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.

It’s been a long-term dream of mine to use a gif from The Wire in HtU…

 

Original Content
Earlier in the month, I talked to David Unger about his work to educate high school students in New York about their rights at work.
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.

Geeking Out
Robots assemble an Ikea chair. One wonders how much whiskey was consumed.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Taxi coops are much better for drivers than platforms like Uber & Lyft.
Survey Monkey just decided to offer benefits to their subcontractors—including health insurance, time off & transportation.

 


What’s Going on in the Workforce
Long, but interesting read about the perils of crab fishing in Alaska.
British reporter goes undercover in an Amazon warehouse, discovers bottle filled with urine, as workers don’t feel they have time to go to the bathroom.
The push for a 28-hour workweek continues in Germany, spreading to other unions beyond IG Metall.
Is Uber luring people away from restaurant jobs (I guess the tipped minimum wage isn’t too hard to overcome)?

 


Reputation, reputation, reputation
Women, we need to get involved in AI, before it’s full of male-programmed bias.

 


Robot of the Week
Because what’s better than Alexa creepily & inexplicably laughing in your house? Well, what if Alexa could follow you around while doing so?

“…the American Chopper meme has altered the way my brain works…”


Organizing Theory
“Preferential” memes like the American Chopper can certainly be used by campaigns and organizers—how have they taken over certain subsets of the internet?

When you’re working with humans, you are invariably dealing with some kind of trauma. Is your organization thinking about how staff might be triggered?

 


Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Crowdfunding to deal with housing and health care emergencies can reinforce privilege bias, as people with digital and story-telling skills tend to do better at it.

Reputation, reputation, reputation
After watching the Facebook Senate hearings, Cathy O’Neil is proposing a Data Bill of Rights.

From Partners
The National Bail Out collective has released a toolkit to teach organizations how to set up a bail fund—and support the recently bailed-out—in cities across the US. https://nomoremoneybail.org/#top

Geeking Out
Want to learn more about using encrypted messaging systems to protect your organizing? Check out this piece.

 


What’s Going on in the Workforce
Uber says they worked with drivers to redesign the driver side of the app, which rolled out in two cities last week.
A Danish union has signed the first-ever collective bargaining agreement with a platform company, including a guarantee of a minimum payment of 19 euros per hour (about $23.41).
The San Francisco Federal Reserve just did a study that shows companies’ reliance on part-time and temporary labor is not receding, post-recession.

Events
The 2018 Worker Cooperative National Conference will be held on Sept. 14-16 in LA.
Opportunity Agenda is having a webinar on developing Future over Fear narratives.

“…passengers who tip nearly always converse…”

What’s Going on in the Workforce
This Lyft driver analyzed 50 rides, to see if he could discover any common threads around tipping. “The conclusion: passengers who tip nearly always converse, but it isn’t necessarily the case that all passengers who converse are those who tip.”

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Tightshift Laboring Cooperative (which was founded by returning citizens) is looking for financial help to meet their goal of buying a new truck & moving insurance. Watch their video, and kick in a couple of bucks.

Los Angeles is trying to ameliorate its housing crisis by seeing if they can make it easier for homeowners to build an in-law apartment in their back yard.

Paypal wants to expand its business to appeal to the unbanked, as well.

Shout out to all my friends who are organizing actions against Amazon HQ2 coming to their communities, this week and beyond.

All week she’s cleaned someone else’s house, stared down her own face in the shine of copper– bottomed pots, polished wood…

 

Original Content
Last week, I got a chance to talk to Australian labor activist Tim Lyons, about his recent paper.
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.
Reputation, reputation, reputation
It’s hard to manage your reputation online, in the gig economy, especially for domestic workers who may face sexual harassment at work.

