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Building a future that works for working families

The California Future of Workers Summit brings together workers, organizers, policymakers, labor leaders, scholars and advocates to discuss worker-centered strategies and solutions in the statewide future of work debate.

Together, participants will explore and envision new ways to respond to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The Summit will feature:

  • Breakout sessions focused on topics such as: state and local policy solutions; data,algorithms, and surveillance in the workplace; racial, gender, and immigration justice; high-road training partnerships; labor standards enforcement; and more.
  • The latest findings from researchers providing an in-depth look at rapidly-changing industries such as trucking and logistics.
  • Discussions of organizing campaigns to lift up worker voice and power building strategies in a rapidly changing world of work.

The Future of Workers California Summit

February 11, 2020
9:00am-5:30pm Program
5:30-7pm Reception

Sacramento, California
Holiday Inn Downtown - Arena
300 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Registration closed Feb 4. To inquire about available space, please contact priscilla@wpusa.org.

Special Guests

Julie Su

Julie Su

California Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development

Julie A. Su is the Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Su in January of 2019 to serve as his cabinet advisor on labor issues and employment programs for workers and businesses throughout California.

Su is a nationally recognized expert on workers’ rights and civil rights who has dedicated her distinguished legal career to advancing justice on behalf of poor and disenfranchised communities, and is a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant.

She served as California Labor Commissioner from 2011 through 2018, and previously was the Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, the nation’s largest non-profit civil rights organization devoted to issues affecting the Asian American community.

Sarita Gupta

Sarita Gupta

Director, Ford Foundation Future of Work(ers) team and former Executive Director, Jobs with Justice

Sarita Gupta is the Director of the Future of Work(ers) Program at the Ford Foundation. She leads the team that oversees Ford’s efforts to actively shape a future of work that puts workers and their well-being at the center.

She has deep expertise in policy advocacy, organizing, and building partnerships across the workers’ rights and care movements, having served as the Executive Director of Jobs With Justice and Co-Director of Caring Across Generations.

She is widely acknowledged as a key leader and strategist in the progressive movement, and is known as a national expert on the economic, labor, and political issues affecting working people.


  • 8:15-9:00

    Registration & Breakfast

  • 9:00-9:45

    Opening Remarks & Keynote

    Opening Remarks by Kathryn Lybarger — President, California Labor Federation and President, AFSCME Local 3299 & Alma Hernandez — Executive Director, SEIU California

    Morning Keynote by Sarita Gupta — Director, Future of Work(ers) program, Ford Foundation

  • 9:45-10:30

    Plenary Panel

    Worker Voices: Shaping the Future of Our Work

    Moderated by Assemblymember Ash Kalra — 27th California Assembly District

    • Samuel Rasheed, Facebook Cafeteria Worker & Member, Unite Here Local 2
    • David Zhang, Member, Chinese Progressive Association
    • Vanessa Bain, Instacart Worker
    • Johnny Gallegos, former UPS Driver & Business Agent, Teamsters Local 287

    Worker leaders will share their experiences in the context of low wage work and eroding job quality, responses to the introduction of new technologies, and innovative approaches to organizing in campaigns that advance a worker-centered vision for the future of work.

  • 10:30-10:45


  • 10:45-12:15

    Breakout 1

    Click the session title for more info:

    Data, Algorithms & Surveillance in the Workplace

    Moderator: Annette Bernhardt, Director, Low-Wage Work Program, UC Berkeley Labor Center

    • Aisha Satterwaite, Managing Director, Coworker.org
    • Jim Araby, Strategic Campaigns Director, UFCW Local 5
    • Lisa Kresge, Technology Policy Researcher, UC Berkeley Labor Center
    • Ken Wang, Legislative Policy Associate, California Employment Lawyers Association
    • Devin Ramos, Member, Union Shop Steward, UFCW Local 5

    This session will feature new research on employers’ use of workers’ data, algorithms, and surveillance in the workplace. Join panelists to gain a better understanding of data collection strategies and key technologies.

    In addition to providing concrete examples of technologies and their implications for workers in low-wage industries, this panel will highlight emerging organizing, collective bargaining, and policy responses to data-driven systems in the workplace.

