Lower unemployment means jobs go unfilled, in the gig economy & in the fields

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Gig economy companies are struggling to find workers, as the overall economy improves, & fewer people want a side hustle. Instacart will try to close their employment gap by offering cheap cell service to their workers.

The Trump Administration shut down some guestworker visas—Vice took a look at what kinds of conditions exist as Americans try to take shrimping jobs. And here’s a look at what Trump’s immigration policy is doing in Wisconsin’s dairy industry.

Uber has decided to shut down its controversial car-leasing program.

London’s black cab drivers have launched an app to compete with ride-sharing companies like Uber & Lyft.

Boxed’s CEO gives equal access to benefits to the workers who pack goods in the company’s warehouses—including things like paying for weddings and tuition.

One of the earliest on-demand delivery services just shut down, stranding their Los Angeles workers without complete paychecks.

Organizing Theory

South Korea has introduced what some are calling the first “robot tax,” to address issues around workforce automation.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

It’s not every day you see a billionaire start a petition against tax cuts.

If you’re gonna mention the problems with wages in the restaurant industry & not even MENTION the tipped minimum wage? Maybe you should talk to ROC.

What, me worry?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Quartz takes a look at 500 years’ worth of worrying about the Future of Work.

Uber Freight has announced they are starting to schedule freight truck delivery in 6 new states.

Geeking Out

Just like your favorite teenager, self-driving cars will need to learn human “rules of the road” before they are unleashed in the wild.


From Partners

Here’s an interesting civic tech project—looking to help folks automate sending their daily change to pay bail for those who can’t afford it.

Check out NELP’s latest publication—for employers of immigrants, what to do if ICE comes to your workplace.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

FoxConn may be bringing a factory to Wisconsin—but will it hire humans? or robots?

We’ve heard a lot about ride-sharing companies making life more difficult for disabled travelers—here’s a good piece explaining the issues around home-sharing platforms.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

A Facebook app that fights depression, by checking in to see how you’re doing on the daily.

Get on the Bus!

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What’s Going on in the Workforce

The Independent Drivers Guild just launched an accident insurance program for their members, who drive for UberMore robots = less social mobility, according to this new study.

The Transport Workers Union wants to create a worker-owned school bus cooperative, in New York City.


Reputation, reputation, reputation

Cathy O’Neil has some interesting thoughts about how to regulate algorithms, which affect us more and more at-and away from-work.

Organizing Theory

Good interview of three Southern labor organizers, on organizing around race, class & gender in the South.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Yet another venture capitalist calls for us to start figuring out basic income, in the face of increased automation. Guess he’s worried about our lack of social mobility?

Is worker-ownership the solution to the economy’s problems?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Senator Warner penned an op ed for Fast Company on why the US needs portable benefits.

New York City is poised to have a discussion about whether the city should help retiring business owners sell to their employees, as Forbes wonders if impact investors will embrace ESOPs.

Organizing Theory

Elana Lavin from (among other places) Organizing 2.0 led a Twitter chat recently about the Wonder Woman movie, and how activists are incorporating it into their work and campaigns. Check out some of the discussion here, and read Elana’s blog post on why she thought it was important to focus on this cultural touchstone here.

Great post from the Mobilisation Lab on what they’re learning about building apps for NGOs.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Add Florida to the list of states where it is now legal for delivery robots to use public sidewalks and crosswalks.

Whole Foods workers express fears about Amazon acquisition, according to story that doesn’t quote a single worker. And while we’re on the topic of grocery delivery—London is testing grocery delivery by autonomous vehicle.

An interesting piece, by Vox, on how to think about the unemployed in some specific categories, for policy making.

Can auto-enrollment fix the problem of inadequate retirement savings?

A company that is working on self-driving trucks hires truck drivers…and has to give them and the coders they work with “the talk.”

When a robot gets to heaven…

Robot of the Week

The question of whether a robot can have a soul is as yet, unanswered. But this Protestant church did just roll out a robot priest, to celebrate the 500th year of the Reformation.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

This new report from Pew shows that, while 25% of Americans participate in the gig economy, only a small portion of them earn more than $500 per month doing so.

Organizing Theory

How one enterprising young journalist made a connection with readers using SMS.

From Partners

New York’s Civic Hall just announced an Organizer-in-Residence program. Applications are due on July 10th.

Geeking Out

Been wondering when your next local election is? This new app will help you figure it out.

The beginning of summer means the beginning of ice cream truck season. But it’s also the start of many kids’ lack of food, since they aren’t in school. Feeding America has combined these two facts to raise awareness of issues around childhood hunger in the US.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Welp. 2017 is not really Travis Kalanick’s year. It’s definitely looking up for Uber drivers, though. In other Uber news, Miami has apparently been fining drivers who don’t speak English $250.

Staten Island just got its first worker-owned coops, as domestic workers in the borough launched two new ones last week.

Great piece by Sarah Jaffe about the struggles of retail workers—and the various efforts to organize them, across the US.

Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) pens a surprisingly woke essay about sexual harassment in the VC/entrepreneur space.

Trump’s Labor Dept: increased enforcement against unions & worker centers

The Perils of Trumpism

Trump’s Labor Department is ramping up enforcement against unions & worker centers, reducing enforcement against employers.

From Partners

Congrats to our friends at Good Jobs First, who just updated their new searchable database for tracking corporate violators of dozens of types of regulations (not just labor, but environmental & consumer protection too). Researchers, start your engines!

