Don’t shop white supremacy–boycott Amazon on Prime Day!

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Amazon workers in Spain were on strike yesterday and today to disrupt the company’s Prime Day success, while in the US , groups upset about Amazon’s sales of white supremacist merchandise staged actions outside the company’s locations.

Philly newsrooms have joined together in a very interesting year-long reporting project called “Broke in Philly.” Here, one local tv station looks at the phenomenon of side hustles, because people can’t afford to live on just one (and most of them aren’t hustling through apps).

The folks at have put together a how-to talk to your coworkers about human rights issues, if you want to impact your company’s behavior.

Striking Uber drivers in Kenya have forced the company to sign an agreement that they won’t cut fares.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

It’s not easy to be a whistleblower. Here’s a long read from David Dayen about one man’s fight against sexual harassment, inside one of the biggest global banks.

Companies say they’re “powered by AI.” Sometimes, the I isn’t so A.

Uber has laid off all its self-driving car testers.

From Partners

Classism Exposed is running a great series of first-person blog posts, talking about the experience of poverty.

Geeking Out

Tim Berners-Lee (you know, the guy who kind of invented the internet as we know it) is working on a new system to allow us all to actually control our own data—regardless of what platform we’re using it on.

Two Things!

I’ll be on vacation next week, so there won’t be a Hack the Union on Tuesday, July 24.

The week after that, I’ll be at Netroots Nation–ping me, if you want to meet up for coffee or a drink in New Orleans!

TIL that “gavel cake” is a much better google image search than “caveman cake”

Organizing Theory

What can established organizations learn from the start-up efforts of young movements?

If you’re counting on a hashtag to bring attention to your cause, read this analysis of how hashtag hijacking affected #familiesbelongtogether.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

A detailed look at how housing cooperatives work.

Tech coops are upending the paradigm of what building startups can look like.

You may have missed it in the daily churn of news—but tech workers in San Francisco rallied yesterday to call on Salesforce to end their contract with the Customs & Border Patrol.

Geeking Out

I don’t really understand why a robotic frozen yogurt dispenser needs to be gendered, but you do you, robot folks.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“…across the economy, companies have shown a remarkable unwillingness to boost wages, with growth barely keeping pace with inflation even as the unemployment rate has dropped to 4 percent.” So this is what full employment looks like?

Retailers that have experimented with robots are moving away from in-store adoption—but they’ve replaced robots with AI.


Are you a Black feminist? If you are (or you work with one), consider attending this Black Feminist Organizing School.

sexual harassment is a workers’ rights issue

Original Content

Last week, National COSH launched a new network to fight sexual harassment on the job. Read my story about it here, and sign on to join that network 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 ($2/mo?) to help us keep it up and running.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Data & Society has just released a new report, looking at the impact of the gig economy & platform work across domestic work and ride sharing services.

If you need a good example of why worker power matters, check out this article about Amazon’s experiments in employee-mediated grievance process.

There’s a trucker & bus driver shortage brewing, in the US. Maybe we should all be encouraging our Lyft drivers to go to commercial driving school…

And while we’re on the subject of turning what used to be professional driving jobs into contract gigs—here’s a good piece about what it’s like to drive for Amazon Flex.

Geeking Out

A majority of Americans believe that robots will develop the ability to carry out most human activities, over the next 30 years. These ones are already better acrobats than I will ever be.

From Partners

EPI went looking for the missing piece of last month’s Contingent Worker Survey data, by going through tax filings from 2000-2015, and concluded that independent contracting has gone up somewhat, over the past 15 years, but not as a primary source of employment for most people.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Cities are starting to get sued to reveal their Amazon HQ2 bids.

Ride-sharing drivers in New York will now be able to get vision insurance, through the Black Car Fund.

Just give 5 stars. Don’t quibble.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Repeat after me: “Any time someone’s boss asks me to rate them (especially using software), I will give them five stars unless I literally feared for my safety.” Caroline O’Donovan has a devastating look at how restaurant iPads are getting servers fired, and enabling discrimination.

Amazon workers in the EU have announced a general strike at Amazon in the second week of July, hoping to maximize their impact by hitting the company’s Prime Day sales.

Care workers in New Zealand just won massive pay increases from the government, based on the fact that women’s work has historically been undervalued.