    Using Enforcement to Build Worker Power

    Moderator: Nayantara Mehta, Strategic Partnerships Director, National Employment Law Project

    • Amber Bauer, Executive Director, UFCW Western States Council
    • Veena Dubal, Associate Professor, UC Hastings School of Law
    • Yardenna Aaron, Executive Director, Maintenance Coorperation Trust Fund

    California is a leader in developing community partnerships between public agencies and worker organizations to address wage theft and other labor violations. AB5 offers new opportunities to tackle misclassification of employees as independent contractors, but will require robust enforcement efforts.

    This session will highlight how worker centers and unions are using enforcement of minimum wage and other labor laws to organize and build worker power and strategies to enforce AB5.

    The Future of Workers in Retail and Food

    Moderator: Saru Jayaraman, President, One Fair Wage; Co-Founder, Restaurant Opportunities United; Director, Food Labor Research Center of UCB

    • Chris Tilly, Director, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
    • David Quezada, Member, UFCW Local 770
    • John Marshall, Senior Capital Markets Economist, UFCW
    • Frank Hobson, Member, United for Respect
    • Andrea Dehlendorf, Co-Executive Director, United for Respect and United for Respect Education Fund

    In this workshop we will discuss how technology is changing jobs in the retail and food sectors, and how workers are confronting these changes and preparing for the future. We will share findings from a new study of technological change in the retail sector and its potential consequences for workers.

    We will also hear from worker organizations about challenges they are facing, and opportunities for organizing and policy change to help retail and food workers build power.

    The Future of Caring Workers

    Moderator: Nari Rhee, Director, Retirement Security Program, UC Berkeley Labor Center

    • Amanda Steele, Deputy Policy Director, SEIU Local 2015
    • Celeste Valle, Member-Provider, SEIU Local 99
    • Beverly Yu, Assistant Legislative Director, United Domestic Workers
    • Aquilina Soriana Versoza, Executive Director, Pilipino Worker Center; Board President, National Domestic Workers Alliciance

    California faces growing demand for care work — including child care, home care, and nursing homes. Despite the proven link between job quality and the quality of care, workers in this sector struggle to survive on low wages, while working families struggle to find and afford quality care.

    In this session, we will discuss future challenges in caregiving work and identify public policy responses that are needed to improve job quality.

    Bargaining Over New Technology

    Moderator: Danielle Mahones, Director, Leadership Development Program, UC Berkeley Labor Center

    • Anand Singh, President, Unite Here Local 2
    • Michael Aidan, Sr., Union Representative/Assistant Executive Director, Engineers and Scientists of CA, IFPTE Local 20
    • Georgette Bradford, Member, SEIU-UHW Executive Committee
    • Ra Criscitiello, Assistant Director, Research Development, SEIU-UHW West

    In this panel, we will discuss different ways that unions have bargained over workplace issues related to technology. We will highlight important models for asserting workers’ rights in relation to technological change, and discuss challenges and limitations that unions have faced.

  • 12:30-1:30

    Lunch & Keynote

    Lunch Keynote by Julie Su — Secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency

  • 1:30-2:30

    Plenary Panel

    Racial, Gender & Immigration Justice in the Future of Workers

    Moderated by Jennifer Ito — Research Director, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity

    • April Verrett, President, SEIU 2015
    • Veronica Lagunas Member, SEIU-USWW
    • Sandra Diaz, Vice President & Political Director, SEIU-USWW
    • Elly Matsumura, California Director, Partnership for Working Families

    An intersectional lens on the Future of Workers, examining the particular challenges to workers due to gender, race and immigration status. Panelists will discuss the specific ways that workers are fighting back against multiple types of discrimination, and investigate roles that the state can play in helping build worker power for all.

  • 2:30-2:45


  • 2:45-4:15

    Breakout 2

    Click the session title for more info:

    The Future of Warehouse Workers

    Moderator: Sheheryar Kaoosji, Executive Director, Warehouse Worker Resource Center

    • Liz Ortega-Toro Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Alameda Labor Council
    • Beth Gutelius, Associate Director, Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Illinois at Chicago
    • Eric Gillien, Former Amazon worker & Member; Warehouse Worker Resource Center
    • Esau Hernandez, Member, Teamsters Local 439

    This panel will examine current and predicted trends in warehouse workers' lives. It will include perspectives from people working in a California warehouse, as well as presenting new research by Dr. Beth Gutelius of University of Illinois, Chicago about automation in the warehouse and logistics sector.

