To what degree has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted “essential” labor, workers and communities in Southern California?
That complicated question was the focus of a multi-disciplinary study conducted by the Community Collaborative, a partnership between the Department of Urban Planning and the Center for Labor Research and Education at UCLA. Since the launch of the Community Collaborative in 2020, graduate students have been spending one or two quarters tackling wide-ranging topics of pressing concern to the City of Los Angeles. For the latest cycle, Local 1521 joined the Collaborative as one of the partnering labor agencies.
Guild President Joanne Waddell, Recording Secretary Mindy Chen, and Organizing Director Chase Golding attended weekly classes and participated in working groups in which discussions touched on such topics as pandemic profiteering and the threat of private equity.
“We had some very robust discussions among labor leaders and seasoned organizers regarding theory and how theory plays out in institutions,” said Golding. “We really enjoyed our participation.”
The Community Collaborative recently released its report, titled “Just Recovery: Identifying Pandemic Profiteers and Imagining Worker-Led Economies."
“In this report faculty can find powerful information painting a picture of regressive spending in LA public education in response to COVID-19,” said Golding. “While government investment increased tremendously, budget and political advocacy work remains to be done in order to ensure that these investments reach workers and students. We hope this report can be a tool for faculty, students, and the community to successfully advocate for the L.A. Community Colleges that we all deserve and that the region is counting on for a just and equitable future.”
Read the report here.