IRLE Publications

UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment publications can also be found at eScholarship® which provides scholarly publishing and repository services that enable departments, research units, publishing programs, and individual scholars associated with the University of California to have direct control over the creation and dissemination of the full range of their scholarship. Learn more here.

More than half of college students must work, many in low-wage jobs, in order to pay the high costs of college tuition and living expenses (Ángeles et al. 2020). Now more than ever, workers and learners are feeling the impact of rising inflation, the lack of institutional financial support, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges of working to pay their bills while keeping up with the demands of school to create a better future.

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Media Inquires: Marcos Ruiz Rojas,

Nationwide, almost one in two of full-time undergraduate students are employed. This qualitative study investigates how 69 workers and learners, who were full-time students in a Los Angeles County public college or university and who had a job, leveraged the wealth of knowledge and resources embedded in their familial and peer networks to strategically manage the demands of school and work.

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Media Inquiries: Citlalli Chávez-Nava,

Current studies on the impact of politics on personal well-being have often come from the perspective of constituents. However, recent news headlines have made clear the need for additional research on the role of mental health and mindfulness for public servants. We argue that in order to practice sustainability and be more effective and compassionate public servants, our leaders need more tools to withstand the many stressors of holding elected office.

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Media Inquiries: Emily Jo Wharry,

Transforming Car Wash Worker Rights: An Analysis of California’s Car Wash Worker Law

Katherine Sánchez, Lily Cain, Sonita Tan, Anahí Cruz

August 1, 2022

Labor Law, Publications, Report

This reports provides a comprehensive analysis of California's Car Wash Worker Law consisting of a combination of quantitative data analysis of wage claim filings and qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with car washers, labor law attorneys, Deputy Labor Commissioners and industry stakeholders conducted between January and March 2022. Six major findings and four policy options highlight the need for increased personnel in the Labor Commissioner's Office as well as more punitive measures to prevent wage theft.

For the past five years, the UCLA Labor Studies Program has offered a course for students involved with the work for social justice, entitled Spirituality, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion and Social Justice Activism. In this course, students learn about the role of spirituality and mindfulness practice in the work of non-violence and social justice. With grant support from the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute, the UCLA Labor Center conducted a survey of students who had enrolled in the course, and analyzed how the course teachings were continuing to benefit them today.

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Media Inquiries: Citlalli Chávez-Nava, 310-562-0943,

Empowering Workers and Learners through a Combined Participatory Action Research and Research Justice Approach

Sophia L. Ángeles, Michele J. Wong, Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Preeti Sharma

February 8, 2022

Education, Young Workers, Article

This article focuses on the mechanisms created to intentionally include and allow for the full participation of workers and learners throughout the research process, which is consistent with the core components of more critical community-engaged scholarship (e.g., real-life social problems are defined, investigated, and addressed with or by the community.

Time Theft in the Los Angeles Retail Sector: The Need for New Labor Standards and a Fair Workweek

Preeti Sharma, Lina Stepick, Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Saba Waheed

August 16, 2021

Economic Justice, Labor Law, Journal

This study analyzes the concept of time theft and the lack of protections for the stability of workers’ time, and thus their income, and provides insights into efforts to protect workers’ time and social well-being through burgeoning workers’ movements.

A Path to Prosperity: The Macroeconomic Benefits of Four Immigrant Regularization Scenarios

Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, Sherman Robinson, Ph.D., Marcelo Pleitez, Kassandra Hernández, Rodrigo Domínguez-Villegas, Abel Valenzuela Jr.

March 23, 2021

Civil Rights, Labor Law, The Future of Work, Working Class History, Brief

The estimates of the economic gains of an inclusive immigration reform we present here are conservative and focus on the regularization of immigrant workers who currently reside in the United States; however, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and other legislative proposals would also provide a path for increased legal immigration, which would also improve economic efficiency and result in higher GDP growth, tax revenues, job creation, and international remittances. Therefore, a more complete estimate of the economic impact of the U.S. Citizenship Act would account for increased legal immigration. This increased immigration could produce additional GDP gains of $957 billion over 10 years (assuming the arrival of 700,000 authorized immigrants per year). Remittances to Mexico and Central America are estimated to produce a total flow of $1.2 trillion, resulting in increased U.S. exports to the region as well as increased savings which can be used to address root causes of outmigration as called for in the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. However, we do not address remittances or projected flows of new migration in this brief.

Organizing Informal Workers to Win: Lessons from Informal Domestic and Construction Workers in Six Countries


March 22, 2021

Global Research, Publications, Report

This report examines the state informal workers organizing in the domestic and construction sectors in China, India, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, and the United States. The study found that regardless of the sector or nation, by banding together, informal workers have been successful in expanding their rights and building power.

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Media Inquiries: Citlalli Chávez-Nava, 310-562-0943,

Hollywood Diversity Report Part 2

Dr. Darnell Hunt and Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón

October 22, 2020

Publications, Report

The report tracked film and television diversity data since 2014, making the study the most comprehensive record of the industry’s progress on diversity hiring.