The gig economy has been called the future of work, but it?s really just plain 19th-century-style exploitation dressed up in techie garb, harkening back to ye auld days before the labor movement won things like the eight-hour work day, the right to unionize, pensions, health care benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits and job security.
Companies like Uber, Lyft, Taskrabbit and Handy are taking advantage of the 2008 recession that pushed workers off payrolls and into a precarious job market where there is less work to go around and wages aren’t close to what they used to be. In order to get by, today’s labor force has to take what it can get. More and more, they’re forced to turn to software platforms that hyper-exploit contingent labor. But while Silicon Valley is turning back the clock on workers rights and fracturing moments of class unity, workers all over the world are organizing and fighting back. Come to consider how we can become more organized as a class here in the New York City area.
Peter Rugh is Associate Editor at The Indypendent. He has previously conducted journalism for BBC, VICE and VICE News. In addition to reporting on the gig economy, Peter has also worked in it and will share his first-hand experiences along with those of other on-demand workers.