academic distraction, mentalhealth, and limited postgraduate preparation. We end by outlining policyrecommendations.

Cover page of The Need for a Better Deal for Workers & Residents in Inland Southern California: A Case Study of QVC Inc.’s 2015 Operating Covenant Agreement with Ontario, California

The Need for a Better Deal for Workers & Residents in Inland Southern California: A Case Study of QVC Inc.’s 2015 Operating Covenant Agreement with Ontario, California

(2018)

Workers and residents in Ontario are not benefiting as much as they could from the city’s economic development projects. Ontario’s politicians have overlooked the community building potential of economic development projects found in other California cities where politicians have engaged residents in negotiations to incorporate community benefit agreements (CBAs) or project labor agreements (PLAs) into public agreements with developers. The model CBAs and PLAs in other California cities that we review show how they involve community stakeholders in on-going monitoring and oversight of the completion and implementation of the economic development project. Here we contrast these “best practices” for economic development as well as Measure JJJ in Los Angeles City with the 2015 operating agreement between the City of Ontario and QVC, Inc., an on-line and shopping channel retailer, regarding its distribution center located in Ontario. That agreement establishes Ontario as the “point of sale” (or location of sale) for QVC goods stored in its Ontario distribution center, allowing the city to collect sales tax revenue when consumers purchase those items. In exchange, the City has agreed to return to QVC an astounding 55% of total sales tax revenue collected, up to $500 million and 60% thereafter, in addition to 60% of sales taxes on QVC’s purchases of goods and equipment. The political process also lacked transparency and inclusivity, which limited the ability of local community stakeholders to be involved in crafting the agreement. This operating agreement is an example of just how little local officials expect from developers and retailers. We argue that this “low road” approach to economic development contributes to the city’s high level of poverty, keeps the city’s tax base low, and fails to capitalize on civic engagement to improve the quality of life for workers and residents.

Cover page of Enforcement Strategies for Empowerment: Models for the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

Enforcement Strategies for Empowerment: Models for the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

(2016)

In 2013, the California Legislature passed and Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 241 which established a bill of rights for domestic workers in the state of California. The enactment of Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (DWBOR) in California is part of the general diffusion of these policies across states. The report surveys DWBORs in U.S. states and Western European countries. Based on a review of the enforcement mechanisms in DWBOR legislation, the report concludes enforcement is vexed because it depends on low-waged workers themselves to initiate complaints without any guarantee of speedy redress and the risk of retaliation against workers. Since the enforcement mechanisms reflect structures of antagonism between domestic workers and their employers, civil organizations and state agencies play an important role in ensuring worker complaints are properly expedited and adjudicated in accordance with state labor standards.

Cover page of Current Challenges to Workers and Unions in Brazil

Current Challenges to Workers and Unions in Brazil

(2016)

Brazil is currently suffering economic stagnation and a political crisis. The economic growth that buoyed Brazil through most of the 2000s has stalled, and the ruling Workers’ Party, which through three presidential terms led Brazil toward relatively worker- and union-friendly policies, is under fierce political attack. These circumstances make it an apt time to evaluate the challenges currently faced by workers and their unions in Brazil. This Brief undertakes that evaluation by placing the current situation in a longer historical context.

Cover page of Wage Inequality and the Liberalization of Industrial Relations in the United States

Wage Inequality and the Liberalization of Industrial Relations in the United States

(2015)

In this brief, I review the impact of wage inequality on total income inequality and how the liberalizing reform of industrial relations is an important driver of economic inequality in the United States. The purpose of the brief is to renew the discussion on how the nature of work explains the rise of income inequality in the United States. At the center of this discussion is the role of occupational polarization in exacerbating income inequality amongst workers. Despite a growing interest in the proliferation of "good" and "bad" jobs, decision-makers are less concerned with developing labor policies aimed at mitigating wage differences within and between sectors. Accordingly, I suggest contemporary labor movements and progressive policy-makers need to advocate for alternative reform measures in reshaping the industrial relations system in the United States. The goal of these alternative reform measures is to mitigate wage inequality through building strategic partnerships between organized labor, employers, and state agencies in key economic sectors and establishing general national frameworks for negotiating collective agreements.

