“…it soon became a beans on toast life.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“…I got a knee injury. I couldn’t work for three months, and there was no sick pay from Deliveroo. I got a bit of statutory sick pay and my grandparents gave me £50 a week, but it soon became a beans on toast life.” Deliveroo & Uber drivers in the UK talk about their struggles with unpredictable income. “…it’s tough to make a living as a full-time driver since you lose a lot of the flexibility and earnings that make the job so desirable.” Can you make a living wage, as more and more people become ride-share drivers? (I bet the taxi drivers already know the answer to this question.)

Odd-job app Handy charges so many fees to its “Pros” (aka workers) that sometimes they’re just working to pay off their debt to the company. Yikes.

Nithin Coca takes a look at the strikes happening in gig economy companies across the globe.

Do workers who are overly-surveilled respond to it by trying even harder to cheat the system?

Millions of American workers believe they are bound by non-compete contracts, even when they live in states that won’t enforce them. The result? Lower wage growth & less economic mobility.

Organizing Theory

“…distributed organizing requires a commitment to build a support structure and to try out some new approaches.” Blueprint for Change, on distributed organizing.

If you only read one thing in this newsletter this week, make it this: TWU president of the local that represents Greyhound drivers pens amazing op ed about how ICE should stop boarding buses without probably cause or a warrant.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Boston’s former CIO has some interesting thoughts about how to change the fees cities charge ridesharing services, to disincentivized traffic. Since a recent study found that nearly half of SF’s traffic woes were related to ride-hailing, this idea deserves serious consideration.

“There is good reason to think that power imbalances play a big part in the rich world’s wage stagnation.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“There is good reason to think that power imbalances play a big part in the rich world’s wage stagnation.” Well, yes.

Josh Eidelson talks to Muslim workers who are organizing to get Amazon to respect their right to prayer breaks and other accommodations for Ramadan.

Welcome to China’s first robot bank. As in, a bank staffed by robots (so far, I don’t think they have cash of their own to deposit).

HR managers: AI is coming for (part of) your jobs.

You’ve probably seen that the BLS put out the results of their Contingent Worker Survey last week, triggering many think pieces about the fact that the gig economy isn’t really happening. (I’m a little mystified by that statement, since the release clearly says that they have not yet finished analyzing the data from new questions about app-based work, which won’t be released till the fall.) But here’s a good piece from the Post about it, which manages to quote both an economist AND a gig worker, so they deserve a Pulitzer. And also a helpful piece by Annette Bernhardt from the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

Organizing Theory

The Animators’ Guild had female animators’ backs, during a recent #metoo case. Check out this unusual method of dealing with member-on-member sexual harassment, through a union hearing. (h/t for Nadia Hewka for sending this my way)

On a related note—this post, by Freada Kapor, on how VC firms should create harassment reporting policies and anti-discrimination practices—is applicable to many more institutions than just the VC field.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Honolulu votes to impose caps on ride-sharing surge pricing.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Future Uber might be using AI to tell your driver that you’re drunk.

“It’s like a whole city scavenger hunt.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“It’s like a whole-city scavenger hunt.” The electric scooter-charging workforce is teenaged and (dare I say it?) hard-charging.

Is converting to worker-ownership one way of fighting against the #metoo culture in the restaurant industry?

Uber just announced that they would start providing health care to 150K drivers in the EU. Why not in the US?

Gas prices are going up for everyone—but it’s hurting Uber & Lyft drivers, as the ride rates aren’t going up.

From Partners

This new paper from World Resources Report shows that more than 50% of workers in the global south are informally employed, and examines some strategies that cities can take to better include these workers in protections and contracting.

Check out this new video from NELP and the Partnership for Working Families about how Uber and other platform companies are using state pre-emption laws to their advantage.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Amazon is selling facial recognition software to police departments. That can’t end well.

Are you as confused as I am about the impact of the new GDPR rules established by the EU? If so, here’s a healthy explainer that might make all those emails clogging your inbox go down just a little more smoothly.

Geeking Out

Starting a bike delivery worker-owned coop? This free software might be right for you. (At least, if you’re in the EU.)

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

We’ve seen a few instances of worker-owned cooperatives in the home care space—but what about the rest of health care?

“Food is the platform for selling you everything else.” Why Amazon acquired Whole Foods, in a nutshell.

Public banks are picking up ground

I don’t even have a category for this one….possible super-wealthy senate candidate launches website that looks like an organization, to convince voters to join a movement for financial security?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Legal weed and divestment campaigns have a common problem—where to send cash? Public banks might be the answer.

With the FCC backing off of net neutrality, some state legislatures are working to ensure an open internet, at least for their own residents.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

An amazing long-read about the private waste collection industry in NYC, and how a shitty company union is help for-profit operators hurt workers—as well as pedestrians & bicyclists—in the city.

For a much lighter look at the world of gig work, here’s a quick hit on what it’s like to be a movie/tv extra.

“Do better than what you can get away with.” Basecamp’s CTO explains why the company pays everyone what they would earn if they worked for a Bay Area tech company and lived in San Francisco—even though no one who works for them fits that description.

The Future of Work is already here, says Politico.

German union IG Metall is striking to redefine “full-time” work as a 28-hour week.


In DC & want to talk about health care reform in 2020? Check out this Century Foundation event on Thursday.

Becker Strategies is offering a 4-day Social Media Strategy training in Oakland in March.

Geeking Out

The only way a laundry-folding machine will be worth $700 to me is if it can fold a fitted sheet better than I can.

It’s the sex-robot-hot-take you’ve been waiting for: maybe it won’t be women who are replaced by sex robots, but men. (I’m listening.)

Organizing Theory

Relay has some thoughts on how not to ruin P2P texting, for organizations and campaigns that use it.

Happy New Year! Now, back to fighting for what we need.

Thanks, everyone who spread the word about Hack the Union in the end of last year—we picked up many new subscribers & followers. And if you forgot to do this in December—there’s still time! 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Here’s a new (to me, at least) effort to create anonymized, workplace-topic conversations inside tech companies.

 “…decades of subsidizing coal profits over investment in human capital and technology has led to a dearth of opportunities for young central Appalachians.” On how coal has messed up West Virginia’s economy, not just its environment, through reverse wealth distribution 

Geeking Out

Check out Campaign Zero’s 2017 Police Violence Report, with data on every US police shooting in 2017. Amazing use of data to tell a story.

Organizing Theory

It’s not every day (or every week. or every month.) that I’ll post something written by a Congressional Republican—but I’ll give Rep. Crawford credit for this post, where he argues that we need a better way for Americans to give their elected representatives feedback than using Facebook & Twitter.

From Partners

The National Women’s Law Center has a good, downloadable toolkit for fighting sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

UberEats is a bigger business than Uber, in some European cities.

Thanks to reader Brad Rothrock, for sending me this piece, about competing narratives about the gig economy.


Social Movement Technologies just posted a slew of free online talks for 2018. Sign up for them here.