Don’t shop white supremacy–boycott Amazon on Prime Day!

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Amazon workers in Spain were on strike yesterday and today to disrupt the company’s Prime Day success, while in the US , groups upset about Amazon’s sales of white supremacist merchandise staged actions outside the company’s locations.

Philly newsrooms have joined together in a very interesting year-long reporting project called “Broke in Philly.” Here, one local tv station looks at the phenomenon of side hustles, because people can’t afford to live on just one (and most of them aren’t hustling through apps).

The folks at Coworker.org have put together a how-to talk to your coworkers about human rights issues, if you want to impact your company’s behavior.

Striking Uber drivers in Kenya have forced the company to sign an agreement that they won’t cut fares.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

It’s not easy to be a whistleblower. Here’s a long read from David Dayen about one man’s fight against sexual harassment, inside one of the biggest global banks.

Companies say they’re “powered by AI.” Sometimes, the I isn’t so A.

Uber has laid off all its self-driving car testers.

From Partners

Classism Exposed is running a great series of first-person blog posts, talking about the experience of poverty.

Geeking Out

Tim Berners-Lee (you know, the guy who kind of invented the internet as we know it) is working on a new system to allow us all to actually control our own data—regardless of what platform we’re using it on.

Two Things!

I’ll be on vacation next week, so there won’t be a Hack the Union on Tuesday, July 24.

The week after that, I’ll be at Netroots Nation–ping me, if you want to meet up for coffee or a drink in New Orleans!

TIL that “gavel cake” is a much better google image search than “caveman cake”

Organizing Theory

What can established organizations learn from the start-up efforts of young movements?

If you’re counting on a hashtag to bring attention to your cause, read this analysis of how hashtag hijacking affected #familiesbelongtogether.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

A detailed look at how housing cooperatives work.

Tech coops are upending the paradigm of what building startups can look like.

You may have missed it in the daily churn of news—but tech workers in San Francisco rallied yesterday to call on Salesforce to end their contract with the Customs & Border Patrol.

Geeking Out

I don’t really understand why a robotic frozen yogurt dispenser needs to be gendered, but you do you, robot folks.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“…across the economy, companies have shown a remarkable unwillingness to boost wages, with growth barely keeping pace with inflation even as the unemployment rate has dropped to 4 percent.” So this is what full employment looks like?

Retailers that have experimented with robots are moving away from in-store adoption—but they’ve replaced robots with AI.

Events

Are you a Black feminist? If you are (or you work with one), consider attending this Black Feminist Organizing School.

sexual harassment is a workers’ rights issue

Original Content

Last week, National COSH launched a new network to fight sexual harassment on the job. Read my story about it here, and sign on to join that network 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 ($2/mo?) to help us keep it up and running.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Data & Society has just released a new report, looking at the impact of the gig economy & platform work across domestic work and ride sharing services.

If you need a good example of why worker power matters, check out this article about Amazon’s experiments in employee-mediated grievance process.

There’s a trucker & bus driver shortage brewing, in the US. Maybe we should all be encouraging our Lyft drivers to go to commercial driving school…

And while we’re on the subject of turning what used to be professional driving jobs into contract gigs—here’s a good piece about what it’s like to drive for Amazon Flex.

Geeking Out

A majority of Americans believe that robots will develop the ability to carry out most human activities, over the next 30 years. These ones are already better acrobats than I will ever be.

From Partners

EPI went looking for the missing piece of last month’s Contingent Worker Survey data, by going through tax filings from 2000-2015, and concluded that independent contracting has gone up somewhat, over the past 15 years, but not as a primary source of employment for most people.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Cities are starting to get sued to reveal their Amazon HQ2 bids.

Ride-sharing drivers in New York will now be able to get vision insurance, through the Black Car Fund.

organizing to fight sexual harassment

Earlier this month, I attended the convening launch of National COSH’s new Sexual Harassment Action Network, and heard countless stories of women fighting sexual harassment in a variety of industries. It’s good to see that this issue is finally getting the attention it deserves from the national labor movement, and equally good to see a combination of worker center leaders, legal advocates, and union staff joining together to talk about how to fight the kind of harassment that can make workplaces unwelcoming for those who identify as women or non-binary.