Cover page of The ‘Raise the Wage’ Coalition in Los Angeles: Framing Opportunity Against Corporate Power

The ‘Raise the Wage’ Coalition in Los Angeles: Framing Opportunity Against Corporate Power

(2015)

Over the last six years, the “Raise the Wage” coalition has campaigned for raising the minimum wage and reducing the prevalence of wage-theft in Los Angeles. This campaign was successful with the passage of ordinance #183612 on June 10th, 2015, which set the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2020. More recently, the coalition successfully campaigned for a similar ordinance at the county-level. Despite the success of the “Raise the Wage” coalition in Los Angeles, opponents of these ordinances advanced powerful rhetorical frames of how minimum wage and labor enforcement harms small business. This policy brief examines these frames to better conceptualize possible responses to the counter-mobilization of employers against minimum wage. Additionally, the brief outlines how the coalitions may use this momentum to address other labor issues while offering strategies for similar campaigns across the country.

Cover page of Why the City of Ontario Needs to Raise the Minimum Wage: Earnings Among Warehouse Workers in Inland Southern California

Why the City of Ontario Needs to Raise the Minimum Wage: Earnings Among Warehouse Workers in Inland Southern California

(2015)

The warehouse industry is especially concentrated in the City of Ontario where a regional airport and several major freeways are located. As of 2013, a total of 338 warehouses were located in the city. While most of these warehouses employed less than 250 workers each, ten of them employed 250 or more workers each and several employed at least 1,000. This brief summarizes the results of a recent survey developed by researchers affiliated with University of California, Riverside (UCR) to fill this gap, and to provide a more complete understanding of wages and working conditions among Inland Southern California’s blue-collar warehouse workers.

Cover page of Health Care Needs and Access Among Warehouse Workers in Southern California

Health Care Needs and Access Among Warehouse Workers in Southern California

(2015)

The logistics industry is one of the most important industries contributing to economic development in Inland Southern California, which includes eastern portions of Los Angeles County, and Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The logistics industry employs warehouse workers, truckers, electricians and other trades specialists, supervisors and managers, and other types of workers engaged in moving goods from sites of production to retail stores. This brief summarizes the key findings from a recent survey of warehouse workers administered by UC Riverside researchers that assesses warehouse workers’ wages and benefits, specifically, the availability of health insurance to cover routine and emergency medical expenses.

Cover page of Labor as the Bridge: Bringing Together Low-Wage Workers and Family Child Care Providers to Meet Care Needs

Labor as the Bridge: Bringing Together Low-Wage Workers and Family Child Care Providers to Meet Care Needs

(2015)

Today’s child care system is a patchwork of various public and private local, state and federally-funded programs – one that ultimately leaves low-wage parents and their children with the illusion of choice. California’s more than 33,000 family child care providers have been essential to helping low-wage parents navigate the child care system – and more recently, have come together with these families under the banner of Raising California Together to wake policymakers and the public to the need for new solutions to this crisis of care.1 Bridging the experiences of low-wage parents with those of family child care providers that offer round-the-clock care to working families, often for below minimum wages, we can better understand the role child care and labor policy plays in closing the educational and economic achievement gaps plaguing California’s current and future workforce.

Cover page of From Undocumented to DACAmented: Benefits and Limitations of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, Three Years Following its Announcement

From Undocumented to DACAmented: Benefits and Limitations of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, Three Years Following its Announcement

(2015)

Announced by President Obama in June 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program offers eligible undocumented youth and young adults a reprieve from deportation and temporary work authorization. This study assesses DACA’s impacts on the educational and socioeconomic trajectories and health and wellbeing of young adults in Southern California, comparing DACA recipients with undocumented youth who do not have DACA status. The study took place 2.5 years after DACA’s initiation, with the purpose of exploring the longer-term impacts of the program. Findings suggest that existing policies related to health, education, employment, and immigration may not go far enough in meeting the needs of immigrant youth.