The Century Foundation takes a deeper look at the new Contingent Work Survey data.

Robot chef cooks hamburgers in San Francisco fast food place.

Geeking Out

I’m not going to lie—this video of robots packing grocery orders looks like it would make a video game that I’d be obsessed by for about a week.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

The ACLU is continuing to demand that Amazon stop selling facial recognition software to police departments and other law enforcement agencies, given the extreme racial inequity in American policing. And Amazon employees have weighed in with the company too.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Founder of the now-defunct Josephine (a service for home-based cooks to sell food) is looking for input on a piece of legislation designed to legalize home-based cooks, including input on how to protect workers’ rights.

Uber is pushing drivers to adopt cleaner vehicles, by offering unspecified financial bonuses & some in-app features specific to those with electric cars.

From Partners

I’m curious about this new push to organize for racial equity at the local level in cities across the US, through policy work. Anyone out there involved in this?

Is it Janus Day?

Did you know that Janus is the Greek god of transitions? Note to self–try to work that into your next “whither the labor movement” take. 

Organizing Theory

Are you constantly hitting ‘refresh’ to see if the Janus decision came out yet? Give your browser a break and read this post about how teachers’ unions in Detroit survived, despite suffering their own mini-Janus six years ago.

Read through the corporate-speak to ask yourself: does my organization have anything like this approach to developing a workplace culture, from Day 1 on? As someone who’s changed jobs a lot, I can tell you that few progressive groups approach on-boarding with anywhere near this level of competency.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

If your city or state wins an Amazon HQ2 bid, workers might be paying their taxes to the boss.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Amazon games the system of “voluntary time off” to deprive warehouse workers of full-time pay.

Uber drivers went on strike in South Africa earlier this week, protesting the company’s fees as fuel prices skyrocket.

Drones and robots are being used in the construction of a new methane cracking plant in Western PA.

Apologies for the late delivery of Hack the Union. It’s been a week. 

“People go to Microsoft or Salesforce for software. People go to Uber or Lyft for a ride.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“People go to Microsoft or Salesforce for software. People go to Uber or Lyft for a ride.” The SF City Attorney, on why he subpoenaed 3 years’ worth of driver info from Uber & Lyft, after a recent CA Supreme Court decision made establishing worker misclassification easier.

Are “super jobs” burning out IT professionals?

If you work remotely & can live anywhere, Vermont wants you. And they’ll pay to get you.

Kudos to my friends at OUR Walmart for their work to influence the shareholders of the country’s largest brick & mortar retailer. You know you’re scaring them, when they change the format of their shareholders meeting.

Geeking Out

Y’know…my birthday is coming soon

Organizing Theory

A new Medium team wants to teach organizers the best productivity apps to use in political & community organizing contexts.

From Partners

Moshe Marvit takes a look at the recent Supreme Court decision around forced arbitrations, and concludes that it may make matters worse for workers in other ways, too.

The Aspen Institute launched a Gig Economy Data Hub last week.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“…any movement that wants to address economic inequality in this country must have a financial agenda and a political one.” Will the #BankBlack movement help move the needle on racial inequality?

Possibly unprecedented: Bloomberg columnist tells companies to stop whining about skills gap, start raising wages.

We’ve moved pretty firmly into an era where internet access is an economic driver. So why isn’t access to broadband (which millions of Americans lack) an issue in more electoral campaigns?

Some of us talk about the birth lottery on a regular basis—here’s a detailed portrayal of exactly how it works to capture wealth for the top 10% of Americans. h/t to Mustafa Rashed for this one.

Freelance Isn’t Free Act has recouped over $250K for NYC freelancers, just one year in

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Last week was the one-year anniversary of NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act—the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs put out a report on their year one activity, showing they’d recouped more than $250K in late or unpaid invoices for freelancers.

Facing pressure by activists and victims of sexual violence, Uber & Lyft announced last week that they would no longer require victims to pursue remedies through mandatory arbitration.

Freelance contracting sites Fiverr and AND CO want to start taking steps to protect freelancers from sexual harassment, with new contract language.

How will rental car companies adapt, in the age of self-driving cars?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Should everyone sign up to drive for Uber at some point? The Rideshare Guy thinks so.

