Indian workers staged one of the largest strikes in human history and no one in the USA noticed

animation

Tens of millions of unionized public sector workers walked off the job last Friday in a one-day strike against PM Modi's plan to privatise public industries and increase foreign investment. It was one of the largest strikes in human history, if not the largest, and took place over Labour Day weekend. Read the rest

Blackballed by machine learning: how algorithms can destroy your chances of getting a job

no-irish-need-apply

The Guardian's published a long excerpt from Cathy O'Neil's essential new book, Weapons of Math Destruction, in which O'Neil describes the way that shoddy machine-learning companies have come to dominate waged employment hiring, selling their dubious products to giant companies that use them to decide who can and can't work. Read the rest

Universities fought unionization's 'one-size-fits-all' using identical arguments

cookie-235799_960_720

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that grad students working at private universities can form unions, something that the universities themselves have fought tooth-and-nail for years, with elite universities posted FAQs explaining why trade unionism was a bad match for academic institutions: that each academic institution was unique, and so unlike any other place, that collective bargaining just couldn't work. Read the rest

Fiction: Sgt. Augmento, Bruce Sterling's robots-take-our-jobs story

dream_90332fb6ca

Bruce Sterling's new short story, "Sgt. Augmento," is an eyeball-kicky post-cyberpunk story full of Sterlingian zeitgeist: in the robots-took-our-jobs future, the narrator joins the army to augment his guaranteed minimum income, but finds that overseeing robot combat isn't to his liking, so he musters out into a precarious existence clinging to the side of the sharing economy. Read the rest

Las Vegas: high unionization rates mean smaller wage-gaps for women, especially older women

animation

Las Vegas is one of America's most unionized cities, and importantly, the unionization rates are especially high in trades dominated by women, such as cocktail servers and hotel cleaners, making Vegas one of the most equal places in America in terms of wage-parity between women and men, and also between young workers and older workers. Read the rest

Kickstarting "The Founder": a dystopian business simulator

Francis Tseng's simulator game invites you to "grow your startup and please those investors until there’s nothing left to give" by building biotech, defense, machine learning, cloud computing, drone and space companies with a crew of employees whose low wages can be mitigated with bulletproof coffee and whose products can be sold with "causewashing" sponsorships of hip music festivals. Read the rest

#Slaveroo: Crowdsourcing a strike-fund for exploited gig economy workers

deliveroo3_cokf8l

"Gig economy" scooter drivers for London's Deliveroo service earn £7/hour plus £1/delivery, and that's nowhere near a living wage: but rather than giving their a pay rise (£9.40/hour, plus £1/delivery, plus petrol, plus tips), Deliveroo wants to cut them all to zero-hours contracts with no hourly wage and £3.75/delivery and they fired all the drivers who asked for a living wage, so naturally, drivers are crowdfunding a strike-fund to fight back. Read the rest

As sewbots threaten Asia's sweatshops, we need to decide who will benefit from automation

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1132

A new International Labour Organization report called ASEAN in transformation: How technology is changing jobs and enterprises predicts that "sewbots" -- sewing robots that can piece together garments with little or no human intervention -- will replace up to 90% of garment and footwear workers in Cambodia and Vietnam in the years to come. Read the rest

Fox's employee contracts may mean Gretchen Carlson will never get her day in court

ailessexism

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment suit against her former boss, Roger Ailes, may be dead before its begun, because Fox News makes all its employees sign "binding arbitration" agreements that force them to use a system of private courts that let corporate America make up its own laws. Read the rest

White House contends with AI's big social challenges, July 7/NYC

ainowbag_reflection2 (1) (1)

Meredith from Simply Secure writes, "Artificial Intelligence is already with us, and the White House and New York University’s Information Law Institute are hosting a major public symposium to face what the social and economic impacts might be. AI Now, happening July 7th in New York City, will address the real world impacts of AI systems in the next next 5-10 years." Read the rest

Cataloging the problems facing AI researchers is a cross between a parenting manual and a management book

animation (1)

Concrete Problems in AI Safety, an excellent, eminently readable paper from a group of Google AI researchers and some colleagues, sets out five hard problems facing the field: robots might damage their environments to attain their goals; robots might figure out how to cheat to attain their goals; supervising robots all the time is inefficient; robots that are allowed to try novel strategies might cause disasters; and robots that are good at one task might inappropriately try to apply that expertise to another unrelated task. Read the rest

Not robots: youth unemployment caused by late retirement, driven by pension precarity

Unemployed_men_queued_outside_a_depression_soup_kitchen_opened_in_Chicago_by_Al_Capone,_02-1931_-_NARA_-_541927

If youth unemployment -- and the lack of good entry-level jobs for college grads -- was being driven by workplace automation, American productivity (value created per hour worked) would be soaring, rather than stagnating. Read the rest

The winners in today's economy work worse hours than yesterday's losers

giphy

Last month's research report on work-hours for high-paid salaried workers from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth paints a picture of a nation where even the winners are losers. Read the rest

Massachusetts bill would force employers to pay half-salary to laid off employees for duration of noncompetes

Massachusetts_Locator_Map

Massachusetts is one of the few places in high-tech America where non-compete agreements are enforceable, a factor that scholars have pointed to in explaining why the state's tech industry has stayed so small relative to California, where the best workers can always move to the best companies. Read the rest

Microsoft will buy Linkedin for $26.2B

linkedin-911794_960_720

The all-cash deal is expected to close by the end of the calendar year, and will be one of the largest acquisitions in tech business history. Read the rest

It's getting harder and harder to use gag clauses to silence laid off workers in America

6812903962_2d7a4dd744_b

In America, it's common practice to make severance pay for laid-off workers contingent on signing a "nondisparagement clause" that prohibits workers from ever speaking ill of their former employers -- some contracts I've seen even prohibit revealing the existence of these clauses, combining silence with secrecy. A winning combination if you're a rapacious corporation engaged in legally questionable labor practices. Read the rest

GOP officials won't let the FEC stop bosses from forcing employees to give to PACs

Coal_mine_Wyoming

The Federal Election Commission has deadlocked on a complaint about an employer who coerced his salaried employees into donating to a PAC he had started; the three Democratic commissioners voted to take action, the three GOP commissioners voted against, and that means that nothing will happen. Read the rest

More posts