Fighting sexual harassment hasn’t always been a top priority for the entire labor movement. Too many women have been told to grin & bear it, for too long. Too many unions have felt that their legal duty, in cases of member-on-member sexual harassment, has been to defend the harasser not the victim. While unions do have a responsibility to make sure that every member’s due process rights are protected, it is not incumbent on the union to defend from appropriate discipline a member who did something wrong.

Presenters at the convening introduced the concept of victim-centered reporting, and talked about the need to press employers to make sure that their workers were safe. SEIU Justice for Janitors members discussed their fight to pass AB 1978, which puts requirements on cleaning companies to do training to prevent sexual harassment & assault, and showed this moving video about their fast, aimed at pressuring Governor Jerry Brown to sign that bill.

Unite HERE also showcased their work to bargain protections for housekeepers, who are often working alone in rooms with men who are strangers, into all their hotel contracts around the country, as well as to protect servers from sexual harassment at the hands of patrons.

COSH is asking folks who are supportive to take the “Our Turn” Pledge, and to commit to changing the power dynamics that allow harassment to thrive.

Just give 5 stars. Don’t quibble.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Repeat after me: “Any time someone’s boss asks me to rate them (especially using software), I will give them five stars unless I literally feared for my safety.” Caroline O’Donovan has a devastating look at how restaurant iPads are getting servers fired, and enabling discrimination.

Amazon workers in the EU have announced a general strike at Amazon in the second week of July, hoping to maximize their impact by hitting the company’s Prime Day sales.

Care workers in New Zealand just won massive pay increases from the government, based on the fact that women’s work has historically been undervalued.

The Century Foundation takes a deeper look at the new Contingent Work Survey data.

Robot chef cooks hamburgers in San Francisco fast food place.

Geeking Out

I’m not going to lie—this video of robots packing grocery orders looks like it would make a video game that I’d be obsessed by for about a week.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

The ACLU is continuing to demand that Amazon stop selling facial recognition software to police departments and other law enforcement agencies, given the extreme racial inequity in American policing. And Amazon employees have weighed in with the company too.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Founder of the now-defunct Josephine (a service for home-based cooks to sell food) is looking for input on a piece of legislation designed to legalize home-based cooks, including input on how to protect workers’ rights.

Uber is pushing drivers to adopt cleaner vehicles, by offering unspecified financial bonuses & some in-app features specific to those with electric cars.

From Partners

I’m curious about this new push to organize for racial equity at the local level in cities across the US, through policy work. Anyone out there involved in this?

Is it Janus Day?

Did you know that Janus is the Greek god of transitions? Note to self–try to work that into your next “whither the labor movement” take. 

Organizing Theory

Are you constantly hitting ‘refresh’ to see if the Janus decision came out yet? Give your browser a break and read this post about how teachers’ unions in Detroit survived, despite suffering their own mini-Janus six years ago.

Read through the corporate-speak to ask yourself: does my organization have anything like this approach to developing a workplace culture, from Day 1 on? As someone who’s changed jobs a lot, I can tell you that few progressive groups approach on-boarding with anywhere near this level of competency.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

If your city or state wins an Amazon HQ2 bid, workers might be paying their taxes to the boss.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Amazon games the system of “voluntary time off” to deprive warehouse workers of full-time pay.

Uber drivers went on strike in South Africa earlier this week, protesting the company’s fees as fuel prices skyrocket.

Drones and robots are being used in the construction of a new methane cracking plant in Western PA.

Apologies for the late delivery of Hack the Union. It’s been a week. 

“There is good reason to think that power imbalances play a big part in the rich world’s wage stagnation.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“There is good reason to think that power imbalances play a big part in the rich world’s wage stagnation.” Well, yes.

Josh Eidelson talks to Muslim workers who are organizing to get Amazon to respect their right to prayer breaks and other accommodations for Ramadan.

Welcome to China’s first robot bank. As in, a bank staffed by robots (so far, I don’t think they have cash of their own to deposit).

HR managers: AI is coming for (part of) your jobs.

