Welcome back to Human Capital, where we catch up on the latest tech workforce, as well as diversity and inclusion.
With election day approaching fast and California's Prop 22 jeopardizing the "future of work," as Instacart employee and co-organizer of Gig Workers Collective Vanessa Bain told theinformationsuperhighway this week, we are paying close attention to this election measure. Gig companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart have invested more than $ 180 million in Prop 22 to class their drivers and delivery workers as independent contractors.
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Instacart started asking workers to distribute yes to Prop 22 propaganda to customers
Vanessa Bain, Instacart buyer and co-founder of Gig Workers Collective, tweeted about how some buyers were instructed to give yes to customers on 22 stickers. The inserts and stickers were available at a Bay Area store over the weekend, but Instacart says there are no plans to expand this to other stores.
Many people including Bain asked whether it was legal or not.
Incredible. @Instacart now requires buyers to do the uncompensated work of spreading Prop 22 propaganda to customers – against our own interests. Even if it is legal, it is reprehensible and sets a dangerous precedent for workers. # NOonProp22 pic.twitter.com/NXVblutvsh
– Vanessa Bain B #BlackLivesMatter # NOonProp22 (@hashtagmolotov) October 10, 2020
However, Instacart told CNN that the initiative was allowed under the campaign funding rules. Additionally, I contacted the Commission on Fair Political Practices, but was informed by Communications Director Jay Wierenga that "only an investigation by FPPC Enforcement (or a prosecutor or the AG's office) will determine whether someone or a group is breaking the law has violated political reforms ".
What is clear, however, is that this is against what many workers want. We caught up with Bain before the theinformationsuperhighway Mixtape relaunch, where she talked about why she's against Prop 22. The episode will go live next week, but here's a sneak peek of our conversation:
"The future of work is at stake," Bain said earlier this week. “I would also argue about the future of our democracy. The reality is that, as you know, it sets a dangerous precedent for companies to write their own labor laws. This policy is designed to help businesses unilaterally to the detriment of workers. "
Hundreds took to the streets of SF to protest Prop 22
There was a massive protest against Prop 22 in San Francisco. While Prop 22 would offer more benefits than workers currently do, many drivers and delivery drivers say that is not enough. For example, Prop 22 would introduce health care subsidies, but it lacks full health coverage.
Yes, there are hundreds of people here starting our driver's car in front of Uber's headquarters.
We all call for # NoOnProp22.
Motorists earn living wages, health care and benefits.
We will fight to get it. pic.twitter.com/EEVZcVRKqX
– Gig workers will vote no to Prop 22 (@GigWorkersRise) on October 15, 2020
Speaking of SF: 76% of app-based employees in the city are black people
And 39% are immigrants, according to the latest survey of gig workers by the Local Agency Formation Commission and UC Santa Cruz Professor Chris Benner.
In this study, 259 employees who drive or deliver for DoorDash, Instacart or Amazon Fresh were surveyed. Further results were:
- 71% of workers receive at least 3/4 of their monthly income from gig work
- 57% of workers rely entirely on gig work for their monthly income
- On average, workers earn $ 450 a week. After cost, that average drops to $ 270 per week.
The California Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case of the classification of gig workers in Uber, Lyft
California 1st District Court of Appeal justices heard arguments from Uber and Lyft about why they should continue to class their drivers as independent contractors. The hearing was the result of a district judge issuing an injunction that would force Uber and Lyft to immediately classify their workers as salaried employees. However, Uber and Lyft appealed the verdict and now we are here.
Since Uber and Lyft have argued that drivers would lose their flexibility if they were forced to be employees, a judge on the appeals court asked in which part of AB 5 companies would have to take that flexibility away. Spoiler alert: There is nothing in AB 5 that requires something like this.
However, a Lyft attorney who said he would be leaving California if he were forced to reclassify his workers said he didn't want the court to think that if this restraining order were upheld, these people would continue to have those earning opportunities because they have habit. "
Uber's survey of workers on Prop 22 shows that the election measure is strongly supported
It's important to note, however, that of the 200,000+ Uber drivers in California, only 461 workers took part in the study. Uber conducted this survey September 23 through October 5 to see how drivers felt about Prop 22 and being an independent contractor. In this poll, 54% of respondents said that at 22 today they would definitely vote yes, while 13% said they would definitely vote no.
Respondents also weighed whether they would prefer to be independent contractors. 54% of respondents said they prefer to be an independent contractor, while 9% said they prefer to be an employee.
This week, Uber also encouraged drivers to speak to their drivers about Prop 22 to see how they feel about it.
"First and foremost, the conversation on Proposition 22 should be about what gig workers actually want," an Uber spokesman said in a statement. "So we encourage anyone who uses Uber or Uber Eats to ask their driver or delivery person how they really feel about Prop 22."
Based on the wording of the in-app message, Uber seems confident that most drivers will support Prop 22.
Facebook and Twitter forbid posts that deny the Holocaust
Both Facebook and Twitter took a step this week in their ongoing battles against hatred by removing posts denying the Holocaust, the systematic and state-sponsored mass murder of around 6 million Jewish people. On Monday, Facebook announced it would block posts denying the Holocaust. Facebook said its decision was due to rising anti-Semitism and "alarming ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people". On Wednesday, Twitter announced a similar stance.
BLCK VC launches Black Venture Institute
In partnership with Operator Collective, Salesforce Ventures and the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Black Venture Institute by BLCK VC wants to help more black entrepreneurs become angel investors. The goal is to train 300 students in the next three years to write checks.
"It's these closed networks that have contributed to the black community's inaccessibility over the years," Frederik Groce, co-founder of BLCK VC, told TC's Ron Miller. "The Black Venture Institute is a structural attempt to give access to black operators – from engineers to product marketing managers."
GV finally has a black partner, Terri Burns
Terri Burns recently became a partner at GV, formerly known as Google Ventures. Burns is now the only black partner at GV who is wild. But you know, progress, not perfection.
Looking back at the time Burns talked a little about racial justice in technology and venture capital.
"Venture capital certainly plays a role," Burns, then a principal at GV, told theinformationsuperhighway about the general lack of technology diversity. “VC is a tool that companies can use to scale quickly and easily. In the past, this tool was not evenly distributed. For example, VC has traditionally focused on founders of a small number of institutions and family trees that are not particularly different (in 2016 we learned from Richard Kerby, General Partner at Equal Ventures that 40% of VCs went to either Harvard or Stanford). With a more even distribution of funds across backgrounds, underrepresented people have a greater chance of success. "
The Wing co-founder admits her mistakes
Audrey Gelman, the former CEO of The Wing who stepped down in June, sent a letter to former The Wing employees last week. In it, Gelman apologized for failing to take action to combat the mistreatment of women of the same color at The Wing. She also acknowledged that her pursuit of success and scaling up quickly "came at the expense of a healthy and sustainable culture that was in line with our intended values and workplace practices that made our team feel valued and respected."
That meant, Gelman said, that The Wing “had not undermined the historical oppression and racist roots of the hospitality industry; We'd disguised it as a friendlier version. "
Here are some other highlights from her letter:
- "The needs of the members came first, and those members were often white and wealthy enough to be able to afford the wing's membership fees."
- "White privileges and power excursions were rewarded with approval, as opposed to our doubling our projected values."
- “When it came to the realization that The Wing was institutionally no different in the way it was proclaimed, it hurt more because the space we claimed was different, which is what the age-old patterns of women with color and especially of black women disappointed in white women reinforced and limited our feminist values. "
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