Like so many other subjects, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought concerns about the gig economy and contract workers into sharp focus over the past year, which is why we’ll be diving into this topic at TC Sessions: Justice on March 3.
From food delivery services like Seamless to warehouse and fulfillment jobs at places like Amazon, these often low-paid jobs have kept people supplied with essentials during one of the most difficult moments in modern American history.
But why is it that jobs our society has labeled “essential” often carry the least number of protections for those who fulfill them? Is there a way to ensure a safety net for the people who need it the most?
As the pandemic continued to rage, California passed Proposition 22. The law was regarded as a big win for companies like Uber and Lyft (who pumped a collective $200 million into promotions) and a tremendous step back for workers looking for basic employment rights. But the battle between the Prop 22 proponents and the gig workers who oppose it continues. A group of rideshare drivers in California and the Service Employees International Union have filed a lawsuit alleging Proposition 22 violates California’s constitution.
To discuss the gig worker economy and its future in a post-Prop-22 world, we will be joined by Jessica E. Martinez, the co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, an organization devoted to promoting health and safety conditions for workplaces; Vanessa Bain, a gig worker activist who co-founded the Gig Workers Collective; and Christian Smalls, a former Amazon worker turned activist.