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Information is power. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Please help.

 

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Amazon Drivers Say They Are Pushed to the Limit

Natalie Kitroeff Los Angeles Times
Amazon subcontracts to local courier companies that use drivers who are considered independence contractors. These companies are less expensive than Fedex or UPS and they are not unionized. Amazon provides them with phones that track their packages and delivery progress, and workers need to average a delivery every 2 minutes in order to meet demand.

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Seattle First U.S. City to give Uber, Other Contract Drivers Power to Unionize

Daniel Beekman The Seattle Times
The Seattle City Council voted 8-0 Monday afternoon to enact an ordinance giving taxi, for-hire and Uber drivers the ability to unionize. The backdrop for the council’s vote is a nationwide conversation about what role governments should play in the country’s growing app-powered gig economy.

Chicago Cabbies Fight for a Fairer Fare

Moshe Z. Marvit and Vincent Mersich The Nation
No one is responsible for paying cabbies a “minimum wage,” because these drivers are not considered employees. But Callahan and a group of Chicago cab drivers are challenging that long-held assumption. Under the name “Cab Drivers for Justice,” or, as most call it, “Cabbies for Justice,” they are pursuing what could be a landmark legal case.

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Tackling Concerns of Independent Workers

Steven Greenhouse The New York Times
The Freelancers Union is using healthcare benefits as an organizing tool. So far it has been quite successful.

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Regulators Crack Down on Classifying Workers as Contractors

Jennifer Smith The Wall Street Journal
In recent months, regulators have demanded millions of dollars from companies that hired independent contractors to hang drywall, install cable, staff call centers, give manicures and perform other jobs in which the government said workers were really functioning as company employees.
Subscribe to independent contractors