The Barista Revolution

Original Content

I continue to be impressed by the work of the small but mighty team at Coworker.org—here’s how they empowered Starbucks baristas to push back on a scheduling disaster, last summer.

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The Perils of Trumpism

Trump’s cuts to the Department of Labor budget will—quelle surprise!—hit low-wage workers the hardest.

Events

h/t to reader Hannah Sassaman for sending me this Philly event about the Robot City (Automation & Low Wage Workers).

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Well, no matter where you come down on the question of the Oxford Comma, there’s no doubt that these bosses wish their legislature had used one.

“Alexa, can you find me a job?” 250,000 retail workers have already lost their jobs, and about 12 million other retail positions are threatened by Amazon and other online shopping entities.

Meanwhile, in the actual Amazon, another industry has been revealed to be using slave labor.

Uber, predictably, is communicating in their app with Seattle drivers about how they don’t want them to join a union.

Two Australian unions have just negotiated a new contract that creates a direct hire policy for casual workers, pushing back against precarious work at Parmalat.

From Partners

Fight for the Future launches a funding strategy to kickstart lots of activist groups.

Friend-‘o-the-blog Beth Becker has teamed up with Organize 2.0 to host two weeklong Digital Organizing boot camps this summer—in New York and Denver.

Geeking Out

Two students have created a campaign to point out all the things in the US that have been made by refugees.


Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“The work ethic is a death sentence…” Looking for a basic overview of all the potential solutions to the changing nature of work? Look no further.

14% of community college students are homeless. Do better, America.

Delivery robots, coming your way in Virginia

Geeking Out

Live in Virginia? Mazel tov! Later this year, you could be the first person to share a sidewalk with a delivery robot.

The first $10K, 3-D printed house was just constructed in Russia.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

AirBnB wants to put hosts in more of a governance role, inside the company.

We talked about this programmer’s app that helped people fight parking tickets last year—now he’s back with an app that helps refugees start the asylum-seeking process.

I am a terrible labor activist, and failed to strike last Wednesday. Iceland’s women once held a strike where 90% of the country’s women participated, and now they have the smallest gender equity gap of ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

The head of the Center for Rural Affairs wants to know what it would look like if more rural workers turned existing businesses into coops.

From Partners

Some very exciting news from Greenpeace, who’ve announced they’re spinning off their Mobilisation Lab to stand alone, as a movement-wide effort.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

You might think that the federal government would want to know, if its contractors broke federal labor law. But no.

Organizing Theory

Are you making your protests enough fun?

“Now is the time to insist on the ability to control our own data.”

Reputation, reputation, reputation

What if, the next time you hired someone to assemble your Ikea, their identity was confirmed…by their bank? An Australian bank partners with a sharing economy company.

“Now is the time to insist on the ability to control our own data.”

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

You know, one of the things I LIKE about ridesharing is that there aren’t TVs constantly yelling at me in the car…and naturally, Uber wants to take that away.

Some thoughts on why the economics of the platform companies can never create real profitability.

What states can learn from yesterday’s abolitionists, about how to fight the Muslim travel ban.

From Partners

The founder of non-profit job site Idealist.org wants to build a better community by uniting the sock-sharers.

Looking for a way to develop leadership within your union? Cornell has a new online course, launching this spring.

Similarly, if you’ve been wanting to start your very own worker cooperative, the fine folks at Sustainable Economies Law Center are hosting a “Think Outside the Boss” workshop online—materials here.

Check out this customizable contract for freelancers, from our friends at the Freelancers Union.

Organizing Theory

So we’ve mostly concluded that positive economic change, at least for the next four years, is more likely to come from states and cities than from the federal government. Where do you get ideas about what kinds of policy campaigns to run? Check out this new paper from CEPR, on organizing for economic justice in the Trump era. I was especially interested in their ideas about health care, but who know? Open source textbooks may be more of your jam.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Add Wendy’s to the list of fast-food restaurants that are moving to more automation in their stores.

Uber drivers in Philly are joining the Newspaper Guild. I guess journalists do know a thing or two about the gig economy…

Cargo 42, a new Miami startup, wants to bring sharing-economy-style scheduling to the trucking & logistics business.

“…there’s more money in profiling people as high-risk or low-risk than there is in solving their actual health problems.”

Reputation, reputation, reputation

“…there’s more money in profiling people as high-risk or low-risk than there is in solving their actual health problems.” Cathy O’Neil, on what your free Fitbit might be costing you or others.

Interesting piece from Reuters on how police union contracts protect bad cops.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Wanna save the world’s beaches? Drink more beer.

Next up to experiment withl basic income? The Canadian province of Ontario, which will run BI experiments in 3 cities this year, partly to aid people who’ve lost manufacturing jobs that have ended.

