Seattle is forcing gig companies to pay hazard pay

What’s Going on in the Workforce

A new Seattle law aimed at forcing gig workers hazard pay for work performed during the pandemic has added $2.50/order to food delivery apps. So far, gig delivery drivers have received over $350,000 in back pay, since the law has been in effect. 

A new app wants to help gig drivers develop their own businesses, instead of relying on Uber or Lyft to do all their billing. 

In news that will surprise few people outside of the White House, health care workers are experiencing a COVID-induced mental health care crisis

Organizing Theory

Are you using technology to organize workers even more, since the onset of COVID-19? Take this quick survey about your satisfaction with worker organizing tech! 

Check out this interview with one of the worker-owners of Defector Media (the worker-owned cooperative being setup by laid-off Deadspin alums), on what it’s like to build a mutually-owned business from scratch

Robot of the Week

Not the robot—but the robotics CEO. Marc Raibert talks about his vision for Boston Dynamics, the company behind your favorite dystopian robot videos. Or maybe just MY favorite. 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Ghost kitchens are turning parking lots into spots for your dinner to be cooked and picked up (by your favorite app drivers). 

And what’s going to happen to those gig drivers (and other gig workers), now that the unemployment insurance designed to help them is over. 

From Partners

Thanks to our friends at EPI for this new brief: “50 reasons the Trump Administration is bad for workers.” 

The Perils of Trumpism

ICE is sterilizing women. I realize that some of you won’t think that’s appropriate for a newsletter that is at its core focused on work, organizing and tech. But as a woman who has enjoyed complete control of her own uterus for her entire life, I can’t let it go unremarked. Fuck everyone who was involved with this. 

Is the pandemic speeding up job loss to automation?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

new report from the Philly Fed shows that automation is speeding up during the pandemic, leading to permanent job loss for some workers. 

As many as 4 million US workers (largely working moms) will be forced to leave the workforce, if they can’t find childcare that helps their kids learn remotely. Great job, US government! 

What happens to male models, after they leave the industry? 

Mother Jones has a new series about workers who quit jobs during the pandemic. Here’s a Bojangles (fast food) worker, talking about how she quit when customers were racist to her, so her boss rewarded them with free food. 

One Uber driver talks about how she’s kept driving during the pandemic—and how she’s lost income, because of how much time she takes cleaning her car between rides. 

From Partners

Check out this Kickstarter from our friends at Big Bowl of Ideas, for their project to put up murals thanking essential workers for what they’ve done to keep us all safe, during covid-19. 

Organizing Theory

Blueprints for Change has translated their guide to distributed organizing! Spanish version here  & French here.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

White workers have been getting re-employed twice as fast as Black workers, after pandemic-related layoffs. 

The Seattle Drivers’ Union just delivered over 1600 driver signatures to their City Council, demanding that rideshare drivers get fair pay. 

Events

The Century Foundation is partnering with Rep. Barbara Lee to talk about How to Implement Reparations in America

Announcement

Historically, we’ve occasionally posted jobs in this newsletter. I’ve been getting so many jobs sent to me that I decided to start a separate newsletter just for jobs. If you’re interested in that, you can subscribe here!

“I never wanted to be a 1950s housewife, and I feel like that’s kind of what I am now.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“I never wanted to be a 1950s housewife, and I feel like that’s kind of what I am now. A few years ago, I was at the White House interviewing the First Lady, and now I’m adjudicating battles between Pokémon players.” The impact of the pandemic on working mothers’ careers is going to be felt for years to come. 

It’s not just fast food workers who are complaining about racial discrimination within McDonald’s—50+ Black franchise owners just filed a suit claiming discrimination from the company, too.  Meanwhile, nearly 50% of Black-owned small businesses have been shut down due to COVID. 

From Partners

New report from the Open Markets Institute: “Eyes Everywhere: Amazon’s Surveillance Infrastructure and Revitilizing Worker Power.”  Relatedly, if you blink you might have missed this news—Amazon posted job openings for researchers to surveil their own workforce for signs of unionization, then pulled them offline after facing criticism. 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Just to put this in perspective, MIOSHA has received more complaints this year since March, than were received in 2018 and 2019 combined. Michigan’s state-level health & safety agency has investigated an unprecedented number of workplace safety complaints, in the pandemic. 

Uber may face big fines in California, for fighting regulators who were seeking information on sexual harassment complaints filed by riders and drivers. 

