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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and public health orders open up additional segments of our economy, which workers are at highest risk of workplace exposure to the coronavirus? Recent articles have examined the increased infection risk for workers in hospitalshome carenursing homesgrocery storeswarehousesmeat processing plantstrucking, and public transit. Studies have found that Black and Latino workers are more likely to work in an essential job and less likely to be able to work remotely, leading analysts to hypothesize that greater  workplace exposure might be contributing to higher infection and mortality rates among workers of color. In this UCCS Speakers Series webinar, UC Berkeley Labor Center staff researchers Sarah Thomason and Kuochih Huang examine who is most likely to work in occupations at highest risk for workplace exposure jobs and consider ways that policymakers       might support these workers.

Sarah Thomason is a research and policy associate at the Labor Center, focusing on low-wage work. Before joining the Labor Center, she conducted research for National People’s Action, El Thomason PhotoColegio de México, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Sarah received a Master of Public Policy degree from UC Berkeley in 2013.  Prior to graduate school, Sarah worked as an organizer on economic justice campaigns in Chicago, Yonkers, and New York City.

Kuochih Huang joined the Labor Center’s Low-Wage Work team in July 2020. Originally from Taiwan, Kuochih earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. HeHuang Photo has conducted research for several labor organizations in Taiwan. Prior to graduate school, Kuochih worked as an assistant research fellow in the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), and a journalist covering public policy issues.