LWP Fellows

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President Biden’s climate summit and how the world celebrated Earth Day

April 22, 2021

Sky News Climate Show
Anna Jones
Interview 

"Climate adaptation: How to build resilience in a changing world"

Are Targets on emission reductions the right focus or should more attention be given to adapting and giving resources to adapting life to a world that is already experiencing changes in temperatures and climate. Dr. Xi (Sisi) Hu, Program Fellow, LWP,  states, "...

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Opinion: Why Coloradans should be skeptical about gig companies’ promises

January 21, 2021

By Terri Gerstein
The Colorado Sun

In December, Uber’s CEO asked the governors of all 50 states to give the ride-hailing company’s workers priority for the coronavirus vaccine. The company sent a similar letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

It’s a profoundly cynical move. Uber and friends just spent over $200 million on California’s Proposition 22, a successful ballot initiative to exempt themselves from basic employment laws (paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, workplace safety requirements), in exchange for a seriously slender benefits package. 

Uber’s advocacy for vaccine priority reads more than anything like a company seeking replacement parts for its machinery, not caring for its people.... Read more about Opinion: Why Coloradans should be skeptical about gig companies’ promises

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Celine McNicholas

LWP Fellow
Celine McNicholas is EPI’s director of government affairs and labor counsel. An attorney, her current areas of work include a wide range of workers’ rights issues, including labor and employment law, collective bargaining, and union organizing. She was a core member of EPI’s Perkins Project on Worker Rights and Wages Policy Watch, an online resource that tracked federal actions affecting working people and the economy during the first year of the Trump administration. McNicholas continues to monitor and analyze the Trump administration’s labor and employment policies.
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Uber and Lyft could shut down in California this week. It may not help their cause

August 16, 2020

By Sara Ashley O'Brien
CNN Business

The threats from Uber and Lyft to halt their businesses came after a California court ordered them last Monday to reclassify their drivers in the state as employees in 10 days. This reclassification would represent a radical shift for the two businesses. They built up massive fleets of drivers by treating them as independent contractors. That way they were not entitled to benefits like minimum wage, overtime pay, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and paid sick leave.

California is hardly the only legal challenge Uber and Lyft are facing. Massachusetts has a similar law to AB-5 and the attorney general there recently sued the companies over worker misclassification. Decisions in Pennsylvania and New York around unemployment insurance also go against the companies' stance on employment. Last year, the New Jersey Labor Commissioner determined Uber owed $649 million in unpaid unemployment insurance contributions as a result of driver misclassification.

Terri Gerstein of the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program and Economic Policy Institute questioned if the companies may also eventually withdraw from other markets where their business model is similarly in limbo: "What's the long term plan?"... Read more about Uber and Lyft could shut down in California this week. It may not help their cause

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Summer was always a heat and health risk for UPS workers. Then came COVID-19

August 15, 2020

Adiel Kaplan and Lisa Riordan Seville
NBC News

During the summer of coronavirus UPS drivers are working 12 hour shifts delivering a record number of packages in record heat, all while wearing masks.Business has soared for UPS as Americans have turned to home delivery during the pandemic, but employees say heavy workloads, COVID-19 safety measures and sweltering summer heat are pushing them to the limit.

But despite a growing attention to the role of essential workers, advocates said OSHA, which polices workplaces, has failed to protect them.

“It’s unthinkable to me what has been happening with OSHA,” said Terri Gerstein, senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute and director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at Harvard Law School. “They are abdicating their duty to enforce the law.”... Read more about Summer was always a heat and health risk for UPS workers. Then came COVID-19

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Uber Says Gig Workers Are Their Own Bosses — But Courts Disagree

August 11, 2020

WHIZY KIM
Refinery29com

According to some estimates, over 50 million people today may be engaged in some type of gig work. In the side hustle economy, gig work has become a necessity to make ends meet while also providing some flexibility that a typical 9 to 5 wouldn’t. But gig workers are facing an identity crisis now, especially those working for popular app-based companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, or Doordash. Are they their own self-employed bosses, or are they employees?

“When workers are misclassified as independent contractors, it has a lot of serious implications,” says Gerstein. That includes all the protections, which have been especially crucial during the pandemic.... Read more about Uber Says Gig Workers Are Their Own Bosses — But Courts Disagree

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With OSHA as an Employer Advice Columnist, States and Cities Should Protect Workers from COVID-19

August 11, 2020

BY DEBBIE BERKOWITZ & TERRI GERSTEIN
Morning Consult

Given the scope of the current crisis, states and cities can’t completely fill the void left by a nonfunctioning OSHA. But we’ve all seen the charts showing state variations in COVID rates. State and local leadership unquestionably can make a meaningful difference in the health of our communities. Keeping workers safe is one of the most important actions that government leaders can take to stop the spread of the virus — and enable long-term economic recovery. It won’t be easy; politics is complex, and corporate interests will fight tooth and nail against new workplace protections. But people’s lives are in the balance. It would be government malpractice not even to try. 
... Read more about With OSHA as an Employer Advice Columnist, States and Cities Should Protect Workers from COVID-19

Construction Workers and the Gig Economy

Construction Workers and the Gig Economy

April 14, 2020

by Mark Elich
Dissent Magazine

The problem of independent contracting as a business model is more important than ever. While the CARES Act fortunately included independent contractors as recipients of unemployment benefits, food delivery and other gig workers still face unprecedented challenges in the absence of protections from unions or employment laws. There will be life after the pandemic and employers across all industries that suffered financial losses will be looking to cut costs. One of the obvious tactics may well be an uptick in the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Hopefully an alternate vision will emerge, one in which unprotected but indispensable workers will seek a voice through a fight against misclassification, and the growth of unions and other forms of organization.

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How To File For Unemployment If You've Been Affected By Coronavirus Layoffs

March 23, 2020

Monica Torres
HuffPost

What every worker needs to know if they've lost a job because of COVID-19.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the nation, many Americans are losing their jobs as nonessential businesses grind to a halt. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. workers lost their jobs or had their hours cut as of March 14, according to one poll, and that number is expected to grow. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that 3 million jobs will be lost by this summer.... Read more about How To File For Unemployment If You've Been Affected By Coronavirus Layoffs

Shiqi Guo

Shiqi Guo

LWP Fellow
Research on Development Economics and Environmental Economics in China
Shiqi Guo is an LWP Fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School, from September 2019 to May 2020. He is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. He has been working on Development Economics, Behavioral Economics, Environmental Economics, and Political Economy. He has conducted a field experiment in a prison and studies the in-group favoritism among prison inmates. He has also studied the temporal and spatial pattern of the air pollution caused by straw burning fires in China. Currently, he explores the biographies of local Chinese politicians and examines how their policy preferences are shaped by their life experiences.

Labor and Worklife Program postdoctoral fellow Phillippe Scrimger wins LERA’s Best Dissertation Award

April 18, 2019

Labor and Worklife Program postdoctoral fellow Phillippe Scrimger’s Ph.D dissertation “The Distributive Effects of Trade Unionism: A Look at Income Inequality and Redistribution in Canada’s Provinces” has been named the winner of the Labor and Employment Relations Association’s 2019 Thomas A. Kochan and Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Awards Competition. The Award will be formally presented at the LERA 71st Annual Meeting, June 13-16, 2019 in Cleveland, OH.

Phillippe’s dissertation was completed under adviser Gregor Murray at the University of Montreal’s School...

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