We need tech for organizing, not just mobilizing

Original Content

Have you been frustrated in the search for a CRM that actually gets ORGANIZING, not mobilizing? I talk to Martha Grant from Action Builder, about the new worker organizing CRM she’s built in conjunction with the AFL-CIO and Action Network. 

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From Partners

Check out this new site co-created by friend-o’-the-blog Wyatt Closs, Blkpaper, with downloadable Black protest art.  And while you’re in the mood to support Black artist, maybe you want to buy a ticket (or an ad) for Philly’s BlackStar Film Festival, which will serve Black and brown films to an online audience globally, this year. 

Cornell’s ILR is hosting a webinar called “Strategies for a Worker-Centered Re-opening and Recovery” on Wednesday, July 1. Register here

Reputation, reputation, reputation

“Starting with the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, the U.S. government had spent half a century battling discrimination in offline rental markets. Through regulation and enforcement, the efforts had succeeded in reducing rates of discrimination, both in hotels and long-term rentals. Airbnb now raised the prospect of erasing some of these hard-won gains.” What’s Airbnb doing about #AirbnbWhileBlack

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Uber has started selling its ride-hailing tech to public transportation providers.  Not a good look, given that it’s also recently been proved that their algorithm has been putting a higher price on rides to neighborhoods where people of color dominate. Meanwhile, Mexican Uber drivers struck the company on Monday. 

“…for cities and towns experiencing a population decline, or those that have seen the departure or closure of a major employer in recent years, offering cash to remote workers is a relatively simple way to diversify and expand a local economy.” In the wake of COVID-19, even more cities are getting into the game of offering remote workers relocation bonuses

“What’s hot on-screen…doesn’t need to be hot on set.” The relatively new world of onscreen intimacy coordinator is bound to be disrupted by COVID, as tv shows and movies return to filming

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Black organizers and Latinx immigrants banded together to rise up against police and ICE violence in one small North Carolina town. 

Sarah Jaffe talks to folks from the unions at my alma mater, Rutgers University, about their efforts to build a joint table to bargain for the common good of all—faculty, staff & students. 

“Direct action is as ancient as human conflict.”

Organizing Theory

“Direct action is as ancient as human conflict.” Mobilisation Lab takes a look at how direct action strategies can translate for digital organizers

Consumer Reports (no, really), on how to safely take video and photographs to document police behavior, during protests and in other situations. 

From Partners

We’re mostly concerned with how delivery apps like Uber Eats, GrubHub, Door Dash & others hurt their delivery drivers. Here, ILSR looks at why they’re also bad for restaurants—and at what some cities are doing about it. 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“If you’ve had Black employees, but they don’t tend to stay, did you treat it like any other churn problem and learn why?” Tiffany Ashley Bell, with questions for tech folks, some of which are relevant for all organizations. 

Migrant caregivers are stuck with their bosses 24/7 because of coronavirus. 

“The nation’s meatpackers along with federal and state officials have for years planned for pandemic flu outbreaks that could wipe out herds and flocks and threaten America’s food supply. But those efforts focused on animals rather than the army of humans—mostly immigrants, refugees and African Americans—hired to slaughter them and cut them up for restaurants and groceries.” Mother Jones looks at the response of meatpacking processors, to the coronavirus epidemic, and how they have worked to avoid local and state regulation of their plants

Uber continues to lay off office staff—last week, 200 Dutch workers found out they were being let go. 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“As millions of people experience a sudden collapse of their income at the very moment their landlords are allowed to start kicking them out, other bills will also come due. Payments on millions of paused student loans will begin again at the beginning of October; the more than 4 million homeowners who received a six-month pause on their mortgage after April’s mass layoffs will need to start making payments again at the end of October.” The economy is likely to get a lot worse this fall.  

The ILWU is getting ready to shut down West Coast ports on Juneteenth, in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives.

The New York attorney general is interviewing workers in Amazon warehouses about company retaliation against whistleblowers


You might find it hard to believe, but it’s been less than three months since we suspended the weekly newsletter. I’m bringing it back for now. Hope you have all been well, and I know you have all been busy, as the twin impacts of the pandemic and police violence have been felt so hard by the working people of our country–particularly the Black and indigenous people of color in all of our communities. Thank you for everything you are doing to fight for a more just society & economy.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“…there’s a reason why so many elected officials relent when police contracts come up for renewal. The unions have political clout — offering politicians a big voting block of their members and those who support them. They also raise campaign contributions for elected officials who support their agenda.” Buzzfeed takes a look at how police unions influence efforts to reform the behavior of police.  Meanwhile, IBM is getting out of the facial recognition business, citing concerns about how the technology is being used for mass surveillance and racial profiling. 

Today in headlines that would have been hard to explain six months ago: “Uber will bail out food-delivery drivers arrested past curfew.” 

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Workers have filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that the company’s efforts at contact tracing to stop the spread of coronavirus in warehouses. One specific point of contention is that the company is only using surveillance from video cameras (which don’t cover all the areas where people might interact, just the places the company is worried about theft) to inform other workers that they may have been exposed. 

If you know that facial recognition software is effective worse at identifying people of color, maybe don’t use it to find photos to go along with robot-generated articles

“Despite its public statements, black users on Nextdoor are being silenced by community moderators after participating in discussions about race. Some are opting to leave the app altogether while others are considering moving out of their neighborhoods based on what they’ve seen on the platform. ‘As a black person, I don’t feel safe at all using it for anything,’ Kalkidan told The Verge. ‘I’m always terrified, thinking “Oh my god. I already know what so-and-so thinks of us.” This is a very horrible situation to be in.’” NextDoor communities expose racism & white supremacy in mixed-race communities. 

From Partners

New report from NELP: How Black workers are silenced when they try to speak out about COVID concerns in the workplace

Webinar, next week, by the Century Foundation: “Tackling child poverty in the wake of COVID-19” Register here

What’s Going on in the Workforce

CA farmworkers fear the spread of COVID in the crowded housing they are offered by farmers. 

CNN wonders—will the gig economy be the new normal for many people, after COVID?