“If you’d like the priorities of movement organizations not to be dictated by the mega-rich, then lead generation is an important function (for the movement).”

Organizing Theory

“If you’d like the priorities of movement organizations not to be dictated by the mega-rich, then lead generation is an important function (for the movement).” Dave Karpf, on what Change.org’s switch to crowdfunding might mean for social justice groups.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Maybe regulating ride-sharing in your city will create opportunities for new kinds of ride-sharing companies to prosper, as it did in Austin.


Reputation, reputation, reputation

OSHA has finalized new rules that require employers to file workplace safety reports online, in order to make incident rates more transparent. Industry, shockingly, opposes this idea.

From Partners

We need to work harder to convince the Clinton campaign to adopt policies around digital work

Last week, the Aspen Institute released a resource guide for those who are promoting portable benefits for the fissured workforce.

Geeking Out

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Pokemon Go, and the good news that it seems to have gotten America’s kids off the couch during summer vacation. Here’s an interesting look at some of the challenges the apps present for non-urban or disabled people (and some thoughts about what that might mean for augmented reality apps in general).

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“My body is not public property, and it’s not someone else’s right to tell me how to live…” Meet the movement for fat acceptance in the workplace (and everywhere).

New research from Pew shows that most Mechanical Turkers are earning less than the minimum wage.

Adidas is building an automated factory to make shoes. What does the threat of robotic factories mean for workers in Asia and the global South?

Alex Rosenblat has been doing academic research on Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers. Here, she shares some of her anecdotal findings.

“It’s not like you need a pimp anymore. You just need a computer.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“It’s not like you need a pimp anymore. You just need a computer.” Is sex work becoming more mainstream, thanks to the internet?

The Rideshare Guy’s Harry Campbell, on some things that Uber could do, besides raising wages, that would help retain drivers.

Researchers from the LSE have concluded that tech employment increasing has basically zero effect on lifting people out of deep poverty.

This is a good look at how the “attractions” of self-employment are forced on people who used to have more stable jobs.

Organizing Theory

Breather CEO talks about how he built his business—definitely some lessons that could carry over for organizers.

From Partners

Freelance writers interested in tech—Shareable is looking for you!

Geeking Out

I’m curious if any HTU readers have experience using Trokt for contract management? h/t to Matt Richards for pointing it out to me.

Tesla has announced an update to their Autopilot, which will allow the car to recognize stop signs and stoplights.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

This might be the most adorable way to share surplus resources ever.

Home-cooked food sharing app Josephine is trying to make its business legal, countering the scorched earth approach that has been adopted by the likes of Uber & Airbnb.

I had a great time at the CommonBound conference this weekend—hoping to be able to share video of at least one of my two panels next week. Great to see so many readers there (and meet some in person)!

Is a tax on tech companies in San Francisco’s future?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

San Francisco supervisors are considering a tax on tech companies, to help deal with the city’s affordable housing crisis.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Uber has adopted new in-app monitoring technology that Lyft considers not ready for prime time, to know when drivers are performing poorly.

Organizing Theory

Can we build algorithms that disrupt the politics of fear and resentment? (Well, I can’t–but someone should!)

The always-interesting Mobilization Lab at Greenpeace surveyed subscribers and organizational contacts to find out what’s going on with campaigning organizations. Read the report here.

From Partners

NELP’s new paper looks at the dangers of the on-demand economy, and posits that its workers should be covered by workers’ comp.

We’re hearing a lot about portable benefits these days—but what does that actually mean? This new paper from the Aspen Institute takes a look (authored by friends o the blog Shelby Clark, David Rolf & Corrie Waterson Bryant).

What’s Going on in the Workforce

The folks over at Campaign Zero have released their analysis of how police union contracts are used to erase the civil rights of citizens who have legitimate complaints about conduct.

The Aspen Institute recently interviewed employers about their practices and intents regarding current hiring of permanent employees versus freelancers. Shocking perhaps only one person who reads this newsletter, employers like permanent workers, but plan to keep using temps and other contingent workers anyway.

Will the C-Suite be more susceptible to automation than previously thought?

The next time you read an AP story about Minor League Baseball, it will have been written by a robot. And speaking of Minor League Baseball, the owners of said League are trying to exempt themselves from wage and hour laws.

Some gig economy companies are trying to create good jobs.

Original Content

Andy Stern, president emeritus of SEIU, on his new book about why it’s time to seriously consider enacting a Universal Basic Income.

Thanks to all our supporters who keep this site going. If you like the original content on this site, please kick in a small contribution ($1/mo?) to help us keep it up and running.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Hank Green, founder of Vlogbrothers (brother of John—you don’t know him? Clearly you’re not up on your YA fiction…) has started a new organization to advocate for people who make video content online, the Internet Creators Guild.

Is the country’s investment in Uber good for Saudi Arabian women?

Harvard wants to know how you manage stress in the workplace (and the demand to stay connected).

Interesting piece on the challenges (and some proposed remedies) for freelancers who work across borders in the EU.

Some gig economy companies are deliberately setting out to create good jobs.

Organizing Theory

Is the “pop-up” union a sign of the onset of gentrification?

From Partners

Gig economy workers usually aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance (unless they have another job). Should they get a jobseekers allowance?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Platform cooperativist Nathan Schneider has a plan to try to mainstream the co-op model—check it out here, and send him some feedback.

“There were three homeless workers at my WalMart.”

Original Content

This week, I interviewed Kristy Milland, a Mechanical Turk worker and crowd working labor activist. Watch here.