UC Berkeley’s Labor Center just put out a new analysis of independent work in the state.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Want to clear a criminal record in California? Now, there’s an app for that.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Some public sector agencies are developing chatbots to provide basic information to residents or constituents. Does it deepen the digital divide?

If the future of work involves more fissuring, does the future social safety net involve more collaboration between fissured workers?

You probably already heard that Amazon announced last week that it’s buying Whole Foods. I wondered what that might mean for Instacart—here are a couple of takes. I have yet to see a tech site opine on what it might mean for UFCW—if you catch that, send it my way.

Organizing Theory

Political How is collecting videos from people who are doing basic civic engagement work (like making a phone call to a representative), so newbies can see how it’s done.

A good look, from the Electronic Freedom Foundation, about the differences between public, closed and secret Facebook groups.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

A New York State administrative law judge just found that Uber drivers are employees, for the purpose of collecting unemployment benefits.

Estonian ride-sharing startup Taxify wants to dominate Uber by launching in smaller European and African markets, paying drivers a bigger share of the ride fee, and allowing drivers to accept cash for rides.

I’m curious if anyone organizing low-wage workers has run into this new payroll app, and if so, how it works.

“Download a ride-sharing app” as sentence for a DUI

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Well, here’s an interesting solution to a long-standing civic problem—a judge in Ohio is making “download Uber or Lyft” a condition of sentences for those caught drunk driving.

The San Francisco city attorney has ordered Uber & Lyft to provide 4 years’ worth of data about their rides in the city.

“If we win the fight for more paid leisure time, then the creation of new public spaces – from theatre foyers to parks to gyms, cafes, beaches – needs to become a social technology, not just an afterthought of planning or architecture.” An interesting take on the promise by Jeremy Corbyn to add 4 bank holidays to the British work year…

Boston organizers who are working to build the solidarity economy have launched a democratically controlled investment fund.

“Residential assessments have been so far off the mark for so many years that the credibility of the entire property tax system is in doubt.” The Chicago Tribune just exposed an immense amount of institutionalized racism coming out of the tax assessor’s office.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

I’m pretty excited about this new feature in iOS 11—all apps will have to give the option of only sending location data while using the app (not all the time).

Should a private software company’s trade secrets be enough to keep inmates in jail?

Organizing Theory

25% of Americans boycotted a brand, in the first 3 months of the Trump administration.

From Partners

Congrats to folks in Illinois, who just passed an anti-wage theft bill. Now to see if the governor will sign it!

What’s Going on in the Workforce

If sectors in corporate America are pushing to make 3 weeks of vacation mandatory, can we start with fast food and retail?

Interesting look at the success of Stella & Dot in building a new network of women home sellers.

UK taxi drivers threaten to boycott Britain’s biggest grocery chain over a presumed partnership with Uber.

OUR Walmart launched an app! Hear more about it here.

Original Content

Last week, I talked to Organization United for Respect co-director Andrea Dehlendorf, about their recently launched app, and excellent work that threads together online & offline organizing. Check it out 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 ($1/mo?) to help us keep it up and running.

From Partners

Georgetown Law School’s Poverty Center just issued this new report, calling for workforce investment to improve the caregiving sector of the economy, which disproportionately employs women of color.

We haven’t yet seen a lawsuit brought under the Freelance Isn’t Free Act play out in court—here’s how one lawyer imagines it might go.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Ethiopia has been using private Facebook message histories in the trials of activists.

Organizing Theory

Interesting walk-through of the tactics that Trump’s team used on Facebook to suppress the Democratic vote in 2016.

Geeking Out

Quartz has launched a new section on the Future of Work.

Here’s an interesting use for telepresence bots—allowing sick kids to still participate in school.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

The Independent Drivers’ Guild is going after Lyft for apparent wage theft in New York.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

So much for local control…the ridesharing companies have convinced the Texas legislature to overturn Austin’s ban on companies that don’t use rigorous fingerprint checks.

Using mobile phone credits to pay for health insurance may solve some access issues in developing countries.

Is there an uptick in worker organizing? There is certainly an uptick in stories about it.

Organizing Theory

Micah Sifry takes a good look at the “Hunger Games” dynamic, in funding new groups that have sprung up as part of the resistance to Trump.

Nice writeup on the Independent Driver Guild’s work to move Uber towards in-app tipping.

h/t to Wyatt Closs for pointing out this story to me—professional videogamers have been conducting wildcat strikes & other forms of labor disruption—so the bosses want them to organize a union.


Reputation, reputation, reputation

A pretty good explanation of why replacing human judgement with an algorithm doesn’t just simply make things more fair.

Interesting project in the EU wants to use anonymized, user-provided data to help cities and private companies build products that make cities better.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Could the election of Donald Trump lead to the creation of the first industry-wide tech worker union in India?

Critics of UBI warn that it will lead to a society & entitled people who sit around playing video games all day (as if there’s something wrong with that plan!). Studies show otherwise.

Geeking Out

Walt Mossberg has been a sometimes controversial tech columnist—but this, his final column, is worth reading for an advance look at the tech products and challenges that are headed our way.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

New research from tax software maker Intuit shows that gig economy employment will double in the next four years.

Volvo is working on a self-driving trash truck.

The Perils of Trumpism

The Trump Administration wants to get rid of civil rights protection efforts in a variety of federal agencies.