You’ve probably seen that the BLS put out the results of their Contingent Worker Survey last week, triggering many think pieces about the fact that the gig economy isn’t really happening. (I’m a little mystified by that statement, since the release clearly says that they have not yet finished analyzing the data from new questions about app-based work, which won’t be released till the fall.) But here’s a good piece from the Post about it, which manages to quote both an economist AND a gig worker, so they deserve a Pulitzer. And also a helpful piece by Annette Bernhardt from the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

Organizing Theory

The Animators’ Guild had female animators’ backs, during a recent #metoo case. Check out this unusual method of dealing with member-on-member sexual harassment, through a union hearing. (h/t for Nadia Hewka for sending this my way)

On a related note—this post, by Freada Kapor, on how VC firms should create harassment reporting policies and anti-discrimination practices—is applicable to many more institutions than just the VC field.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Honolulu votes to impose caps on ride-sharing surge pricing.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Future Uber might be using AI to tell your driver that you’re drunk.

“People go to Microsoft or Salesforce for software. People go to Uber or Lyft for a ride.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“People go to Microsoft or Salesforce for software. People go to Uber or Lyft for a ride.” The SF City Attorney, on why he subpoenaed 3 years’ worth of driver info from Uber & Lyft, after a recent CA Supreme Court decision made establishing worker misclassification easier.

Are “super jobs” burning out IT professionals?

If you work remotely & can live anywhere, Vermont wants you. And they’ll pay to get you.

Kudos to my friends at OUR Walmart for their work to influence the shareholders of the country’s largest brick & mortar retailer. You know you’re scaring them, when they change the format of their shareholders meeting.

Geeking Out

Y’know…my birthday is coming soon

Organizing Theory

A new Medium team wants to teach organizers the best productivity apps to use in political & community organizing contexts.

From Partners

Moshe Marvit takes a look at the recent Supreme Court decision around forced arbitrations, and concludes that it may make matters worse for workers in other ways, too.

The Aspen Institute launched a Gig Economy Data Hub last week.


Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“…any movement that wants to address economic inequality in this country must have a financial agenda and a political one.” Will the #BankBlack movement help move the needle on racial inequality?

Possibly unprecedented: Bloomberg columnist tells companies to stop whining about skills gap, start raising wages.

We’ve moved pretty firmly into an era where internet access is an economic driver. So why isn’t access to broadband (which millions of Americans lack) an issue in more electoral campaigns?

Some of us talk about the birth lottery on a regular basis—here’s a detailed portrayal of exactly how it works to capture wealth for the top 10% of Americans. h/t to Mustafa Rashed for this one.

“It’s like a whole city scavenger hunt.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“It’s like a whole-city scavenger hunt.” The electric scooter-charging workforce is teenaged and (dare I say it?) hard-charging.

Is converting to worker-ownership one way of fighting against the #metoo culture in the restaurant industry?

Uber just announced that they would start providing health care to 150K drivers in the EU. Why not in the US?

Gas prices are going up for everyone—but it’s hurting Uber & Lyft drivers, as the ride rates aren’t going up.

From Partners

This new paper from World Resources Report shows that more than 50% of workers in the global south are informally employed, and examines some strategies that cities can take to better include these workers in protections and contracting.

Check out this new video from NELP and the Partnership for Working Families about how Uber and other platform companies are using state pre-emption laws to their advantage.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Amazon is selling facial recognition software to police departments. That can’t end well.

Are you as confused as I am about the impact of the new GDPR rules established by the EU? If so, here’s a healthy explainer that might make all those emails clogging your inbox go down just a little more smoothly.

Geeking Out

Starting a bike delivery worker-owned coop? This free software might be right for you. (At least, if you’re in the EU.)


Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

We’ve seen a few instances of worker-owned cooperatives in the home care space—but what about the rest of health care?

“Food is the platform for selling you everything else.” Why Amazon acquired Whole Foods, in a nutshell.

Freelance Isn’t Free Act has recouped over $250K for NYC freelancers, just one year in

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Last week was the one-year anniversary of NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act—the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs put out a report on their year one activity, showing they’d recouped more than $250K in late or unpaid invoices for freelancers.

Facing pressure by activists and victims of sexual violence, Uber & Lyft announced last week that they would no longer require victims to pursue remedies through mandatory arbitration.

Freelance contracting sites Fiverr and AND CO want to start taking steps to protect freelancers from sexual harassment, with new contract language.

How will rental car companies adapt, in the age of self-driving cars?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Should everyone sign up to drive for Uber at some point? The Rideshare Guy thinks so.

A look at what one UNITE HERE local is doing to fight against the sexual harassment of female hotel workers.

This new paper looks at the effect of minimum wage increases, and concludes that higher minimum wages would help ameliorate income inequality.