Bill Gates explains why we should be taxing robots.

Organizing Theory

“At least they knew what everybody was doing. They could disagree, but at least there was some sort of possibility of coherence, and occasionally they could converge, as they did on the March on Washington.” The great Marshall Ganz, on why we can’t look to the DNC to save our movements (or to any other explicitly partisan organization).

Taking a page from some programs that provide legal services for immigrants, the Philly Gay Lawyer is raising money to create a mobile law clinic that can help LGBTQ people in rural areas with legal services on a pro bono basis.

From Partners

Wanna propose a workshop for the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy? Submit here, by March 15th.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Last week, UPS tested a new delivery drone that pairs with a truck to deliver one package, while the driver & truck deliver a different one—potentially miles away.

We talk a lot about the need to wrap the social safety net AROUND the gig economy—here’s a new study that has concluded that the gig economy IS the new social safety net.

Nick Hanauer and David Rolf follow up their 2015 call for portable benefits with an article that fleshes out more of the practical details of how that might work.

Legalize it.

(Baked goods, of course. What did you think I meant?)

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

California may legalize the home-cooked food sharing apps, allowing your baked goods to be monetizable.

Data activism helped prove that Airbnb was hiding listings by multiple-apartment owners from regulators in NYC.

The Institute for the Future has funded four fellowships to help teams figure out how to make sharing economy work more sustainable. Hint—lots of worker cooperation.

And speaking of worker-coops, here’s a new one in DC that’s based on giving returning citizens a chance at a new life, through work.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Welp. It was great to be able to use a smartphone during international travel for the, what, 10 years that lasted? For more on the (scant) previous case law involving phone searches, read this.

You wanna give a training on digital security, but don’t know where to start? Check this out.

Organizing Theory

The fine folks at Campaign Zero have released a new set of infographics detailing how to fight police violence in the Trump era.

Geeking Out

An amazing piece about what it was like to grow with a father who was a leader of the 1981 PATCO strike.

Sigh. Someday, I’ll retire and just watch Amazon robot videos all day.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

A Brazilian judge orders Uber to pay its drivers benefits, finds that they are employees. Uber, predictably, appeals.

Maybe if you don’t have answers for important, known questions—don’t set yourself up to look the fool, by engaging in a Facebook Live chat, hmm?

Peer-to-peer lending comes to worker organizations?

Original Content

This month’s new tech wants to give worker organizations the ability to facilitate peer-to-peer lending within their community of members.

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.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

eBay CEO Pierre Omidyar just announced that he’s donating $500,000 to a basic income experiment in Kenya.

While we’re on the topic of crowdfunding, here’s a new site set up to allow legal organizations to raise money to fund lawsuits. Perhaps a more timely crowdfunding has never happened…

Organizing Theory

Micah Sifry’s got a great analysis of why Organizing for America never activated supporters of Barack Obama’s, post-election in ways that could have helped build a real movement.

The Perils of Trumpism

By the time you read this, who even knows how many more times Andy Puzder’s confirmation hearing will have been postponed? Here’s a good look at how Puzder and Trump differ on Future of Work issues.

ProPublica takes a look at what a new hire in the DoL could mean for wages in the building trades.


What’s Going on in the Workforce

Looks like manufacturing workers at Tesla’s plant in Fremont, CA may be seeking to organize.

What changes might lawyers be seeing in the workplace, with the advent of robo-law? h/t to reader Scott Mintzer for sending me this one.

Ford’s jumping into the self-driving car space, and just sunk $1B into a new startup that is focused on it.

Perhaps the least-cried-over group to be losing their jobs to automation will be Goldman Sachs traders.

Geeking Out

This robot arm can’t kill its coworkers, but it might kill their jobs by self-replicating.

“Liberals are very good at using technology to organize, but conservatives know how to use it to spread a message.”

Organizing Theory

How did tens of thousands of people end up at airports on the weekend that the Muslim ban went into effect? Mic takes a look at the organizing that went into it.

“Liberals are very good at using technology to organize, but conservatives know how to use it to spread a message.” And on the other side of the aisle, how have conservatives jumped all over Facebook Live as an organizing tool?


Reputation, reputation, reputation

There’s been a lot of news lately about rogue Twitter accounts, run by federal employees. Here’s a good, detailed piece on how to stay safe, if you’re running such an account.

Uber’s had it’s share of reputation management issues lately—with 200K riders deleting the app, in response to their CEO’s perceived support of Trump.


Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

The Guardian recently calculated that a hard Brexit (i.e.—ending migration from the EU) would mean Britons have to work at least an extra year before being able to retire, because of the significant role migrants currently play in their workforce. I wonder if some enterprising think tank is doing a similar study for the US, if Trump gets his way?