Thanks to all our supporters who keep this site going. If you like the original content on this site, please kick in a small contribution ($1/mo?) to help us keep it up and running.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

At its recent convention in Geneva, the ILO released this report on working conditions in the seafood industry (h/t to my colleagues Daniel, Jacob & JJ who contributed).

“There were three homeless workers at my Wal-Mart.” Meet the women of Pico Rivera who are at the heart of the campaign to push Wal-Mart to treat workers more fairly.

Are public sector workers the next group who could be disrupted by technology? Bots could streamline government interactions.

Organizing Theory

“…you realize every day, all day long somebody’s protesting something…” Ricochet on how live streaming video is changing protesting, and giving us context about how constant our protests are happening. (Since I hit 25,000 loops on Vine last night, this one hit home for me.)

From Partners

You know what I bet is really awesome? Austin in July. Head out there, and hit up the Worker Cooperative National Conference, July 29-31.

Labor lawyers! I know you have thoughts about the gig economy (or why else would you be here?)—why not submit a paper to this AALS meeting on “Classifying workers in the gig economy?”

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Cora Lewis interviews Andy Stern about his new book on UBI (look for an HTU interview with Andy soon!).

And speaking of UBI, in the first-ever (but probably not last) national vote, last week the Swiss rejected the idea of instituting a basic income.

Peter Barnes has some thoughts about whether basic income can ever come to the US.

Incubator 1776 has a good overview of the regulatory battles being fought over and about the “sharing” economy.

Geeking Out

Two centuries of US immigration, graphically (and hypnotizingly) depicted.

“Self-driving cars don’t necessarily want the same things older cars want.”

Geeking Out

“Self-driving cars don’t necessarily want the same things that older cars want. They may not even be friends.” Alex Steffen, on why we may be thinking of the wrong thing, when we think about self-driving cars.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Y Combinator has announced some more details on their first basic income pilot experiment—to be run in Oakland, CA.

The EU just put out new rules suggesting that member nations not regulate the on-demand economy too heavily—and that they set standards to determine the difference between “occasional” and “professional capacity” services.

First, WeWork launched apartment living on a coworking-style basis. Now, they’ve opened hotel rooms in their buildings.

This is the first startup I’ve seen that specifically sets out to combine ride-sharing and package delivery, though Uber is now creeping into grocery delivery with a partnership with Walmart.

From Partners

The Sustainable Economies Law Center just put out a reference guide for cities and towns that want to regulate short-term rentals (like AirBnB).

What’s Going on in the Workforce

The Taxi Workers’ Alliance has filed an employment misclassification lawsuit on behalf of 5,000 Uber drivers in NYC.

Science confirms what you always suspected—bosses don’t add meaning to your work, but they can make it more frustrating.

The ILO just put out this survey of income security & working conditions among the crowdsourced workforce (think Mechanical Turk & others who provide online-only tasks). From one worker: “When you work at a real job, you are given time to learn and make mistakes and are given feedback, but in crowd work, the first time you make a mistake…you are rejected and maybe even blocked.”

“Advertising is a system of surveillance now.”

Today in “business models that may make less sense than you think”

IMG_0281

Reputation, reputation, reputation

“Advertising is a system of surveillance now.” That’s especially true when you’re talking about serving up anti-choice ads to pregnant women—which gets creepier when you do it on their phones, while they’re in a Planned Parenthood waiting room.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

There’s a lot of talk about how platform cooperatives could build alternatives to for-shareholder-profit companies. Here, Shareable takes a look at 11 of them, and what they’re up to.

Fortune suggests that, instead of basic income, maybe we should just pay poets for poetry and volunteers for volunteering. (I mean, there’s already that option in the private sector, right? Like, patronage?)

Pew just released a survey about Americans’ use, knowledge & feelings about on-demand economy services. Spoiler alert—most people haven’t used them yet.

Organizing Theory

Interesting concept: here’s Sum of Us’s take on a Style Guide for Progressives.

From Partners

Pennsylvania friends—join me at the Keystone Research Center’s 20th Anniversary Conference on June 8th & 9th, in Harrisburg!

What’s Going on in the Workforce

After Austin voters defeated Uber & Lyft at the polls last month, startup leaders in that city are launching a non-profit ride-sharing app that will comply with the city’s fingerprinting requirements.

In semi-related news, Waze just added ride-sharing to their app, in at least one market.

“We’ve designed an economy that makes it ever more difficult to land in the middle class.” A look at why long-haul trucking isn’t as “good” a job as it once was.

“It depends on which lawsuit you read.” Doesn’t everything, tho? David Dayen, on how Uber describes itself in contradictory ways, in different legal defenses.

Robot of the Week

The self-driving car is not quite at the place that you can turn your attention entirely away from the road. Much to this Tesla owner’s chagrin.

Learn to play Labor Law Bingo

Organizing Theory

The Obama Admin’s new overtime rule inspired Hanna Brooks Olsen to invent Labor Law Bingo—for every time workers win, and bosses say the same dire things.

AirBnB had organizers and a bus, and hosts headed from NYC to Albany to lobby their legislators.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Inspired by the Swiss, Germans have launched a campaign to put Basic Income on the ballot there too.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

The White House just released this report on Big Data, Algorithms and Civil Rights. Conclusion 1: algorithms are not unbiased, unless you deliberately make them so.

From Partners

So, this is my first time being cited in an piece with Guy Standing… feels like good company.

Geeking Out

Sewbo has figured out how to combine stiffened fabric with a robot-assisted sewing machine to produce clothing.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Tesla hired a contractor that used work visas to illegally import workers for jobs US citizens could do. What’s their responsibility?

If you haven’t read the transcript of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s speech last week about the need to adjust our social safety net & labor protections, to respond to the current economy, drop everything and do that.