Like many of you I suspect, I’m overwhelmed with the deluge of new information. I’m going to suspend the newsletter, at least for a little while, to spare your inboxes. I will be posting more than normal on twitter–so if you’re craving Hack the Union content, follow at @hacktheunion. There are a lot of guides to organizing under coronavirus coming out, as well as organizing calls, etc–we’ll be putting up as many of those as we can find, to connect folks to new skills and tools.
Also, here’s a picture of my completely-unbothered-by-the-new-normal cats, if you need something to calm you down a little bit.
There is a lot of speculation about how the coronavirus will impact remote work, as more and more companies urge their workers to work from home. But I’ve seen less about automation speeding up. However, a hospital in Wuhan has now adopted robots to help clean rooms and deliver food. And a printing equipment factory in China converted some of its automated machines to produce surgical masks. And in a stab in the heart of cashiers everywhere, Amazon announced that it will be opening access to Just Walk Out, the tech that allows it to run cashierless stores, to other retailers.
Gig economy companies are under a lot of pressure to figure out how to protect workers during the coronavirus outbreak. Here, Sen. Mark Warner (VA) tells them they should pay people who are quarantined. So far, Uber, Instacart, DoorDash & Lyft have all said they’ll pay drivers who have to self-quarantine if they are exposed, but Amazon Flex, Grubhub, Postmates said “nah.” Amazon will pay hourly workers at their various offices in Washington, who have to stay home. Amazon warehouse workers in Illinois, on the other hand, just filed a complaint about the company failing to pay sick leave for any of them, despite a local law that’s been in effect for nearly 3 years.
Don’t miss this new film, focusing on the wonders of life in the gig economy. Playing in very short stints (and hopefully theaters that are un-impacted by coronavirus). h/t to friend-‘o-the-blog Wyatt Closs for sending this in.
Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Most of us on this list know why unrestricted funding is better for organizations—here’s a perspective on why it’s better for funders, too.
You know who’s really misunderstood in our society? Billionaires.
“There is nothing wrong with platforms themselves, but there is something seriously wrong with platforms that introduce extractive business models to our caring relations.” On how the gig economy can be worse for women.
Pandemic + gig economy workers with no paid time off, delivering food & people. What could go wrong?