Robots in the drive-thru

Can you do us a favor?

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. 

Geeking Out


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. 

Organizing Theory

“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. 

From Partners

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. 

A group of New Yorkers are working to figure out if worker-owned coops can be successfully franchised

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…  


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