May Day: Labor’s moment is here!
At a time when the world continues to spiral from one crisis to another, with disruptive waves of the pandemic cascading into devastating fallouts of war and geo-political conflict, it is hard not to succumb to a deep pessimism. However, these difficult years have also seen heroic struggles, not least from the most precarious and vulnerable of workers at the frontlines of the platform economy.
As we approach May Day 2022, the DataSyn team invites you to join us in commemorating the hard-fought victories of labor movements, to take stock of where we stand and chart the way forward.
This month we have assembled a confluence of key voices from around the world – to reflect on the wider politico-economic conjunctures of labor in the digital economy. Moreover, drawing on our conversations and engagement with workers, policymakers, and scholars, we also have a commentary reflecting on some of the key faultlines of the struggle today.
The DataSyn Team
Towards New Labor Futures: Voices from the Frontlines
Bringing together 21 crucial voices from across the world, these inputs - from workers, activists, campaigners, and scholars at the frontier of labor’s struggles in the platform economy - reflect on what they see as the most significant developments and successes of recent years, the most pressing challenges they have encountered, and the most promising avenues and points of intervention for workers’ rights, as we move ahead.
Glass Half-full? Where the Fight for Worker Equity in the Digital Economy is Headed
Deepti Bharthur & Sreyan Chatterjee
Absorbing lessons from IT for Change’s own work in the labor domain, and culling from a series of insightful conversations around platform work that were recently undertaken as part of an upcoming podcast series on Bot Populi, Deepti Bharthur and Sreyan Chatterjee explore some of the prevailing issues of the digital economy’s labor movement.
The Sins and Synergies Lounge
The recent vote that saw Chris Smalls and the Amazon Labour Union successfully bring the company’s New York workers to form their first US union is one of the most historic labor victories of the year and a truly astonishing story. Read more in the New York Times about what led up to it, and where things are likely headed from here.
Unlike the more long-standing fronts of struggle in sectors like ride-hailing and food delivery, domains of the platform economy such as domestic work and the beauty services sector are at a nascent yet absolutely crucial stage of organized resistance. Listen as Bama Atheya and Soumyarendra Barik reflect on the recent landmark strike by beauty care workers in India on this episode of The Gig podcast.
Growing inequality, worsening labor conditions and the persisting corrosion of the welfare state have called for a rethink of our social contract. However, what are the ingredients of the distorted social contract propagated by platform capitalism? Niels Van Doorn takes up an analysis of this vital question in the Internet Policy Review.
Progressive thought in recent years has increasingly attempted to conceive of a people-centric technological society as one that surmounts the oppressive dictates of ‘work’ itself. Anton Jager critically engages with these post-work imaginaries in the Jacobin.
What are some of the strategies and models that workers have been experimenting with to challenge the platform economy’s domineering imperatives? Explore this through an in-depth study by IT for Change that the International Labour Organization published last year.
As many of the Authors in this month’s issue have highlighted, the courts have been the site of some of the most significant victories for gig-workers in recent years. Now, there is potential for these to be further fortified by far-reaching legislative frameworks as well. Read as Aislinn Kelly-Lyth and Jeremias Adams-Prassl analyze the potential of the EU’s Proposed Platform Work Directive.
A DataSyn collaboration with Barabar Futures
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