Labor, Employment, Work

Uber, Lyft

A new bill in the California State Assembly could potentially give independent contractors who work for companies like Uber or TaskRabbit the right to collectively bargain over working conditions and wages. Under current law, independent contractors can’t collectively negotiate with their employer. Industry trade groups have rallied against the bill, arguing that federal law does not grant independent contractors collective bargaining rights, and that the legislation will seriously harm businesses that rely on so-called “gig” workers.

woman thinking

A recent New York Times opinion piece claimed that women apologize all the time – even when something is not their fault. It’s known as “tentative” or “indirect” speech, when people – usually women – start their sentences with “I’m sorry” or “If you don’t mind.” Is this something you do? Have you tried to change the way you speak – or do you use it to your advantage? We’ll dig into the nuances of tentative speech… if you don’t mind us doing that.

Anne-Marie Slaughter

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s 2012 piece “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” is one of the most widely-read articles in The Atlantic’s history. In her new book, “Unfinished Business,” Slaughter continues the conversation about work-life balance but with a different approach. This time around Slaughter de-emphasizes gender and instead focuses on policies that promote caregiving. We’ll talk to Slaughter about how the response to her popular article changed her thinking and what she sees as the way forward for working families.

Fish for sale at an Albertson's supermarket.

According to a new Associated Press investigation, workers from Myanmar are being brought to Indonesia under the promises of a job, only to end up enslaved aboard illegal fishing boats. Their catch may be finding its way into the supply chains of major U.S. grocery stores like Safeway and Albertsons. We’ll talk about the humanitarian and environmental impacts of these illegal operations, as well as ways to avoid buying slave-caught seafood.

UPS is already using telematics to track employees.

New wearable devices have been allowing people to track their personal data at all times. Now, it’s also making it easier for employers to collect information on their workers’ productivity. This field of data collection, known as telematics, is projected to be an over $27 billion industry by 2018, and companies like UPS and Coca-Cola are already using it. We look at what the expanding industry means for workplace productivity and for workers’ privacy.


A sex discrimination lawsuit brought by Ellen Pao, a former junior partner of the venture capital giant Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, went to trial in San Francisco this week. Pao, who is now the interim CEO of Reddit, alleges that the firm illegally passed her over for promotion, excluded her from key meetings and retaliated against her when she ended an affair with a colleague. The firm claims poor performance led to her failure to advance. We discuss the trial and gender politics in Silicon Valley.


Nurses get more back and arm injuries than construction workers, yet hospital officials have done little to reduce such injuries, despite knowing how to prevent them. That’s according to an NPR investigation led by correspondent Daniel Zwerdling. He joins us to discuss his findings, how California hospitals are doing and why he calls nursing one of the most dangerous jobs in America.


Twenty years ago California voters approved Proposition 187, which was intended to withhold public education and health services from those in the U.S. illegally. A federal court struck down the measure as unconstitutional, but the proposition is credited with galvanizing a generation of Latino voters. We’ll discuss the lasting impact of Proposition 187 on California politics and the nation’s immigration debate.

Additional Coverage

A Timeline of Prop. 187

A Trader Joe's employee assists a customer.

On-call and part-time employment is on the rise. But some on-call employees complain that unpredictable schedules create burdens when it comes to going to school or finding childcare. That’s prompting some cities like San Francisco to propose new protections for workers, such as extra pay and advance notice of shifts.

Military veterans attend a job fair

In 2008, Congress passed a new GI Bill that, for the first time since World War II, promised to pay the full cost of a college education for veterans. But a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting finds that more than $600 million of that money has been spent on California schools that have graduation rates so low, or loan-default rates so high, that they don’t meet state standards for aid. The report contends that the GI Bill is pouring money into for-profit colleges that often leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects.


In the past three years, state prisons have been releasing an increasing number of those sentenced to life behind bars. Governor Jerry Brown has approved about 80 percent of the parole board’s recommendations for release, angering victims rights groups. What does this change mean for lifers who suddenly find themselves having to adapt to life outside prison walls? And for crime victims?

Oakland Bishop Michael Barber

Because they don’t have tenure, all K-12 teachers in East Bay Catholic private schools are required to sign new contracts each year. But this year’s contract includes a contentious new clause requiring them to conform to Catholic Church teachings in their personal lives. While private schools are legally allowed to impose religious restrictions, some teachers are unhappy with the addition in a diocese where 18 percent of teachers are not Catholic.

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