Posts Tagged ‘employment’

Uber’s Employment Model: Sharecropping.

May 15, 2019

Uber's Employment Model: Sharecropping.

After the Civil War, when plantation owners were deprived of a chattel slave workforce, they implemented a form of peonage euphemistically called “sharecropping.” The landowners contracted poor black and white laborers to work their fields as tenants. These independent contractors did the backbreaking work in return for a small share of cotton harvest proceeds, often absorbing the costs of farming and bad harvests. That’s the employment model of rideshare companies like Uber.

Think of Uber’s digital platform as the plantation’s cotton fields. Uber lets the drivers plow use it if they turn over most of their cotton fare money to the plantation platform owner. Drivers absorb the costs of fuel, cellphone, car loans, permits, insurance, and maintenence. And if their mule car dies, the platform owner lets them buy a new one at subprime rates. Healthcare and retirement benefits? Nope.

Drivers are catching on, and so is the public. No wonder rideshare companies are pushing so hard for autonomous vehicles. After all, they automated the cotton fields, didn’t they?

 

More:

“Uber and the labor market,” Lawrence Mishel, The Economic Policy Institute

“Strike All You Want. Uber Won’t Pay a Living Wage.” Sarah Jeong, New York Times

“‘It’s a Laughable Fiction’: How Uber’s $82 Billion Valuation Was Built on a Lie to Its Workers.” Brianna Provenzano. Pacific Standard

“How Corporate Delusions of Automation Fuel the Cruelty of Uber and Lyft,” Brian Merchant, Gizmodo

Related:

“Research: Ride Share Has Increased San Francisco Traffic,” Rachen Swan, SF Chronicle, via Government Technology

“Uber Is a Scam,” Doug Henwood, Jacobin

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Image derived from “In a Cotton Field” by Horace Bradley, from Harper’s Weekly, August 1887 (Library of Congress).

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It Takes a Village of Undocumented Workers to Run Trump Golf Resorts

February 13, 2019

It Takes a Village of Undocumented Workers to Run Trump Golf Resorts

Candidate Donald Trump railed against U.S. employers who hire undocumented workers, but his golf resorts were built by them, including the “Summer White House” at Bedminster, NJ. Villagers from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala were knowingly hired by Trump Golf managers as construction laborers, heavy equipment operators, landscapers, kitchen staff, and housekeepers for about two decades. After the Washington Post broke a story about undocumented workers at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester NY, where Eric Trump lives, these long-time Trump employees were all swiftly fired, and other Trump resorts shortly followed suit.

The Trump Organization did not use the federal E-Verify system except in cases like the DC Trump Hotel, a GSA construction project that required it. Once in operation, the hotel apparently stopped using it.

More:

“‘My whole town practically lived there’: From Costa Rica to New Jersey, a pipeline of illegal workers for Trump goes back years,” Joshua Partlow, Nick Miroff and David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

“Trump’s own undocumented help highlights plight of many immigrants,” Paul Reyes, The Hill

“7 questions about Trump’s use of illegal workers at his golf courses,” David A. Fahrenthold and Joshua Partlow, Washington Post

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Jobs: Nutella Taste-Testers Wanted

August 8, 2018

Jobs: Nutella Taste-Testers Wanted

The Ferrero company, maker of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread, wants to hire 60 Nutella tasters, no experience needed. These assaggiatori di Nutella will be based in Italy and receive training in honing their palettes. Candidates should get in line behind us, per favore.

More:

“Italy is looking for 60 Nutella tasters,” The Local

“This Company Will Pay You to Move to Italy and Eat Nultella For a Living,” Joe McGauley, Thrillist

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Top image (“Still Life with Pewter Jug and Nutella, after Cezanne”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Trump’s Driver Sues Him for 6 Years of Unpaid Overtime

July 16, 2018

Noel Cintron, Donald Trump’s personal driver for more than 25 years, says his boss didn’t pay him overtime and raised his salary only twice in 15 years, clawing back the second raise by cutting off his health benefits. Mr. Cintron is suing his former employer for the back wages.

More:

“Donald Trump’s former driver sues over unpaid wages,” Sabrina Siddiqui, The Guardian

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Mr. Sellack

July 7, 2018

“Mr. Sellack,” written by Terre Roche, performed by her with sisters Suzzy and Margaret as The Roaches, 1980.

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Age Discrimination at IBM

April 25, 2018

IBM is 94 years old, but the corporation has fired 20,000 employees ages 40 and over in the past 5 years. Those employees, even the ones with excellent performance reviews, had something that the company couldn’t abide: salaries commensurate with their experience and seniority.

More:

“Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM,” Peter Gosselin and Ariana Tobin, ProPublica

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Equal Pay Day 2018

April 10, 2018

Equal Pay Day 2018

It’s Pay Equality Day, last of the 99 extra days into 2018 that American women worked to finally make the same amount of wages that men made by Dec. 31, 2017. The concept originated with the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996 as a way to point out the economic injustice of  American women earning 82 cents when men are earning a dollar. Want to change that inequity? Look here.

In a timely decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that employers can’t use workers’ salary histories to justify paying women less.

More:

“When Is Equal Pay Day? 2018 Is The Year Women Can Help Close It Once & For All,” Sarah Friedmann, Bustle

 

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Why there are twice as many solar jobs as coal jobs

March 23, 2018

“The past decade has seen a revolution in residential solar systems. Cheap panels and creative financing options have led to a massive increase in solar installations– and that increase is driving an employment boom. At the same time, the coal industry is experiencing a major downturn. But despite the current political rhetoric, it’s a downturn that’s been in the works for nearly 100 years. Automation, technical advances, and more recently, the rise of cheap natural gas have led to a significant drop in demand, one that the industry may never recover from.”

A Vox video.

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Trump White House: Exit Only

March 14, 2018

Trump White House Staff Stampedes for the Exit

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was dismissed over Twitter. Over three dozen Trump staffers that have resigned, been fired, or been reassigned since Trump took office, an attrition rate of 43%, more than five times the rate of recent administrations. One-third of the White House staff has left. Add to that the countless holdover appointees who have left and the career diplomats and civil servants who escaped the chaos, and you have a government that’s been hollowed out. And you can guess the kind of people who would want to work for such a capricious and studiously uniformed (and uninformable) Chief Executive.

And remember, Trump only fired 15 people each year on The Apprentice.

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Carrier

January 17, 2018

During his 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump won a victory when he convinced the Carrier company to keep 800 manufacturing jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico. But Carrier has laid off some of those Indiana workers due to outsourcing and automation.

A video from The Atlantic

More:

“Carrier Employees, Soon to Be Laid Off, Feel Betrayed by Donald Trump,” Charles Bethea, The New Yorker

Related:

“Labor seeks to break into the debate over robots,” Steve LeVine, Axios

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