You don’t need to bike to work if you never leave the house (or is that just me)

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

We might not be fully successful at promoting bike lanes, but I guess it’s also good for the planet if people stop commuting at all?

“Sharing” economy startup Appear (Here) wants to let you book pop-up space for YOUR start up business.

Vermont wants ride-sharing companies to add more insurance to cover personal injuries when drivers don’t have a rider in the car. Uber & Lyft, predictably, are opposing the bill.

Pre-paid cards and Wal-Mart are both generally terrible—but together, they’re trying to get low-income Americans to save.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Oh Uber, maybe focus less on the gimmicks, and more on making your company less of a dumpster fire?


Organizing Theory

Interesting first-person account of shareholder activism, by two professors who decided to step out of academia.

From Partners

Nerd alert! Descartes Labs is building a set of maps that will allow global forecasting.

Geeking Out

Steve Ballmer (yes, that Steve Ballmer) just launched a website designed to increase awareness of government spending.

It’s not every day that a person who admits, in the first paragraph of a story, to making $700K a year writes a piece that I find sympathetic. But this essay on how poverty is a disease—and the cure is not meritocracy—managed to pull it off.

Cage match: thumbs up vs. five stars?

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Should gig economy companies dump the five-star rating system for a thumbs-up/thumbs-down, like Netflix just did? Or maybe just stop terminating workers for being anything less than close to perfect?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Etsy’s a sharing economy company that seems particularly committed to sustainability. Check out their efforts to track—and reduce—waste in all their corporate offices, worldwide.

Cities in the UK are interested in learning how to better support worker cooperatives from the US’s Democracy Collaborative.

Will a bilingual financial app help close the wealth gap between whites and Latinos?

From Partners

Journalist friends: the New Economy Coalition is giving $1K grants to reporters that cover the new economy. See here for info.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

FedEx has started using robots, instead of people, to deliver things inside its repair facility.

Ontario may become one of the first governments in the world to seriously regulate temporary employment—including banning the practice of perma-temping.

Yet another of Uber’s business practices has been called into question. And it’s called “Hell” inside the company, so they probably had some inkling when they started the thing…

It’s sometimes hard to tell if the gig economy is driving a race to the bottom in online-only work, in part because it’s hard to know what to compare it to. If an American company hires you to transcribe something, and you’re sitting in the Phillipines, are you undercutting American workers? Filipino workers? Whose labor laws apply?

Organizing Theory

Indivisible has given millions of Americans insight into how to hold Congresspeople accountable. What if we had similar guides in how to influence the regulatory process of government departments?

The US is no longer shaming employers who kill or injure workers.

The Perils of Trumpism

In the Trump Administration, OSHA is not only no longer shaming employers publicly for killing workers—they’ve also lost the ability to enforce safety violations that happened more than 6 months before a firm is cited.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

What’s going on inside Costco’s corporate culture, that makes it so different than other shopping behemoths?

The EEOC just settled one of the largest age discrimination cases in US history against a restaurant chain.

The UK group that represents HR professionals has done a study of the gig economy there, and made some recommendations about what it means for the future of work across the pond.

So you wanna talk about the impact of robots on jobs in the US? Here’s a paper that involves lots of math & shiny equations. Bonus points if you can explain “commuting zones” in language the president can understand. The IMF is also forecasting that technology is taking a bigger bite out of workers’ wages than trade is, worldwide.

From Partners

This new ProPublica study demonstrates that auto insurers discriminate, in selling insurance, on the basis of race.

Geeking Out

Which companies are best poised to profit from self-driving cars? Hint: not necessarily Uber.


Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Take a step beyond Universal Basic Income to learn about Universal Basic Assets.

Habitat for Humanity is launching a campaign to raise money & awareness around affordable housing—in part in reaction to Trump’s HUD budget cuts.

Events

In NYC? Go see friend-o’-the-blog Sarah Jaffe at the Workmen’s Circle, later this month.

Flying taxis may be here sooner than you think

Geeking Out

Pizza* by robot, coming to Europe this summer.

Well, we might be getting flying taxis sooner than you think.


What’s Going on in the Workforce

UPS thinks that 3D printing is likely to disrupt the global supply chain, so they’re retooling some warehouses to be able to house printing supplies and services, instead of goods shipped from elsewhere.

In stark contrast to the Treasury secretary, apparently the CEO of Yum Brands believes that fast food workers will be replaced by robots in the next 10 years.

And on that note—here’s the MIT Tech Review’s take on robotic grocery stores.

Organizing Theory

h/t to my coworker Anza Becnel, the organizer who conducted a warrants clinic that helped 1300+ New Orleanians to get out from under traffic warrants that kept them from being able to move forward—because they couldn’t afford to pay outstanding tickets.

Tenant organizers partnered with a non-profit startup to launch an app for documenting landlord violations.

From Partners

The fine gents at Future Left interviewed me for their podcast last week on the future of work/future of labor. Listen here. (You’ll have to do that for me, because I can’t listen to the sound of my own voice without cringing.)

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Since Congress wants your browsing history to be a commodity, why not give those pesky ISPs even more than they’ve asked for? Check out the new plug-in, Noiszy, which creates additional data “noise” while you’re browsing. And here’s an article from the creator, explaining why it’s a good idea.

*Assuming that you accept Dominos as pizza.

What if your phone’s location history helped you win a wage theft case?

Geeking Out

Check out this technically complicated but amazing Medium post about how some Penn students partnered with a legal services agency and built an app that uses location history on a worker’s phone to provide evidence in a wage theft case.

MIT has supported lots of “disruption.” But now they’re set to award someone $250K for disobedience.

Organizing Theory

If you’ve ever incorporated a 501c3 from scratch, you’ll know it’s a PITA. This new startup (founded by an African American woman) is aiming to reduce those pain points.

From Partners

Our States has launched a new website tracking both state-level progressive and conservative legislation around immigration, voting rights, reproductive justice, policing & protest and more.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Here’s a a super-interesting way that music-lovers are supporting musicians in Austin.

I’m not gonna lie—reading about the blockchain makes my head hurt. But if people are going to start using it to verify global supply chains, smart people on our side better start understanding it.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Uber is hit with complaints about not providing adequate service to the disabled again, this time in El Paso. And while we’re on Uber’s bad news of the week, they’ve suspended all self-driving car tests, after an accident in Arizona.

Instacart just settled a class-action lawsuit, brought by workers, for $4.6M. The suit was triggered after an in-app change made it unclear that a newly-instituted service fee was not a tip that would be passed on to the delivery person. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2017/03/24/instacart-pays-4-6-million-to-settle-workers.html

The Perils of Trumpism

Well, apparently the Treasury Secretary doesn’t think losing jobs to automation is something we need to worry about. I guess he hasn’t been reading this blog. Or this new survey from Price Waterhouse Cooper.

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.

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.

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?