When do I get my personal book bot?

Geeking Out

I can’t wait until the day I can install a Book Bot in my own house, to catalog my sizable library. 

The robot video you didn’t know you needed: serving sushi

The Perils of Trumpism

The NLRB just rescinded their opinion that graduate students are workers. Will this mean expansion of more state laws, giving student workers the right to organize? 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

In a strike wave, it’s good to know your rights. Kudos to Vox for publishing this “five things you need to know about going on strike that you were afraid to ask.”

Reputation, reputation, reputation

“…at this point, one would have to be pretty desperate to give a company with Facebook’s history any insight into their romantic life.” Dating and desperation do sometimes go hand in hand, though… 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Southern low-wage workers convened in North Carolina for a summit to talk about how to lift wages in specific workplace fights as well as in political arenas. 

Uber is suing NYC over the city’s cap on rideshare drivers’ ability to cruise without passengers. (The city created the cap both to improve the likelihood that drivers could earn a living wage, and to reduce pollution.)  New York drivers organized a 1,000-car protest of Uber’s move, last week. 

Seattle is gearing up to pass a new tax on ride-share companies, designed at supporting public transit development & funding a driver support center. 

Fort Collins, CO is setting up its own broadband network, to compete with Comcast within the city limits. They’ll charge $60/month for comparable fiber internet connections. 

Trans women of color are starting a worker-owned cooperative beauty salon in Queens. 

Concerned about food deserts? This new study suggests that worker- or non-profit-ownership and community input are more likely predictors of success than the involvement of for-profit grocery chains. 

Who wore it best?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

As you likely saw, last week California gave a huge boost to gig workers, by passing an “ABC test” for contractors, in the form of AB 5. I had some thoughts about the Trumpian nature of the TNC companies responses… 

Facing South makes the case that the South could flip the senate, next year. All the more reason to promote more worker organizing there. 

The OECD is working to figure out how to incorporate algorithms into legislation that creates rules around transportation and transit. One idea? Program self-driving cars to obey the speed limits set in geo-fenced areas

The FTC is investigating Amazon’s behavior towards third-party sellers as an anti-trust violation. 

From Partners

Congrats to our friends at the Freelancers’ Union, who last week passed a bill to extend civil rights and anti-harassment protections to freelancers in New York City. 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

The passage last week of California’s AB5 wasn’t just a victory for ride-share drivers. Here’s a look at what other kinds of independent contractors will be covered (and some that are still exempted). (And a big shout out to our friends at Gig Workers’ Rising for helping to make this happen!) 

Yoga instructors in New York City are seeking to form a union

I mean, sure Jeff Bezos is the richest man on earth, and could probably single-handedly end hunger in the United States…but instead, he’s cutting off health care for all of Whole Foods’ part-timers. 

Organizing Theory

Delivery ride-alongs and bike repair clinics—this Canadian union has developed some unique strategies for organizing food delivery workers. 

Planned Parenthood developed an anonymous chatbot, to help answer teens’ questions about sex, gender, puberty & more. 

Geeking Out

Google’s AI voice assistant is apparently good enough at conversation to fool a receptionist at a hair salon. But my mom? Hmm. 


Looking to pick a fight about state-level preemption in Pennsylvania? Check out this posting from our friends at the Partnership for Working Families. 

What do Major League Baseball & Uber have in common?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

For once, a story about an Uber/Lyft driver, where Uber/Lyft don’t come off as the bad guy. Instead, it’s Major League baseball, which apparently pays players in the minor leagues so poorly that at least one was driving rideshare as a side hustle. 

Chinese ride-share company Didi Chuxing says it will launch self-driving cars in Shanghai. 

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Gig economy site offers spying on your spouse for just $5! 

Geeking Out

h/t to Scott Mintzer for pointing this story out—about a MIT student who has programmed a computer to “read” his thoughts. No, really. 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Is it predictable that newspapers would try to protect the ability to pay journalists as freelancers? Yes. Is it predictable that they would do so by sneaking that into an opinion piece about how newspaper delivery persons should be independent contractors? Well, I didn’t see it coming… 

“I can pay the rent and the energy bill and the cellphone. That’s it. There’s no way to make sure the kids have everything they need, or even to dress halfway decent. Sometimes I braid hair to make extra money.” In the wake of the Popeyes’ sandwich craze, Alexia Fernandez Campbell talks to one manager about her struggles to live on $10/hour

Here’s an interesting look at how a programmer describes wiping out four people’s jobs in the interest of “efficiency.” 

A surgeon has successfully performed heart surgery via robot, on a patient 20 miles away, for the first time. 

An incredible look into the many crashes (some fatal) that Amazon delivery drivers get into—and the lengths that the company goes to, to escape culpability. 

From Partners

This new paper looks at the impact of algorithmic management on Uber drivers & concludes that they hate it. (But it might be supporting their burgeoning baseball career, so hey.)


In DC? Check out “The Color of Surveillance” on Nov. 7 at Georgetown.