12 December 2015

When Labor Groups and Silicon Valley Capitalists Join Forces to “Disrupt” Protections for Employees

BY Jay Youngdahl and Darwin BondGraham

At the recently convened White House Summit on Worker Voice, President Obama argued that the central economic problem of the day is making sure that everyone who works hard is “getting paid a decent wage with decent benefits, [and] everybody has some basic economic security.” To achieve these goals, Obama said that the power of workers to take collective action must be strengthened. But if a recent letter signed by a number of union leaders, nonprofit executives and tech investors is any indication, advocates for collective action by workers should be concerned.

Recently, 39 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) staffers and leaders, a network of “alt labor” groups and CEOs of and investors in some of the fastest growing “sharing economy” companies signed an open letter titled “Common ground for independent workers.” The letter argues that the on-demand economy is “fundamentally changing the economic landscape across the country, adding value to consumers’ lives and bringing new opportunities for workers.”


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