April 2022 Newsletter
Paid labor is how most of us support ourselves and our families; and as a nation of workers, we our scrutinizing our relationship to work. This includes interrogating what we should expect in exchange for our labor, whether that be basic but critical safety precautions and equipment, freedom from harassment, flexibility to work remotely, time off to care for family (or just have fun and recharge) or formal structures to have agency in determining our compensation and work conditions.
We are at a major decision point. Will we ReImagine work in a way that makes it equitable, sustainable and dignified for all workers? Or will we succumb to deeply ingrained narratives that inequities, burnout, workplace harassment and exploitation are inherent features of American life?
Workers across the country have been rising up and courageously organizing for their safety, their family’s needs to survive, and the dignity they deserve. Employers are struggling to fill open positions. Policymakers seek to address our flawed labor market, but the usual levers aren’t resulting in meaningful change.
If it taught us anything, the pandemic revealed how bifurcated our labor market is, with some (disproportionately white) workers having the privilege of being able to work from the relative safety of their homes, while others (predominantly workers of color) do not have that luxury. It also shone a brighter light on the ways that child care, housing, affordable health care, and public transportation are not separate issues from employment. Without access to these basic needs, vast numbers of workers simply can’t make it to work.
To ReImagine work, we need to look more closely at the ways that the current labor market is broken and creating huge inequities. At the same time we need to look at our inadequate social support systems, and find ways to strengthen access to child care, housing and affordable and reasonably short commute times.
To that end, we proudly shared the launch of our new interactive data tool, the State of Bay Area Workers, in our March newsletter. The feedback and responses we received were incredible and we are even more encouraged by the many ways in which this tool has the potential to impact the lives of Bay Area worker, and to ReImagine work in a way that serves us all.
It’s important to us that we hear your thoughts on ways that you are utilizing it and ways that it might be improved. Explore more of this tool on our website, and let us know what you think.