UCLA to Expand its Workplace Justice Programs Thanks to New Annual State Budget Increase

know about UCLA to Expand its Workplace Justice Programs Thanks to New Annual State Budget Increase

University of California at Los Angeles

Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center, speaks during the naming ceremony for the Labor Center building in honor of labor and civil rights icon, the Rev. James Lawson Jr., December 2021.

UCLA scholars dedicated to studying working conditions, eliminating unfair labor practices that disproportionately affect workers of color, and educating the next generation of labor and social justice leaders will be able to increase the reach of their work by share the largest budget in California. increase for the University of California workplaces.

Funds from the state legislature will go to three units at UCLA: the Labor and Employment Research Institute, the Labor Center and the Occupational Safety and Health Labor Program. This breakthrough comes at a crucial time for workers across the state, as class and racial disparities have intensified amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At a time when billionaires are making massive profits during the pandemic, essential workers on the front lines are facing poverty wages,” said Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center. “The expansion of labor and labor studies centers within the University of California will advance research, education and policy that serve workers and promote economic and racial justice.”

California’s 2022-23 budget, signed by Governor Gavin Newson on June 30, includes $13 million to fund labor research, education and public engagement across UC. The appropriation, which will continue in future state budgets, represents the largest budget increase for UC workplaces since its establishment in 1964 and since the establishment of the Research Institute on Labor and Employment in 1946.

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The increased funding will build on UC’s decades-long labor research and education programs that have provided lawmakers, labor and community leaders with policy-relevant research affecting California workers, especially workers in color, immigrants, and low-wage workers. Recent research efforts at UCLA include research on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on temporary workers, fast food workers Y nail salon workers, the creation of a plan to promote economic recovery for black workers and an evaluation of highway workforce development associations throughout the state.

In addition to supporting programs at UCLA, the budget increases funding for the job center and occupational health program at UC Berkeley, and the job center at UC Merced. In addition, the appropriation will fund new job centers at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego.

This funding was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the California Federation of Labor, key labor unions across the state, and elected officials, including California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), and Assemblyman Mike Fong (D-Los Angeles).

“I was proud to champion this effort to grow the incredible work of these centers in our universities. Now more than ever, we need a worker-centric economy in California and a labor policy that serves the interests of workers,” Durazo said.

The funding will also support labor studies programs, student internships with labor and community organizations across the state, and other initiatives to prepare UC students for careers in labor and labor-related institutions.

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“This represents the largest single growth of our units in the history of our field and will leave a lasting mark on workers and efforts to level the playing field, to focus research on policies that improve wages and earnings, and to support studies that improve the workplace. and opportunities for workers that lead to more sustainable and equitable lives,” said Abel Valenzuela Jr., director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. “My colleagues and I couldn’t be more excited and prepared for this incredible opportunity to take advantage of the UCLA and California research, education, and workforce service that we’ve advanced for more than 70 years.”

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