A look at what one UNITE HERE local is doing to fight against the sexual harassment of female hotel workers.

This new paper looks at the effect of minimum wage increases, and concludes that higher minimum wages would help ameliorate income inequality.

Meet Larry Williams Jr., founder of Unionbase

Original Content
Have you wanted to set up a social site for your union, but don’t want to give all your members’ data to Facebook? Check out my interview with Unionbase founder, Larry Williams Jr.
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 ($2/mo?) to help us keep it up and running.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
No doubt you’ve seen the news that various Senate Democrats who may or may not have 2020 aspirations recently co-sponsored the biggest proposed changes to federal labor law in many decades.

Excellent worker-coop news out of Cleveland, where the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry is about to triple in size, thanks to their innovative partnership with the Cleveland Clinic.

Larry Mishel dives deep into the math of how he determined that average hourly wages for Uber drivers are less than $10 in this new paper.

The death of a Philly Caviar bike delivery person prompts the question: what kinds of compensaton benefits are gig economy companies avoiding, by classifying their workers as independent contractors?

What’s Going on in the Workforce
Unite HERE’s Culinary 226 is bargaining about the impact of automation on their workforce, in their contracts with Vegas hotels.

“The gig economy is not the future of work. The future of work, however, will center around and resemble today’s freelance economy because freelancing meets human needs.”

Chinese millennials in the tech industry are pushing back against the country’s “996” culture (referring to the expectation that people work from 9a-9p, 6 days per week.

“I know it when I see it.” New report from Barclay’s about the potential impact of automation on jobs is worth reading for no other reason than that it quotes the famous test of indecency, as an example of things that AI has a really hard time doing, and humans don’t.

Is technology helping to burn out doctors?

“Criminalisation renders sex workers unable to lay claim to any of the basic labour rights afforded workers in legal industries.” You’re not hearing much about the fight against FOSTA in labor circles, but it is a labor rights fight.

Reputation, reputation, reputation
Imagine if, instead of using algorithmic predictions to over-surveil communities of color, police departments used them to keep an eye on corporate criminals?

Geeking Out
While some of Boston Dynamics robots make us worried about the rise of Skynet, this one seems to be causing people no worries at all, as it looks like it will fall over in a hard wind.

You’ll get a charge out of this

What’s Going on in the Workforce
When they said that technology would create jobs we couldn’t imagine five years ago, I didn’t think they were talking about being a scooter-recharger.

I guess if your boss is monitoring your emotional state via WIRELESS SENSORS ATTACHED TO  YOUR BRAIN, he can’t really get that upset when he figures out you’re mad at him.

Target is testing in-store robots to help with restocking.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos probably aren’t both in the running to be the next Bond villain—but maybe they should be.

Reputation, reputation, reputation
How ICE mines local police databases to sweep up immigrants.

I’m trying to imagine what would happen if I did my job wrong 92% of the time. That’s the error rate this facial recognition system has been coming up with, and yet it’s somehow still in use…


Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Worker coops are providing vital child care to women who work in informal economies, world-wide.

The NYC Controller’s office took a look at how Airbnb is impacting access to affordable housing in the city.

Unite HERE is lobbying against California state workers being able to use peer-to-peer services on work-related travel.


Can free trade teach us something about how to respond to technological unemployment?

From Partners
The Century Foundation examines the prospect of technological unemployment—and posits that TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) might provide a blueprint for creating policy solutions for workers who are displaced by automation.
Check out this new toolkit, produced by the Ella Baker Center, Enlace & Black Alliance for Just Immigration, for building campaigns for Freedom Cities.

What’s Going on in the Workforce
How much have you heard about the fast food workers in Portland who won a NLRB election last week? Me neither.
Cornell has put out an analysis of workers’ wages on Mechanical Turk, showing that the average crowd-worker earns a median wage of $2/hour.

Geeking Out
The Onlabor blog takes a look at the law around forced labor, in the US—and exceptions to the 13th Amendment.

Organizing Theory
Students from some of the country’s most elite business schools penned this op ed about why business schools should do a better job of teaching students how to consider the needs of workers, not just shareholders.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Head of HR at the Gates Foundation talks about the practical implications of giving new parents (of any gender) 52 weeks off to bond with a new child.