Domestic Workers and Caregivers in New York State
Recent survey data shows that more than one in eight New Yorkers employs a domestic worker. Working as nannies, homecare providers, and housecleaners, domestic workers provide crucially important services in New York and other parts of the country, and yet many continue to experience low wages and poor working conditions.
This project seeks to better understand the role that employers might play in improving conditions for domestic workers. In 2010, New York became the first state in the country to enact a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. By surveying employers of domestic workers in New York, this project will assess whether employers are implementing key provision of the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and what kinds of interventions might help them to develop fair employment practices.
Day Laborers and Worker Centers Project
Day laborers play a critical role in New York’s economy – and they’re among the first to respond when disaster hits, as seen in the post-Sandy recovery. As a workforce largely made up of immigrants and low-wage workers, day laborers are particularly vulnerable to labor rights violations. A previous national survey of day laborers found that wage-theft is rampant in the industry – with nearly 50% experiencing non-payment of wages over just two months.
The project will conduct a census of day laborers in the NYC metropolitan area to lay the foundations for in-depth research on the conditions of this workforce. New research will be produced to help to deepen understanding of the dynamics of day labor hiring sites and identify issues and needs facing workers and communities at key locations in the region.
Job Creation, Climate Protection and Resilient Communities
As many communities continue to recover from Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and the impacts of climate change intensify, New York State has the opportunity to lead the nation in creating an ambitious and audacious climate jobs program that effectively links job creation and economic development to reducing greenhouse gas pollution. New York can set a precedent for other states, showing how growing inequality, unequal job and wage growth, and the climate crisis can be addressed simultaneously.
The research and education initiative for New York unions, workers’ organizations and their allies will develop policy recommendations that could drastically reduce energy consumption and pollution, strengthen communities and create thousands of good jobs in New York State. These recommendations will put New York firmly on the path to a clean energy economy that works for all New Yorkers.
Labor Leadership Development Pilot for Marginalized Women in the Workforce
Women have long been underrepresented in top leadership roles in the labor movement. And although more women are rising into leadership at unions and worker organizations, many women who are marginalized due to their race, gender identity or immigration status, continue to face barriers to leadership.
This project intends to uplift marginalized women in the workforce through leadership development and skills building fellowships for immigrant, indigenous, transgender, low-wage worker, and formerly incarcerated women who are rising leaders and activists within their organizations. The project will increase the capabilities of women leaders to identify the roots of poverty and criminalization, develop the skills necessary to run strategic campaigns, and foster a multi-racial and cross-sector alliances.
Laborers and Caregiving
Since the Great Recession added to the precarious employment of construction workers, many men in this industry have taken on additional child care responsibilities in their families and then found themselves facing the problems more commonly faced by working mothers: arriving late for work, leaving work early or even turning down job opportunities entirely. Prevalent assumptions about the roles that men play in childcare result in a lack of policies to accommodate their rights to work/family balance, particularly in male-dominated industries.
This project investigates how workers in one construction union balance the demands of caregiving, work/family balance and paid work. Research produced by the project will identify how the gendered lines of household labor and caregiving are being restructured among this sector of the working class and will examine policies that could make male-dominated workplaces more accommodating for workers who play a role in family caregiving.
Strengthening New York’s Emerging Arts and Entertainment Workforce
As New York’s creative economy evolves to keep pace with the rapid growth of digital media and other industry and cultural changes, traditional unions in the world of arts and entertainment face many challenges, especially among younger creative workers. A&E unions recognize a growing need for innovative strategies to represent and advocate for the interests of creative workers in this changing environment..
This research examines the socio-economic and demographic indicators of New York’s arts and entertainment workforce, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of early-career workers trying to succeed in this very challenging and competitive environment. The research generates insights and policy proposals to help unions respond more effectively to changes brought on by technological innovation, a rapidly changing industry, and an increasingly non-union workforce. The research also informed the development of an interactive training curriculum on innovative practices and strategies to assist the unions and other workforce organizations facing these challenges. In addition to the Research Report, the project generated five in-depth case studies detailing challenges and best practices from unions and workers across the A&E workforce.
Research on Unpredictable Scheduling and Workhours
The pervasiveness of unpredictable scheduling and work hours is a challenge to labor standards across the economy, particularly in growing industries like food service and retail. These unscrupulous practices increasingly undermine workers’ ability to make a living wage and sustain an adequate work-life balance.
This project will examine the impact of these trends on the NYS workforce to inform the development of policy, legal and organizational strategies that could address the challenges they posed on workers and their families. Conclusions drawn from this research will be disseminated through public forums and dialogues exploring solutions to this growing trend.
Worker Misclassification in New York State
The widespread misclassification of employees as independent contractors doesn’t just impact worker rights to legal protections. It also deprives New York State of critically needed tax revenue and destabilizes the economy by creating unfair competition for law-abiding businesses.
Drawing on a 2007 Cornell ILR report that estimated the extent of worker misclassification in New York State, this research project will assess changes in misclassification trends since the formation of a state task force and significantly increased enforcement, and examine impacts on workers’ legal protections and the state’s tax revenue. Findings and recommendations will be shared via public forums to help inform policymaking and enforcement strategies.