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The Way We Work Now

I voted for the ballot measure because I thought it’d help drivers like me. Now I’m out of a job.

Photo illustration; source: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The Way We Work Now is a series chronicling how people’s lives and careers have fundamentally changed because of the pandemic.

This anonymous delivery driver, 39, spoke with Mai Tran about being laid off from the grocery store Vons after its parent company, Albertsons, announced it will no longer offer in-house delivery services to customers. The decision comes after California passed Proposition 22, a ballot measure favored by gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft, which now designates drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

All the drivers found out about the layoffs on December 8, when we got an…

The new film ‘Belly of the Beast’ explores the legacy of forced sterilizations in California’s prison system

“Belly of the Beast.” Photo: Idle Wild Films/PBS Independent Lens

In 2000, Kelli Dillion was 24 years old when she began to feel abdominal pain. An inmate at the Central California Women’s Facility, the world’s largest women’s prison, Dillion was sent to the prison gynecologist for an exam. The doctor suspected she had cancer and booked her for a biopsy. He also asked whether Dillon wanted to have more children. She said yes. Then, he inquired whether she’d agreed to a hysterectomy. Dillion said yes, but only if they found signs of the disease. …


I first filed in April, and I still don’t know if I’ll ever get paid

Photo illustration, source: damircudic/Getty Images

The Way We Work Now is a series chronicling how people’s lives and careers have fundamentally changed because of the pandemic.

Jessica Ellis, 38, lives in California and works in the film industry. She spoke with Izzie Ramirez about being stuck in California’s backlog of unemployment insurance claims, which is growing by nearly 10,000 each day.

My husband and I both work in the film industry. He owns a camera rental company, and I freelance as a coverage analyst and screenwriter. It became evident our jobs were going away for a long time when everything shut down in March. …

Richie Nakano was a ramen star. But that wasn’t enough for Silicon Valley.

Photo illustration; Source: Caroline Hatchett

Richie Nakano’s Hapa Ramen was launched in 2010 on folding tables at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It didn’t take long for his local pop-up to grow into a Bay Area staple. As people lined up for a taste of his gorgeous bowls of fragrant homemade broth — full of noodles, pickles, kimchi, sous vide eggs, pork leg confit — Nakano quickly earned the reputation as one of the area’s most innovative (and hardest-working) chefs. His fame grew not only through Hapa Ramen, but also thanks to Line Cook, his crackling, salacious blog about restaurant life, sustainability, craft…

With Los Angeles recently under siege by wildfires, it’s time for the movie industry to acknowledge our current reality

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

We are in the golden age of entertainment. The #MeToo movement and increased diversity are changing Hollywood for the better. Prestige television and film are delivering hard-hitting stories tackling racism, inequality, and reproductive rights. After dragging their feet, the entertainment industry is officially “woke-ish.”

And it’s not just quality, it’s quantity. In 2018, there were a whopping 495 scripted TV shows, 871 films released in theaters, and an endless stream of superhero movies, live-action remakes, and the always-necessary Fast & Furious spinoff.

Yet there is a glaring omission in the swarming vortex of entertainment — virtually any storyline that addresses…

Great Escape

Azoreans who left their home for California suffer from a special kind of homesickness, saudade. I came to share their feeling.

Illustration by Finn Campbell

It seems impossible now, like trying to remember when I couldn’t read or didn’t have a scar on my shin from that time I toppled off a bicycle, but I had never heard of the Azores Islands when a photographer at the Fresno Bee dropped a picture on my desk of a man plowing a field with two oxen.

In California. In the 21st century.

The man stood on a flat cart. He had a cell phone to his ear. He was gesturing wildly with the other arm as great clouds of dust swirled behind him.

“I love this picture…


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