Paid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy
Unfinished Business documents the history and impact of California's paid family leave program, the first of its kind in the United States, which began in 2004. Drawing on original data from fieldwork and surveys of employers, workers, and the larger California adult population, Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum analyze in detail the effect of the state’s landmark paid family leave on employers and workers. They also explore the implications of California’s decade-long experience with paid family leave for the nation, which is engaged in ongoing debate about work-family policies.
Milkman and Appelbaum recount the process by which California workers and their allies built a coalition to win passage of paid family leave in the state legislature, and lay out the lessons for advocates in other states and localities, as well as the nation. Because paid leave enjoys extensive popular support across the political spectrum, campaigns for such laws have an excellent chance of success if some basic preconditions are met. Do paid family leave and similar programs impose significant costs and burdens on employers? Business interests argue that they do and routinely oppose any and all legislative initiatives in this area. Once the program took effect in California, this book shows, large majorities of employers themselves reported that its impact on productivity, profitability, and performance was negligible or positive.
Unfinished Business demonstrates that the California program is well managed and easy to access, but that awareness of its existence remains limited. Moreover, those who need the program’s benefits most urgently—low-wage workers, young workers, immigrants, and disadvantaged minorities—are least likely to know about it. As a result, the long-standing pattern of inequality in access to paid leave has remained largely intact.
Ruth Milkman is Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Academic Director of CUNY's Murphy Labor Institute. She is the author of several books, including the prizewinning Gender at Work and L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement. She is the coauthor of Unfinished Business, editor of Organizing Immigrants, and coeditor of New Labor in New York: Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement, Rebuilding Labor, and Working for Justice, all from Cornell.
New Labor in New York
Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement
This volume comprises thirteen fine-grained case studies of recent campaigns by worker centers and unions to organize the new "precariat" class of workers and to address the crisis facing the labor movement, each of which is based on original research and participant observation.
Working for Justice
The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy
Working for Justice features eleven case studies of recent low-wage worker organizing campaigns in Los Angeles, making the case for a distinctive "L.A. Model" of union and worker center organizing.
Organizing and Organizers in the New Union Movement
"In order to recruit new members on a scale that would be required to significantly rebuild union power, unions must fundamentally alter their internal organizational practices. This means creating more organizer positions on the staff; developing...
The Challenge for Unions in Contemporary California
Recruiting the growing numbers of immigrants into union ranks is imperative for the besieged U.S. labor movement. Nowhere is this task more pressing than in California, where immigrants make up a quarter of the population and hold many of the manual...