VICE News recently published an article outlining how progressive workers in Silicon Valley are fighting back against their employers.
In an article titled “How Workers Are Fighting Back Against Big Tech,” VICE News outlines the steps that employees for big tech firms are taking to force the industry to live up to its promises of “making the world a better place” by embracing far-left beliefs.
VICE News writes that a catalyst for this change may have been President Donald Trump:
The key moment wasn’t necessarily Election Night, when everyone was still in a state of shock and confusion, but rather a few weeks after that, in late 2016, when the future president met with tech’s biggest CEOs. That moment, workers have told me, was when they realized their bosses would compromise with, rather than fight against, the incoming administration. The years since have proved this analysis correct—in 2017, Google began building out the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence program under Project Maven, while more recently, Microsoft won the contract to handle their cloud computing.
VICE News notes that one key area in tech which has been focused on by activists is worker rights for those working in the gig economy, specifically for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. VICE News uses the example of Edan Alva, a 49-year-old tech worker from Israel, writing:
“Pay went down significantly, and meanwhile, you’re paying more to service the car,” he explained. “Most drivers don’t notice they’re losing money instead of earning it because those costs are spread over time.” Further shifting him into action was seeing firsthand how wide the gap was between the lifestyles of the rich and how the drivers themselves lived. “You find very quickly that you can barely make a living in the Bay Area, and it causes resentment, especially when the CEOs are making $45 million a year,” he said.
Alva heard about the organizing coalition Gig Workers Rising (GWR)—a group largely composed of Uber and Lyft drivers fighting for a living wage and benefits, transparency, and a voice at the workplace—and decided to join. Part of it is fighting for a better life now. “I enjoy talking with people and having unique situations that occur,” he said, when I asked him why he still drives. “But that has nothing to do with the company of Lyft.”
While some of his involvement with GWR is to fight for better conditions in his current job, he’s also thinking about his next gig, whatever that may be. It’s impossible to look at the trajectory of technological advancements and see much in the way of future work that will remain. Algorithms will be doing copywriting, self-driving technology will be handling cabs and trucks, and robot servers and bartenders are coming soon enough. “Any industry can be put in an app,” he said. “Companies like Lyft and Uber deeply reflect the fact that people who happen to be in particular positions get extremely wealthy at the expense of workers, and sometimes even the expense of their investors. It almost sounds like a pyramid scheme.”
Read the full article in VICE News here.