“Hey Alexa, why are you powered by dirty energy?” Greenpeace activists asked commuters in Crystal City, VA (potentially the home of Amazon’s future HQ2) to talk to Alexa about why the company should switch to cleaner energy for their cloud services.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research just put out a new study on the impact of automation on women, which found that women’s risk of work automation is spread across well- and low-paid work.
“Since you’re always getting paid for only half the journey, it doesn’t take you very long to realize that a majority of your deliveries are to customers that reside far outside the cluster of restaurants and eateries.” One courier describes how Postmates kept him logging in to the app—despite the obvious problems in delivery pay.
“The haves and the have-nots might be given new names: the demanding and the on-demand.” 10 years in to the new gig economy, Alexis Madrigal has a run down on the fate of 105 companies that sucked up venture capital to offer us all a tiny bit more convenience.
Reputation, reputation, reputation
What’s Lyft worried about, as it approaches its IPO? Amazon Web Services, self-driving cars & HIPAA.
Here’s a bot that will help your Slack channels be less biased, when it comes to describing women & their work.
Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
“…working less may actually be the key to better distributed, sustainable economic prosperity.” This new report looks at the case to be made for a shorter workweek in the UK, & outlines the steps to get there.
After you read this week’s Hack the Union, forward it to a friend and ask them to subscribe.
What’s Going on in the Workforce?
I feel like if you attributed the sentence “we spend a lot of time training people” to literally any fast food chain’s executive, in a conversation with a fast food worker in that chain, that worker would laugh. But hey, that’s why they’re investing in AI at the drive-through!
Axios provides a visualization of the number of workdays involved in last year’s strikes, with teachers leading the way, followed by hospitality workers.
Not knowing your work schedule in advance makes your life more stressful. I know this seems like a ‘duh’ moment to you, but it still needs to be researched, for politicians to believe it’s true. (And even then, some of them will still refuse to believe it.)
In an interesting twist, Uber drivers in London are suing the Mayor, alleging that his recent decision to impose a congestion tax on rideshare drivers, but not on black car drivers (who are mostly white) represents illegal racial discrimination.
Working moms at Amazon are demanding that the company do more to meet employees’ childcare needs, including helping figure out backup plans when kids can’t go to their regular daycare facility.
Come for the video of a robot cleaning the floor in Walmart…stay for the twitter thread, about the implications of automation & what elected officials should do (or not do) about it.
“What platforms do, is centralize an existent, fragmented, and virtually invisible (partially even black) market by means of a platform. By technologically increasing convenience, they consequently provide opportunities for these markets to grow.” An interesting look at the possibility of unions growing through organizing platform workers, by a Dutch researcher on the gig economy.
The Fair Workweek Initiative asked retail workers about the likelihood of their jobs being replaced by automation. Here’s what they said.
Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
A University of Alabama law professor has created a site to aggregate academic research about the gig economy, if you’re looking for such a thing.
As Uber & Lyft preparer for IPOs, they’re struggling to figure out how to deal with fights around driver misclassification…by offering them money to buy shares with? I’m guessing this is not what white collar workers in the companies get…