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Tilly Wins Award From Labor Relations Group

Urban Planning chair Chris Tilly has been named a 2022 Academic Fellow by the Labor and Employee Relations Association (LERA). The award, which recognizes scholars who have made contributions of unusual distinction to the field of labor and employee relations, was given at the association’s annual membership meeting, held virtually from June 3-5. Françoise Carré of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, was also honored with an Academic Fellow award. Tilly and Carré are co-authors of the award-winning 2017 book “Where Bad Jobs Are Better,” which identifies room for improvement in the U.S. retail sector. Citing a rigorous study of working conditions in seven countries, the authors conclude that low wages, unpredictable work schedules and limited opportunities for advancement are not inevitable characteristics of the retail sector. Tilly and Carré also collaborated on a chapter in 2020’s “Creating Good Jobs: An Industry-Based Strategy.” The LERA Academic Fellow awards are given annually to scholars who have served more than 10 years studying disciplines including industrial relations, labor law, economics, human resources, business, sociology, political science and organizational behavior. The nonprofit association also bestows Fellow Awards on practitioners in the labor and employment relations field. A full list of the award winners is available on the LERA site.


 

Tilly on Gap Between Salary Expectations and Reality

A USA Today story about a survey showing that college students expect to make more than $100,000 in their first post-graduation jobs cited Urban Planning chair Chris Tilly, an authority on labor markets and equity. The actual average starting salary for new graduates is $55,260, the story said. But experts say that, in some parts of the country, six-figure incomes are necessary to cover the basic cost of living, which has greatly outpaced the growth of wages and salaries over the last five decades. “The federal minimum wage is, in inflation-adjusted terms, much lower than it was in the early ’70s,” Tilly said. “Wages and salaries have not kept up with housing costs, have not kept up with higher education, tuition costs. And so that sort of disjuncture, that mismatch between the reality of costs and their reality of pay, I think is distorting the way that a lot of young people are looking at the world.”


 

Inhabiting the Night: An Informative Walk Through MacArthur Park

UCLA students and researchers recently organized an exploration of MacArthur Park after dark led by light and nighttime design expert Leni Schwendinger. More than 35 participants traversed a route through the park, listening to her commentary and observing nighttime conditions such as lighting design, infrastructure and social activity. Schwendinger’s NightSeeing programs encourage academics, community members, artists and other interested parties to join in enriching their understanding of light and dark, sparking conversations about sustaining the nighttime conditions within and around Los Angeles. The event was the second in a series presented by the (Un)Common Public Space Group, a collective of UCLA doctoral students that activates public space with and for underrepresented and underserved communities in pursuit of spatial justice. It helped connect public space research at UCLA to the knowledge and perspectives of community-based organizations near MacArthur Park. A pre-walk gathering was hosted by Art Division, a nearby neighborhood organization for young adults in the visual arts. Representatives from the Levitt Pavilion, an outdoor venue in the park that presents accessible live music programming, also joined the walk and provided commentary, as did local resident, arts organizer and historian Carmelo Alvarez. The series is supported by the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and the UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative as multidisciplinary, interactive conversations taking place in the public spaces of the city.

View additional photos in an album on Flickr

MacArthur Park walk


 

Car Access Increases Job Opportunities, Blumenberg Finds

Urban Planning Professor Evelyn Blumenberg was mentioned in a Chicago Magazine article about new approaches to commuting as the suburbs expand and jobs are decentralized. Especially in areas where mass transit is lacking or unreliable and driving is expensive, many commuters are getting creative with bike-share programs and other alternatives to driving. However, many of these alternative transportation programs largely cater to the upper-middle class and leave out low-income residents who need them most. The decentralization of jobs has led to many economic opportunities being located in the suburbs, which are often poorly served by mass transit. This makes job opportunities further out of reach for central-city residents with limited transportation options. Blumenberg found that car-driving residents of the Watts section of Los Angeles have access to an astounding 59 times as many jobs as their neighbors dependent on public transit. 


