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Worker Institute Blog

Worker with a mask in a restaurant
The Worker Institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to address issues related to confronting systemic inequality and building a fair economy, robust democracy and just society. We will share opinion, analysis, research, data, insights and training from our faculty and staff.

Precarious Work

Gig Companies Can’t Take Everyone for a Ride

Wall Street Journal
42% of food delivery workers say they've been underpaid, according to ILR's Worker Institute and the Workers Justice Project's study cited by The Wall Street Journal in wake of FTC warning to companies about unfair practices.
DoorDash driver
Gig Companies Can’t Take Everyone for a Ride

Chuck Schumer Aims to Deliver Infrastructure Dollars to Help Food Couriers

The City NYC News
Nearly half said they’ve been in a crash while doing a delivery, according to the survey done by the Workers Justice Project and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) rode with a group of Deliveristas in Hamilton Heights, Oct. 13, 2021. Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY
Chuck Schumer Aims to Deliver Infrastructure Dollars to Help Food Couriers

Fed up by pandemic, US food workers launch rare strikes

AP News logo
After decades of watching companies chip away at pay and benefits, food workers sense that they have a rare upper hand in the wake of the pandemic, says Patricia Campos-Medina, the executive director of The Worker Institute at ILR Cornell.
Kellog workers on Strike
Fed up by pandemic, US food workers launch rare strikes

Study explores ‘harrowing’ safety risks mobile app-based delivery workers face

From December through April, researchers from Los Deliveristas Unidos, the Worker’s Justice Project and The Worker Institute at Cornell University surveyed 500 adult couriers from around the city. They found that 49% of the respondents had experienced a crash or some other type of incident.
food delivery worker
Study explores ‘harrowing’ safety risks mobile app-based delivery workers face

New York Passes Sweeping Bills to Improve Conditions for Delivery Workers

The New York Times
A survey of 500 app food delivery workers by the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Workers Justice Project found that 42 percent of workers had experienced being underpaid or not paid at all.
New York City is home to the largest food delivery market in the country. The slate of legislation would set minimum pay for workers and enable them to set limits on how far they are willing to travel.Credit...
New York Passes Sweeping Bills to Improve Conditions for Delivery Workers

A Search for the Delivery Worker in a Viral Hurricane Ida Video

The New Yorker
The Worker’s Justice Project and researchers from Cornell University, the group released a report on the working conditions in the delivery industry in New York, based in part on a survey of five hundred app delivery workers.
The photographer Johnny Miller ​​felt compelled to find the food-delivery worker he’d caught on video and pass on the money his recording made.
A Search for the Delivery Worker in a Viral Hurricane Ida Video

NYC Food Delivery Workers Face Paltry Pay and High Risks, Analysis Shows

The City NYC News
Even with tips, average pay amounted to $12.21 an hour, the report determined. Organizers from the worker advocacy group that conducted the survey along with the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations hope that their findings will prompt government action.
food delivery worker
NYC Food Delivery Workers Face Paltry Pay and High Risks, Analysis Shows

First of its kind industry report shows New York City’s App-based delivery workers experience harsh working conditions

Los Deliveristas / Worker's Justice Project and Cornell ILR’s Worker Institute released a new report titled, “Essential but Unprotected: App-based Food Couriers in New York City.” The report examines the harsh and unregulated working conditions of app-based delivery workers engaged by digital platforms.
Delivery Biker in New York City
First of its kind industry report shows New York City’s App-based delivery workers experience harsh working conditions

Revolt of the Delivery Workers

while DoorDash claims Manhattan workers make $33 per hour, including tips, when you factor in expenses, delivery workers have a base pay of $7.87 per hour, according to a recent study of app-based workers conducted by the Cornell Worker Institute and the Worker’s Justice Project.
Bike delivery worker NYC
Revolt of the Delivery Workers

New York Delivery Drivers Face Low Pay Even as Risks Mount

Bloomberg News
fter accounting for expenses like electric bikes and batteries, the median hourly wage for delivery workers in New York City is $7.94, excluding tips, according to a study conducted by advocacy group Worker’s Justice Project in partnership with Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Delivery biker in New York City in the rain
New York Delivery Drivers Face Low Pay Even as Risks Mount

A strike at Nabisco is testing the power of unions in the pandemic

Quartz logo
“Workers have more power to demand more rights, and unions have more power to demand more from employers like Nabisco,” says Patricia Campos-Medina, the executive director at The Worker Institute at Cornell University.
Oreos
A strike at Nabisco is testing the power of unions in the pandemic

NYC passes new protections for delivery app workers

Marketplace News
Customers are finally realizing that ordering on apps has an impact, “that there’s actually a cost for my cheap food, that there’s actually a cost for my 24-hour delivery,” said Patricia Campos-Medina at Cornell’s Worker Institute. “And workers realized that they had the power to demand more.”
NYC passes new protections for delivery app workers

Today’s special: Angry diners. What’s a restaurant to do?

The Christian Science Monitor news logo
“The fundamental shift and reckoning of the hospitality industry is happening because the pandemic actually changed the perception of those jobs” to something more valued and necessary, says Patricia Campos-Medina, a labor expert at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
Diners eat outside at a restaurant
Today’s special: Angry diners. What’s a restaurant to do?