Chuck Collins & Frank Clemente, on why we need a one-time tax on billionaires’ pandemic financial gains

Organizing Theory

Nobody needs to be killed for just believing in something.” The Verge talks to 11 people who filmed acts of police violence. (content warning) 

Jobs

Looking for organizing work that combines labor activism with climate justice? Look no further

#BigTechOnBlast

From Partners

Today’s the day! Big Tech is called to answer Congress’s questions—sign up for Athena’s Watch Party, starting today at noon.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Last week, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that a laid-off person who decided to drive for Uber did not lose eligibility for unemployment, because they became self-employed. Kudos to regular reader Larry Mishel, and his daughter Julia Simon-Mishel, who argued the case in court in her capacity with Philadelphia Legal Services. 

Various California agencies are investigating Amazon workers’ safety concerns, after COVID has raged through warehouses. 

Geeking Out

“In recent months, the coronavirus pandemic has offered a test run on whether humanity has the capacity to avert a predictable — and predicted — catastrophe. Some countries have fared better. But the United States has failed. The climate crisis will test the developed world again, on a larger scale, with higher stakes. The only way to mitigate the most destabilizing aspects of mass migration is to prepare for it, and preparation demands a sharper imagining of where people are likely to go, and when.” ProPublica & the New York Times magazine take a detailed look at how climate change will impact migration patterns. 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

WNBA players walk out in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, dedicate their season to Breonna Taylor. 

Jobs

Class Action is on the hunt for a new Executive Director

“We wanted to be fair, but we also wanted to set a very important standard, which was safety first.”

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“We wanted to be fair, but we also wanted to set a very important standard, which was safety first.”You’ve probably heard a lot about how various major-league sports are planning on returning to play. But did you know that roller derby has the best plan to respond to covid, of any sport? 

The Fight for $15, SEIU, & the Movement for Black Lives are holding a Strike for Black Lives next week. 

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Uber, seeking to protect its own proprietary data, hid its involvement in a coalition about protecting data from cities

“Advertisements created by algorithms encourage certain people to send in their résumés. After the résumés have undergone automated culling, a lucky few are hired and then subjected to automated evaluation, the results of which are looped back to establish criteria for future job advertisements and selections. This system operates with no transparency or accountability built in to check that the criteria are fair to all job applicants.” Automated hiring can reinforce discrimination. We should let job-seekers sue

What’s Going on in the Workforce

As the pandemic continues to rage on, and shoppers are nervous about in-person shopping, Instacart goes on a hiring spree

This new paper from NBER looks at where & who are switching to work from home during the pandemic. 

Uber took a teensy tiny baby step toward actually letting drivers set their own rates (in order to avoid misclassification challenges, of course). It only took, what, 11 years from the time they were founded? 

Shipt workers are striking today to protest the company’s new algorithmic pay model. 

Geeking Out

Check out this great new map, from Bargaining for the Common Good, that shows the contracts bargained for the common good around the US. 

Jobs

Here’s a kick-ass job that someone on this list should apply for: SVP at Omidyar Network

“It has been 54 days since we’ve felt the sun on our faces.”

The Perils of Trumpism

“It has been 54 days since we’ve felt the sun on our faces.” COVID-19 is hitting people living in institutions harder than the rest of us. Here’s a gripping story of life on the inside, told by an anonymous incarcerated person in MA. 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Hospital robots are helping fight covid-19. Are they also getting trained to replace humans in some types of hospital work?  Happily, Adam Seth Litwin just penned a new paper about health care automation, in conjunction with UC Berkeley Labor & Working Partnerships. 

From Partners

ACRE is hosting a series of webinars this summer that will teach activists about the relationships between the police and financial institutions. The next one is July 15 at 10 am Pacific. Register here.

Organizing Theory

How non-profit workers in Wisconsin turned their non-profit into a worker-owned coop. 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Want to build a solidarity business? Here’s a new manual, from Geo Coop & others. 

Can mutual aid groups grow into standing organizations to address the long-term causes the disproportionate impacts of immediate emergencies? 

It’s likely that the pandemic will kill the mall as we know it. Can malls survive by turning into housing?

And while we’re on the subject of housing, check out what the City of Lisbon is doing—working to turn Airbnb-style rentals into housing for essential workers. (h/t to Scott Mintzer for sending me this one.) 