Blumenberg, King Win Award for Best Planning Article

A paper by Evelyn Blumenberg, director of the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, and urban planning doctoral student Hannah King recently received the 2022 Article of the Year Award by the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA). In “Jobs-Housing Balance Re-Re-Visited,” Blumenberg and King examined the functional balance between housing and employment opportunities in nearly 400 California municipalities. In a reversal of a trend seen in the late 20th century, the state’s workers are now becoming less likely to both live and work in the same city, they found. “These findings affirm trends observed by many Californians in recent years around growing commutes and rising home prices, and will provide insight for those looking to better understand how the job-housing balance within the state has shifted in recent decades,” according to the the journal’s blog. Awarded by the American Planning Association and JAPA, the Article of the Year distinction recognizes work that makes a significant contribution to the literature of the planning profession, has the potential to change the nature of discourse on the given topic, and provides useful insights or implications for planning practice or public policy. Blumenberg, a professor of urban planning, studies transportation and economic outcomes for low-wage workers and the role of planning and policy in addressing transportation disparities. King studies transportation finance, travel behavior and transportation equity.


 

Grad Students Make Career Connections at Spring Fair

UCLA Luskin master’s and doctoral students made connections with potential employers at the 2022 Spring Career Fair, held April 19 in UCLA’s Ackerman Grand Ballroom. Representatives from business, nonprofits, academia, philanthropy, and government agencies at the city, state and federal levels set up tables to greet the Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning students and share information about available opportunities. Seventeen UCLA Luskin alumni were among the recruiters who came to campus to seek out talented and passionate employees and interns. The 100 students in attendance had prepared for the face-to-face networking opportunities by researching the companies and providing their resumes in advance. “We had a great time and were impressed by the number of students who already knew about our office and came specifically to speak with us,” one recruiter said. The fair was one of several career development and leadership training programs offered by UCLA Luskin Career Services.

View photos from the Career Fair on Flickr.

UCLA Luskin Career Fair, Spring 202


 

Pandemic Perpetuates Economic Inequality, Ong Finds

UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge Director Paul Ong spoke to USA Today about the impact of the pandemic on economic mobility and prosperity, particularly within communities of color. According to data from the Census Bureau, economic prospects improved for Americans across racial and ethnic demographics in the second half of the 2010s, but the pandemic halted much of that progress. Economic gains were not spread equally among income classes, and significant financial gaps still exist. “I think overall the economy became much more unequal in terms of, after you account for the business cycle, the distribution of earnings,” Ong said. “So, you have that counterforce working and quite often that increase in inequality takes on a racial dimension.” He also pointed out that the unemployment rate increased for all demographic groups during the pandemic, but the steepest increase in joblessness was experienced by Black and Hispanic workers.


Report Highlights ‘Atmosphere of Fear’ for Asian American Employees

A KQED article featured new research from the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge on the rising incidence of anti-Asian hate crimes. The center collaborated with the California-based coalition Stop AAPI Hate to produce a report based on the findings of a national survey of Asian American and Pacific Islander employees. Those surveyed reported alarmingly high rates of hate incidents at their jobs, in addition to an overwhelming fear of being targeted at work. More than a quarter of the respondents said they experienced a hate incident at work in 2021, and more than 20% said they are reluctant to return to in-person work because they’re afraid they will be racially targeted. “It creates an atmosphere of fear when you go to work and you’re uncertain about what’s going to happen that day because you happen to be Asian American,” said Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge and a co-author of the report.


U.S. Must Step Up and Provide Family Leave, Heymann Says

Professor Jody Heymann joined PBS’ “News Hour” and NPR’s “On Point” to discuss the debate over national paid family leave in the United States. Democrats continue to haggle over a social spending bill, and a proposal to include paid leave remains in limbo. “Nearly the entire world offers paid leave,” with 181 out of 192 countries offering paid sick leave and 185 offering paid maternity leave, said Heymann, distinguished professor of public health, public policy and medicine. “We know that we can afford it,” she said. “It saves money because it makes people healthier,” lowering health care costs. For small businesses unable to bear the full burden of providing paid family leave for all their employees, “that’s what the social insurance system is for, and that’s how most of the world does it,” she said. As for the political forces at play, Heymann added, “Hearing from all Americans about what a difference this would make would be a good place to start.”


Tilly on Newfound American Labor Power

Urban Planning Professor Chris Tilly joined NewsNation Now to discuss the labor strikes going on across the country. “We’ve seen growing inequality in this country since the 1970s, so it makes sense for workers to point that out at a time when they have some leverage to do so,” Tilly said. The gap between the CEO and the worker has consistently grown in recent decades. Tilly explained that the power of unions depends on labor shortages and the supply chain, and workers now have more power than they have had in years. “That power is real, but we don’t know how long it will last,” he said. “If workers get [paid] more, that will contribute to inflation, but if what that means is that workers are getting a bigger piece of the pie, I would agree that that’s a good thing,” Tilly concluded.