Laundry workers essential in pandemic but shut out from benefits

A report released this week on the working conditions of retail laundry workers found that many lack knowledge of their workplace rights and have been victims of wage theft, discrimination and unsafe working conditions.
Laundry workers
Laundry workers essential in pandemic but shut out from benefits

Washing for Dignity and Safety on the Job:  Workers in the NJ Retail Laundromat Industry

A new report by the Laundry Workers Center and the Cornell ILR Worker Institute examines the work and socio-economic conditions of workers in the retail laundromat industry in New Jersey.  
Cartoon about wage theft
Washing for Dignity and Safety on the Job:  Workers in the NJ Retail Laundromat Industry

‘WE ALL QUIT’: How America’s Workers Are Taking Back Their Power

VICE logo
"It's an act of protest against abuses and exploitative conditions," said Patricia Campos Medina, executive director of the Worker's Institute at Cornell University. "It’s a sense of empowerment that workers don’t have to tolerate that kind of abuse."
McDonalds hiring $15 an hour
‘WE ALL QUIT’: How America’s Workers Are Taking Back Their Power

Worker Institute hosts an international forum on app-based work

The two-day forum, titled "Platform-Workers Forum: Global Perspectives on Organizing and Policy” was translated simultaneously into English, Spanish, and Hindi. The event was attended by more than 150 participants from 34 countries from across the globe.
Panel in the International App-Based Forum
Worker Institute hosts an international forum on app-based work

Fair and Safe Return to Work: Protecting Workers and Communities during Reopening

On Thursday, August 6, 2020, the Worker Institute at the ILR school and the Restaurant Opportunity Centers of New York hosted a webinar focused on reopening the economy and the workplace.
Worker wish a mask
Fair and Safe Return to Work: Protecting Workers and Communities during Reopening

Fair and Safe Return to Work: Protecting Workers and Communities during Reopening

This webinar will examine the issues that workers and communities are facing as New York City undergoes phase 4 of the reopening of its economy.
person wearing a mask working behind a bar at a restaurant
Fair and Safe Return to Work: Protecting Workers and Communities during Reopening

Strategies for a Worker-Centered Reopening and Recovery

On July 1st the Worker Institute at Cornell University, ILR School convened an online webinar, Strategies for a Worker-Centered Reopening and Recovery, moderated by Juan González, Co-Host, DEMOCRACY NOW!
Worker writing on a whiteboard with a mask.
Strategies for a Worker-Centered Reopening and Recovery

Panel with Policy Makers on Gig Economy held in Albany

The panel discussion titled "Policy Strategies for Protecting Workers in the New Economy" was held on Wednesday, May 15th in the Legislative Office Building, Albany Room Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY.
Panel in Albany on Wage Theft
Panel with Policy Makers on Gig Economy held in Albany

Labor Rights for Marginalized Workers

TS Bambii, a sex worker representative from VOCAL-NY and DecrimNY, spoke about the economic necessity of sex work, and its inherent devaluation and criminalization at the panel “Labor Rights for Marginalized Workers,” hosted by the Worker Institute for Union Days.
Labor Rights for Marginalized Workers

On-Demand Platform Workers Denied Basic Rights

Worker Institute report details gig economy pressures on individuals and makes public policy recommendations.
Delivery Biker in New York City
On-Demand Platform Workers Denied Basic Rights

Discussion on Labor's Response to Non-Traditional Work Arrangements

Join the Worker Institute in Buffalo on November 9th for a discussion about how workers are affected by the “on-demand” or "gig" economy.
Photos of workers and Buffalo NY
Discussion on Labor's Response to Non-Traditional Work Arrangements

Workers’ Rights in the Gig Economy

On April 27th and l 28th, 2018 the Worker Institute at Cornell University hosted a conference titled, “Workers’ Rights in the Gig Economy: Policy and Organizing Responses to Precarious Work.
Erica Smiley Speaks on a Panel with Dawn Gearhart and Daniel Gross at the Gig Economy Conference
Workers’ Rights in the Gig Economy

Workers Rights in the Gig Economy

Responses by workers and their advocates to challenges in the gig economy will be explored in an April 27-28 conference organized by The Worker Institute at Cornell.
Workers Conference
Workers Rights in the Gig Economy

New Solidarity Strategies

Are labor unions the answer to improving conditions for low-wage and “precarious” workers? These are among the questions examined in a book co-edited by ILR Associate Professor of Comparative Employment Relations Virginia Doellgast.
Reconstructing Solidarity
New Solidarity Strategies

App Fights Wage Theft

An ILR School researcher was among the advocates and community leaders who met at the New York City Council’s Rapid Response Lab event on June 15 to discuss criminal justice and immigration reform issues.
Worker Institute at Cornell Research Specialist Legna J. Cabrera and Manuel Castro, executive director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment
App Fights Wage Theft

Fighting Wage Theft

To address these challenges, New York day labor centers in collaboration with The Worker Institute at Cornell ILR, have developed a new tool – a mobile phone application to prevent wage theft and other violations of worker rights.
Fighting Wage Theft

Standing Up for Dignity: Report Reveals Struggles of Women Day Laborers

On August 2, The Worker Institute at Cornell hosted the launch of Standing Up for Dignity: Women Day Laborers in Brooklyn, NY, a report on the working conditions of a uniquely vulnerable and often overlooked workforce.
Standing Up for Dignity: Women Day Laborers in Brooklyn, NY
Standing Up for Dignity: Report Reveals Struggles of Women Day Laborers

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