Geeking Out

Do you want a hydroponic garden the size of a dishwasher, that can grow up to 60 plants? Not yet, but soon. 

A love song to Gen Z

Geeking Out

“None of these game-changing moments in narrative history arose by identifying the “right organization,” or by brainstorming the perfectly compelling campaign. None of these moments had an organizational logo attached to them. They had heart, spontaneity, humor, creativity, community, and an ability to quickly outmaneuver and outsmart the enemy.” A love song to GenZ and its brilliant ability to weaponize memes to shift narrative and take down racists, including the Racist-in-Charge. 

Organizing Theory

 An important piece examining how one mutual aid effort that sprang to life in the early days of the pandemic has morphed into an effort that now includes political education for the “helpers.” “It’s first important to recognize what mutual aid is and what it’s not,” Rodriguez says. “We don’t want this to be charity, and it can be perceived as charity for nine out of ten people involved. It’s a political process through which communities that have been ignored and deprived deliberately empower themselves with the resources they have to take care of one another.” 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

 If you have the fundamental belief that work of any kind in a capitalist system is the highest calling, of course you will set up your government to force people to work, no matter the circumstances. Welcome to North Carolina, please don’t ever lose your job

On the continent, however, Spain seems to have looked at the pandemic and decided, “gee, maybe a guaranteed minimum income is good!” 

Not just Philly specific—what can companies & organizations do to be more uplift a Black workforce

Reputation, reputation, reputation

“The risk is that [tracking technologies] become an avenue for more extensive data collection that’s really unconnected with the public health emergency and they will continue on after the public health emergency is over.” Companies are adopting surveillance techniques, allegedly to keep workers safe during the pandemic. 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Amazon warehouse workers in Germany went on strike on Monday to protest the company’s handling of the coronavirus

“The stylist’s lead changed the conversation away from compensation details and pointed her to Stitch Fix’s core values, including being “motivated by challenge,” asking if that clause resonated with her.” How Stitch Fix silences internal dissent & creates a culture of silence within their workforce. 

The Supreme Court of Canada just dealt Uber a blow, when it ruled that drivers could join a class action lawsuit, and did not have to pursue individual arbitrations. 

From Partners

Are you interested in telling workplace stories? The Sidney Hillman Foundation has grants to make for reporters writing about working people and their struggles on the job. Applications on a rolling basis.  

We need tech for organizing, not just mobilizing

Original Content

Have you been frustrated in the search for a CRM that actually gets ORGANIZING, not mobilizing? I talk to Martha Grant from Action Builder, about the new worker organizing CRM she’s built in conjunction with the AFL-CIO and Action Network. 

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. 

From Partners

Check out this new site co-created by friend-o’-the-blog Wyatt Closs, Blkpaper, with downloadable Black protest art.  And while you’re in the mood to support Black artist, maybe you want to buy a ticket (or an ad) for Philly’s BlackStar Film Festival, which will serve Black and brown films to an online audience globally, this year. 

Cornell’s ILR is hosting a webinar called “Strategies for a Worker-Centered Re-opening and Recovery” on Wednesday, July 1. Register here

Reputation, reputation, reputation

“Starting with the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, the U.S. government had spent half a century battling discrimination in offline rental markets. Through regulation and enforcement, the efforts had succeeded in reducing rates of discrimination, both in hotels and long-term rentals. Airbnb now raised the prospect of erasing some of these hard-won gains.” What’s Airbnb doing about #AirbnbWhileBlack

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Uber has started selling its ride-hailing tech to public transportation providers.  Not a good look, given that it’s also recently been proved that their algorithm has been putting a higher price on rides to neighborhoods where people of color dominate. Meanwhile, Mexican Uber drivers struck the company on Monday. 

“…for cities and towns experiencing a population decline, or those that have seen the departure or closure of a major employer in recent years, offering cash to remote workers is a relatively simple way to diversify and expand a local economy.” In the wake of COVID-19, even more cities are getting into the game of offering remote workers relocation bonuses

“What’s hot on-screen…doesn’t need to be hot on set.” The relatively new world of onscreen intimacy coordinator is bound to be disrupted by COVID, as tv shows and movies return to filming

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Black organizers and Latinx immigrants banded together to rise up against police and ICE violence in one small North Carolina town. 

Sarah Jaffe talks to folks from the unions at my alma mater, Rutgers University, about their efforts to build a joint table to bargain for the common good of all—faculty, staff & students.