Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Robert Reich discusses the unfairness of requiring workers to take all the risk of precarious jobs while sharing few of the rewards:
On demand and on call – in the “share” economy, the “gig” economy, or, more prosaically, the “irregular” economy – the result is the same: no predictable earnings or hours.

It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightening speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us.
Courts are overflowing with lawsuits over whether companies have misclassified “employees” as “independent contractors,” resulting in a profusion of criteria and definitions.

We should aim instead for simplicity: Whatever party – contractor, client, customer, agent, or intermediary – pays more than half of someone’s income, or provides more than half their working hours, should be responsible for all the labor protections and insurance an employee is entitled to.

Presumably that party will share those costs and risks with its own clients, customers, owners, and investors. Which is the real point – to take these risks off the backs of individuals and spread them as widely as possible.

In addition, to restore some certainty to peoples’ lives, we’ll need to move away from unemployment insurance and toward income insurance.
- Max FineDay writes that while the work structures which are increasing stress on workers may be new, the principle of ensuring that everybody's basic needs are met has is anything but. And Sean McElwee discusses how different our public discourse would look if we heard about the plight of people living in poverty as regularly as we're informed of stock market fluctuations.

- The Star reminds us that the Cons' useless "tough on crime" rhetoric is as empty now as it's ever been.

- Meanwhile, Chinta Puxley reports that Canadians continue to be at risk due to the Cons' cuts to food inspection and other health and safety services.

- Steven Chase exposes the secrecy behind the Cons' plans to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

- Finally, Bill Tieleman writes that nasty, negative politics only survive because they seem to work - while recognizing that the only way to change that reality is to demand better in numbers which ensure that appeals to the worst in people don't sway enough votes to swing elections.

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