Local Cyber Day Labor Sites?

One of the great things about being a professor is that my students are constantly introducing me to new trends in technology and work.  The latest innovation (well, not so new now–founded in 2008) introduced to me by a student is Taskrabbit–a sort of ‘ebay for jobs’ that links people searching for someone to do a task for them, with ‘taskrabbits’ in their city or neighborhood willing to perform the task. It turns out there are a range of new businesses performing this local ‘local cyber day labor site’ function (I just made up that term–a google search for ‘cyber day labor’ turned up zero results):

Geekatoo–local tech support;
someone2.do–making your to do list social
swifto.com–like task rabbit in the NY area
redbeacon–a local home services intermediary

This kind of project-based intermediary web-site has been around for a long time for computer programmers and related occupations (e.g. elance.com), but what is different about these new sites is their focus on local connections, the non-digital delivery of services, and the ability to hire someone for the smallest of tasks (buy my dog food is the task highlighted on taskrabbit’s web-site!). Clear social benefits: new markets and employment opportunities. Clear social challenges: falls outside the range of labor legislation, like most freelance work, so no ability to ensure minimum wage or other basic conditions of employment.

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Labor Talks in Detroit Go Social Media

There is a really interesting article in today’s New York Times about the UAW’s use of social media during their contract negotiations with the auto companies. The gist of the article is that the new tools are enabling the union to be more open and transparent in the negotiation process, involving a larger component of their membership in the discussions.  See:

Most of my work has been focused on the role of social media in organizing new workers, but the ability to strengthen communication with, and involvement of, current members is another absolutely critical component of strengthening unions.  Definitely worth reading.

Detailed contract summaries are available here:  http://www.uaw.org/members/uaw-bargaining/

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SEIU 1000

SEIU 1000 is a union that represents over 95,000 workers in the state of California. Continue reading

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