Issue 18: The workers are on strike

21 Sep 2018

Thousands of workers on strike this week from East London to the Bay Area is filling us with confidence and optimism as we head into the weekends. More and more workers are standing up and taking action to change their conditions.

Yesterday in London, Uber Eats couriers were on strike yesterday to protest 40% pay cuts.

On Tuesday, McDonald’s workers were on strike in protest of workplace sexual harassment. There’s no union for McDonald’s workers, but the strike was coordinated through weekly “women’s meetings”. A 2014 study by Restaurant Opportunities Center United found that 80% of workers had experienced sexual harassment on the job.

University of Amsterdam researchers are boycotting a privacy conference because of its funders include Palantir. Read their statement and see the growing list of signatories here.

And when hotel workers bring the fight, they bring it ALL THE WAY. On Tuesday locals across the country voted in favor of a Marriott strike.

Upcoming Events

Learning Club: The Revolution Will Not Be Funded
Saturday, 9/22 2PM at Omni Commons in Oakland
Facebook • Meetup • Reading materials

Learning Club: The Cybernetic Brain
Saturday, 9/22 3PM at Douglas-Truth Library Meeting Room in Seattle
FacebookMeetup • R** eading materials**

Learning Club: Striking to Survive: Chinese Worker-Activist Speaking Tour
Thursday, 10/11 7PM at Stanford
Facebook • Meetup

Learning Club: No Wall They Can Build
Saturday, 10/13 2PM at Omni Commons in Oakland
Facebook • Reading materials

The Code of Conduct is in effect at all TWC events.

In The News

An early prototype of Dragonfly, Google’s censored search engine for China, would link users’ phone numbers with search results. Also see: An Ex-Googler examines Dragonfly and Google’s values against its first foray into China in 2006.

The Google scientist who resigned over Dragonfly speaks out about the importance of collective worker action.

Labor experts say the NLRB’s new directive on pursuing negligent union behavior opens up greater opportunity for anti-union attacks from right-to-work groups.

A round-up of the companies comprising the subcontracted ecosystem that sustains ICE.  

Sales chat automation service, CrestaAI operates with the goal of making sales reps as efficient as a fleet of autonomous cars. “A sales representative using Cresta’s product got a sudden nosebleed while on the clock sending chat messages to customers, but was able to continue her work unimpeded. While ebbing the bleeding with one hand, she could click Cresta’s conversational suggestions with the other.”  Founder Sebastian Thrun, formerly of Udacity, said that while “an employee working through the loss of vital fluids may seem bleak, it illustrates the product’s value. If we train AI to take over boring repetitive tasks, we can free humanity and reach new heights.” Whose humanity will be freed by this?

“No dark corners in which to hide”: A day in the life of a social credit scored citizen of China.

What has Amazon’s merger of the customer and user left us with? The constant consumer. “If the customer is always right, then you’re never wrong when you’re consuming.”

NLRB has ruled in favor of Columbia postdoc researchers being considered employees of the university. In October researchers will vote on whether to join United Auto Workers, the union that represents Columbia’s grad students.

Workers unionized with CWA and the ACLU have teamed up to file an EEOC complaint against Facebook for violating federal civil rights law by allowing hiring teams to target job ads exclusively to mene

History’s Highlight

In 1970, a socialist government was elected to power in Chile.The next year, the government launched Project Cybersyn, an ambitious plan to use telecommunications technology to help manage and regulate a planned economy along socialist lines.

The project was intended to collect data from nationalized factories, use the data to run simulations of the economy, and recommend real-time changes. Workers were empowered to make decisions about their workplaces through participatory design frameworks, including rank-and-file points of control in factory operations rooms. 

The system saw two years of development and experimentation before it was destroyed during the US-backed military coup’s overthrow of Chile’s democracy on September 11th, 1973. Check out this Jacobin article for more analysis.

Song Of The Week

Karen Gwyer - The Workers Are On Strike (DBALP003)