 

Geeking Out
How I learned to stop worrying and love automation? Two words. Cake Bot.
What’s Going on in the Workforce
It’s been a while since we’ve had an article about manufacturing via 3D printing—so here’s one that should make you a tiny bit worried, if you’re involved in heavy manufacturing via the aviation industry.
In an interesting (and some might say, out of character) twist, Amazon has decided to directly hire housecleaners as employees, instead of independent contractors, for their marketplace app in Seattle.
Uber is not renewing their permit to test self-driving cars in California.  They’re also shutting down their delivery service, Uber Rush, in June.
Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Waymo announced last week that, as of 2020, they’ll have the capacity for a million driverless trips per day. Alexis Madrigal has some thoughts about what we should consider BEFORE that happens.
In an interesting mashup of Strike Debt and performance art, these London artists are creating fake money to sell for real money to buy real people’s debt and then forgive it.
Interesting interview with two of the leaders of Cooperation Richmond, which is looking to promote sustainable, worker-owned businesses in Richmond, CA.

What are we teaching our kids about how to stand up at work?

Original Content
The March for Our Lives, the Fight for 15, and the Fair Workweek campaign has given me some thoughts about teaching teenagers their rights on the job.
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.
Organizing Theory
“I am concerned for a number of reasons about unions relying on a message about the need for law reform, as we currently are, to support a narrow political mobilisation strategy.” As true in the US as it is in Australia. Read this important paper from Tim Lyons on his thinking about what Australian unions should do to revitalize their movement—and think about what it means for us in the States. (My particular favorite? “Stop what doesn’t work.”)
Read past the “gee whillikers, the kids are alright!” tone & soak in the detailed overview of how a modern-day cadre organization gets things done, in the form of March for Our Lives organizing.
Reputation, reputation, reputation
Will your insincere apology someday keep you from buying a train ticket in China?
Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
In the evidentiary hearing for “corporate subsidies are terrible public policy,” this should come first.
Thousands of Uber drivers in India went on strike last week, demanding that the company guarantee them the level of pay they signed up for when they were recruited.
You will have a hard time forgetting these images of thousands of unused ride-sharing bikes, in China.
The Lens does an in-depth analysis of New Orleans’ Airbnb law, which has been hailed as a national model. Should it?
From Partners
Coworker.org’s Jess Kutch & Michelle Miller on changes to Slack’s privacy policy—and what that might mean for as workers self-organize through Slack.
Geeking Out
ProPublica goes into great detail about how they sourced a story about age discrimination at IBM.
What’s Going on in the Workforce
Hey Amazon, what’s up with your only hiring virtual customer service associates in certain states? I wonder if my friends at NELP can tell me what these states have in common…
Workers at digital organizing firm Revolution Messaging have organized with CWA.
Remember when Handy wanted to partner with labor organizations to pass its bill that gave them safe harbor from misclassification lawsuits & provided a tiny amount of benefits? Well now they’re passing the safe harbor, but none of the benefits, in some states.
Thanks to HtU reader Jay Youngdahl for inviting me to speak to your class at CUNY last night–I had a great time talking with your students!

What’s in a name?

Original Content
Last week, I interviewed David Jay, the creator of Nametag, a service for connecting online communities in spaces that allow for challenging conversations to happen with peace and love.
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
Last year, Ikea bought Task Rabbit—now they’ve announced an integrated service to put your furniture-spelled-with-an-å together.
What’s next in green transportation? Battery-powered boats.
Uber will now be sharing anonymized data about how and when users move around London with city planners.
Geeking Out
If you’re an old like me, you may have missed the snap map of all the school walkouts that happened last week.
From Partners
Confused by the news about Cambridge Analytica’s use of FB personality quizzes and memes to influence the US election in 2016? Check out Ben Werdmuller’s explainer.
What’s Going on in the Workforce
Restaurant industry cloaks its fear that workers are talking to each other about organizing by instructing employers to protect employee privacy by not sharing contact info.
Delivery service and other gig workers commonly use private chat groups to exchange work tips and organize for better pay and benefits. Now Australian food delivery service, Foodora, has fired a courier for refusing to turn over control of a private chat room.
OSF points out the need to protect freelance journalists—not just economically, but to ensure their physical safety as well.
After what appears to be the first recorded self-driving car fatality this weekend in AZ, Uber has suspended tests of their pilot.
Organizing Theory
h/t to Teen Vogue for explaining what a union is to their readers.