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.

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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”

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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.

Origami robots

Original Content

Are you looking for a new way to put pressure on companies? Check out my interview with Eric Shih, founder of Spendrise, on a new way to organize consumers to support your work.

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.

Geeking Out

Automated donut making. Taking “time to make the donuts” to a whole new level.

And while we’re on the beautiful world of robots—how would you feel about an origami robot made out of pig intestine wandering through your stomach to fix a hole?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Remember how McDonald’s got dinged by the Fight for 15 for paying their workers using debit cards, instead of checks? Well check out this new report from ROC, to find out what major restaurant chain has been doing that too, at their workers’ expense.

Great piece by Lauren Smiley that looks at the truth behind Uber’s claims to be protecting drivers from racism and sexism, by refusing to allow in-app tipping.

We don’t always think about how technology affects creative workers—but the way we watch TV now is very definitely affecting TV writers. Is that the next industry that will be “disrupted?”

From Partners

In the “doing God’s work department”—this new website allows you to sign up to get notices anytime a union buster files LM-20s.

Worker center folks—check out this opportunity with OSHA to fund your worker organizing through workplace health & safety training.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

June 5-11 will be Global Sharing Week. Sign up for your local tool library, folks!

Ride-sharing services are excluding the poor & elderly who lack smartphones. If they kill the taxi industry, who will take them places?

In the US, it can seem like Uber is winning the ride-sharing wars hands-down. But Apple just invested in a Chinese ride-sharing company that’s eating Uber’s lunch.

A federal credit union in Vermont just became the first in the nation to create an initiative specifically to invest in coops.

Organizing Theory

*apologies that last week, we had an item referring to a Coop Disco Tech as being organized by Danny Spielberg—it was Danny Spitzberg! Damn you, autocorrect…

“…they spent too much money in an inauthentic way.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Amazon Prime has been rolling out same-day delivery in lots of cities—but it’s been excluding majority-black neighborhoods, in some. This good expose of their data by Bloomberg News has caused them to already expand in New York, Chicago, & Boston.

“Between 2025-2030 the global workforce will decrease by 12 million workers per year.” Are migrant workers the answer to this problem?

“…they spent too much money in an inauthentic way.” You’ve probably already heard that Austin voters sent a clear signal that they want ride-sharing services to be safer, via a ballot initiative held on Saturday, despite spending nearly $9 million on electoral efforts. Here’s one supporter’s analysis of why they failed.

Check out Julia Carrie Wong’s excellent piece on the recent Uber settlement—and driver anger about feelings of being shortchanged.

Organizing Theory

Saket Soni of the National Guestworker Alliance offers some tips for those who are seeking to organize the new day laborers of the digital economy.

Danny Spitzberg, on the Co-Op Disco Tech he and others organized in Oakland on May Day.

Geeking Out

Can voice-altering technology reduce gender and racial bias in tech industry hiring?

I’m REALLY HOPING that I get to walk into a virtual room, as an avatar, and take notes on virtual butcher paper at least once before I retire.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Flattr is partnering with AdBlock to figure out new ways to let users pay for content—especially ad-hating users.

62% of British bosses think that the time has come to institute a 6-hour workday.

Is there a psychological argument in favor of Universal Basic Income?