India may be the next country to run some kind of basic income experiment.

From Partners

The National Academy of Social Insurance just released this report to the New Leadership & American People on Social Insurance and Inequity.

And NELP/the Roosevelt Institute have recently partnered on this report on ensuring economic security for gig workers.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Sure, you could call in sick. Or you could just send the telepresence bot that is controlled by your brain

A Florida court just dealt a blow to at least one Uber’s driver’s ambition to be classified as an employee.

Whole Foods (a worker-owned coop in MN, not that one) just voted in a union.

Events

The ILO is having a retreat in Geneva in April to discuss “The Future of Work We Want.”

“Democratic principles for anti-democratic times”

From Partners

“Democratic principles for anti-democratic times,” as brought to you by the fine folks at Political Research Associates.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

A new Miami on-demand car wash service claims it will save water, as well as adding convenience for users.

Uber is attempting to own the “last mile” of public transit (subsidized by local tax dollars), and five Florida cities just released what that is costing them.

If you’re a tech company, collaboration is a bad look. Well, if you’re any company really.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Great piece from the Freelancers’ Union blog on what freelancers of color have to think about, in advertising their businesses, that white freelancers probably don’t.

Organizing Theory

h/t to the creators of this website, which lets you call Trump properties to complain about the president (it’s only fair, since he’s shut down the White House comment line).

Geeking Out

Did you ever want to know what offices you might be eligible to run for? Check out this nifty website.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“Employee relations could be Uber’s Achilles’ heel.” Uber and Ola drivers in India went on strike last week, to protest long work hours and unsustainable pay. Since Uber drivers are apparently sleeping in their cars, in San Francisco, this is perhaps a global problem.

Bipartisan ways to revise the social contract?

Illinois worker advocates are promoting a bill to provide more regulation of temp agencies.

Are you in Boston today? Get yourself a Big Mac from an ATM. No, wait, don’t do that, Big Macs are gross.

Think twice before sending your kid to law school…TAR is coming for entry-level legal jobs.

Uber recently asked some drivers for pay stubs from other driving employment. Is that legal?

Mississippi auto workers seeking to form a union at Nissan held a series of actions this weekend. You’re forgiven for missing the news, since we were all in airports.

Events

The Murphy Institute is holding an event to commemorate the birthday of W. E. B. DuBois called “From Economic Crisis to Economic Democracy—Lessons from Black Communities.” Info here.

“…the real issue here is not what jobs people do, but how they can have the security they so desperately need.”

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Keeping it real about driving for Lyft.

“…the real issue here is not what jobs people do, but how they can have the security they so desperately need.” Frances Coppola, on why today’s jobs require us to invest in basic income.

Fascinating look at why your city (whatever city it is) doesn’t have the money to keep up with infrastructure needs.

Kate Aronoff, on how WeWork sorta resembles a company town of yore.

Organizing Theory

Black Lives Matter introduced an app last week that allows black Americans to mark themselves “unsafe” (a reverse of the FB “mark yourself safe” feature, during natural disasters or acts of terror).

Geeking Out
Can artificial intelligence help keep fishing sustainable?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

StorePower is a new online platform designed to let grocery stores compete with services like Instacart and DoorDash without ceding control of their ordering and inventory systems.

This robot lawyer might be able to get you out of a parking ticket.

The US Federation of Worker Coops is doing their first-ever census of worker coops in 2017.

McKinsey has a new report predicting that automation could raise global productivity by ~1%.

Events

The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy will be holding their biennial event in early June, in New York.

New Tech for Contract Bargainers

Original Content

As we move into the Trump era, unions are going to need to be able to do more with less. Trokt is here to help reduce the number of hours you need to spend on bargaining contracts and tracking grievances.

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.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Can expansion of worker-owned coops increase the supply of elder care for Americans?

Will increasing automation have a disproportionate impact on women workers?

From Partners

Hats off to ROC, the Fight for 15, and NELP (and many others) for coordinating a series of activities opposing the nomination of fast food CEO Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary.

Check out this Resistance Manual for the Trump Era.

Organizing Theory

Is your organization imagining a major internal reorganization in the current political climate? If you want help figuring that out, Future Shift is giving away 2 workshops to organizations that need it.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Using What’s App for sensitive organizing conversations? You might wanna switch to Signal.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Instacart is cutting pay for their contractors in at least four cities.

Uber is rolling out the ability for drivers to take cash to pay for rides—but you’ll only get your change back through Paypal or other electronic means. Wonder if this will increase tipping? In other Uber news, they’re looking to local governments in the UK to subsidize “last-mile” use of Uber that could replace public transit.