    Fighting the Monopolies that Oppress Us

    Moderator: Andrea Dehlendorf, Co-Executive Director, United for Respect and United for Respect Education Fund

    • Dania Rajendra, Director, Athena
    • Rosemarie Molina,Organizing Director, LA County Federation of Labor
    • Matthew Kozlo, Member, National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 24

    Corporate concentration of both economic and political power is a reality — and the major obstacle to our ability to win conditions that benefit us as neighbors, workers, and communities. Antimonopoly is one way advocates and activists are tackling corporate concentration head-on.

    Panelists will reflect on what life governed by corporations is like now, how it might worsen, and how we can work together on defeating the dangers big business poses to our democracy and economy.

    Centering Workers in the Future of Transportation and Goods Movement

    Moderator: Elly Matsumura, California Director, Partnership for Working Families

    • Steve Viscelli, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
    • Doug Bloch, Political Director, Teamsters Joint Council 7
    • Madeline Janis, Executive Director, Jobs to Move America
    • Edan Alva, Member, Gig Workers Rising
    • Ben Lunch, Amalgamated Transit Union California Conference Board

    New technologies, public investments and mobility strategies are reshaping our daily lives and the lives of millions of workers in sectors related to transportation, manufacturing and goods movement. A panel of leading experts, labor leaders and workers will explore what these trends mean for working conditions and potential solutions in public policy and worker organizing.

    Strengthening Worker Voice through Labor-Management Partnerships

    Moderator: Carol Zabin, Director, High-Road Training Partnerships Institute, UC Berkeley Labor Center

    • Aida Cardenas, Deputy Director, California Workforce Development Board
    • Rebecca Hanson, Executive Director, SEIU UHW-West & Joint Employer Education Fund
    • John Brauer, California Labor Federation and Transit Works!
    • Victor Uno, International Representative for 9th District, IBEW

    This panel discusses Labor-Management Partnerships and how they have strengthened the voice of workers in industries such as health care, transit, construction and energy, among others and how the state of California is supporting these efforts as models for the workforce development system.

    The panelists highlight how these partnerships have provided a venue alongside collective bargaining agreements to get ahead of changes in their industries, including changes from technological innovations and climate policy; and to foster inclusion of a more diverse workforce.

    Future of Workers & Work Coalition: New Structures for Worker Organizing

    Moderator: Alexandra Suh, Executive Director, KIWA

    • Rocío Ávila, State Policy Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
    • Verónica Lagunas, Member, SEIU-USWW
    • Christian Ramirez, Policy Director, SEIU-USWW
    • Kung Feng, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice San Francisco
    • Nelson Lichtenstein, Distinguished Professor of History; Director, Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy, UC Santa Barbara

    This panel will introduce "Future of Workers and Work," a statewide coalition launched in January 2019 to expand and strengthen the labor movement, protect workers who organize, and raise standards at scale.

    We will discuss initiatives such as crafting municipal standards boards for domestic workers; portable benefits programs as an infrastructure for organizing rideshare drivers; and bringing more workers into our movement through state-mandated outreach programs against sexual harassment in the janitorial industry.

  • 4:30-5:30

    Plenary Panel

    What’s Next: California Policy and the Future of Workers

    Moderated by Ken Jacobs — Chair, UC Berkeley Labor Center

    • Meredith Whittaker, Co-Founder and Co-Director, AI Now
    • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, California State Assembly District 80
    • Betty Yee, California State Controller
    • Lilia Garcia-Brower, California State Labor Comissioner

    A central principle of this summit is that the future of work and workers is not predetermined but will depend on what we do as a state. In this panel we will hear from policymakers and thought leaders about what they see as the next steps for our public institutions in increasing workers' voice and bargaining power and shaping the future for workers in California.

  • 5:30-7:00