- Daniel Munro highlights how Uber and other service apps manipulate their workers. And The New York Times' editorial board warns about the false promises of the gig economy:
In reality, there is no utopia at companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Handy, whose workers are often manipulated into working long hours for low wages while continually chasing the next ride or task. These companies have discovered they can harness advances in software and behavioral sciences to old-fashioned worker exploitation, according to a growing body of evidence, because employees lack the basic protections of American law.
Gig economy workers tend to be poorer and are more likely to be minorities than the population at large, a survey by the Pew Research Center found last year. Compared with the population as a whole, almost twice as many of them earned under $30,000 a year, and 40 percent were black or Hispanic, compared with 27 percent of all American adults. Most said the money they earned from online platforms was essential or important to their families.Since workers for most gig economy companies are considered independent contractors, not employees, they do not qualify for basic protections like overtime pay and minimum wages...
...Over time even bigger companies like Uber, many of which lose money and rely on investors to keep pouring in billions of dollars of capital, might find that it pays to treat workers better and even make some of them employees.
But so far, experience with these companies shows that without the legal protections and ethical norms that once were widely accepted, workers will find the economy of the future an even more inhospitable place.
- Meanwhile, Daniel Tencer reports on Canada's stagnant wage levels (even as raw job numbers increase). And Clare Hennig reports on Andrew Cash's work to ensure reasonable protection for contract workers.
- Manasi Deshpande studies the effect of taking welfare benefits away from low-income youth, and finds that it results in the people affected (and their families) being far worse off.
- Rhys Kesselman points out that a capital gains tax on housing prices would go a long way toward reining in Canada's worrisome urban housing bubble.
- Mike Hager exposes the millions of dollars the Christy Clark B.C. Libs have vacuumed up through case-for-access events. And Tammy Robert posts about the similar cash-for-access problem in Saskatchewan.
- Barry Saxifrage writes about the alarming increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. And James Munson reports on new research showing that Canada is lagging behind other developed countries in decoupling economic development from carbon pollution.
- Finally, Michael Harris rightly tears into Justin Trudeau for choosing to become Donald Trump North on Syria and other issues.