Nationalize Payrolls Now; Gig Work is a Fancy Name for Exploitation; Domestic Workers in the Pandemic

Calling people “gig” workers is a subtle trap. “Gig” can sound anywhere from upbeat to just a mundane description. The truth is the “gig” economy is just another way of exploiting people and it’s a dream for all capitalists to have a pool of workers who can be used and abused at the beckon call of a supply chain or a big tech company, at the lowest cost possible. And not a surprise—lots of gig workers are at great risk during the pandemic. I explore the lives of “gig” workers in a conversation with Bama Athreya, an economic policy fellow at the Open Society Foundation and a veteran social movement activist.

The pandemic has put domestic workers at risk. Think of it logically: you can be locked down in a home with your client, essentially enslaved, with nowhere to go and no social distancing space. You could easily be trapped in a home, forced to stay inside because of a curfew, without personal protection equipment. Elizabeth Tang, the General Secretary of the International Domestic Workers Federation, joins me from her perch in Hong Kong to talk about the pandemic threats facing domestic workers.

This blog originally appeared at Working Life on May 20, 2020. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Jonathan Tasini is a political / organizing / economic strategist. He is President of the Economic Future Group, a consultancy that has worked in a couple of dozen countries on five continents over the past 20 years.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.