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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

Gig Economy

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The Way We Work Now

I voted for the ballot measure because I thought it’d help drivers like me. Now I’m out of a job.

The Way We Work Now is a series chronicling how people’s lives and careers have fundamentally changed because of the pandemic.

This anonymous delivery driver, 39, spoke with Mai Tran about being laid off from the grocery store Vons after its parent company, Albertsons, announced it will no longer offer in-house delivery services to customers. The decision comes after California passed Proposition 22, a ballot measure favored by gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft, which now designates drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

All the drivers found out about the layoffs on December 8, when we got an…


It’s keeping people from crowding the supermarket aisles, but it’s also putting unprotected gig workers at risk

“When the plague came to London in 1665, Londoners lost their wits,” historian Jill Lepore wrote in the New Yorker. “Everyone behaved badly, though the rich behaved the worst: Having failed to heed warnings to provision, they sent their poor servants out for supplies.”

Today, only the richest of the rich have servants to do their shopping. The rest of us rely on Instacart, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.

This raises a thorny question: Is it ethical during the pandemic for healthy people to hire others to bring them food and take risks they want to avoid? …


Self-isolation has made it clear many of us are helpless without service workers and the gig economy

While you’re sheltering in place for the foreseeable future, you may find yourself with hours and hours of indoor time you never had before. With that free time you can turn on Hulu and watch a movie like Pet Sematary, or a TV show like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Or maybe it would interest you to watch Basic Skills Challenge, a series of short videos that bring together a gaggle of home cooks trying out the most basic of home ec skills. “Watch as 50 people try to cut pineapple rings,” the short-form video’s description teases. Tempting!

Basic Skills…


Coronavirus-inspired protests have raised awareness around the dangers workers for companies like Amazon and Instacart face

Tonya Ramsey’s first year and a half working as ship dock associate at an Amazon warehouse near Detroit was, all things considered, a good experience. Sure, there were minor gripes, but nothing out of the ordinary. “Every workplace is always going to have some kind of complaints from employees,” she said. But at the end of the day, it was a steady paycheck to bring home to her fiancé and 11-year-old child. “I didn’t have any complaints before the pandemic,” she said. But as the novel coronavirus started to spread like wildfire across the U.S., …

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