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The Gig

The Gig

By Bama Athreya
The Gig is about the women and men who work in the so-called 'gig economy' worldwide. They find work through online platforms, and will tell us why we all need to be concerned about the real future of work.

Season 2: Who Cares is about the future of the world's oldest jobs: domestic and care work
Season 1: The Ride, will focus on workers for an app just about everyone has used: Uber.

We are a part of the Labor Radio Podcast Network.
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Season 2 Ep 2: Servants to Technology

The Gig

Season 2 Ep 5 Turning the Tables
We've learned that platforms have lots of data about workers, and use it to squeeze out more and more work.  But what if all that data was put to use on behalf of workers instead?  In Turning the Tables we continue to explore what happens when you make advocates, and workers themselves, part of the design of platforms.  We learn more about how for isolated and historically vulnerable workers, big data can actually open up new possibilities for rights and social protections.  
January 24, 2022
Season 2 Ep 4 The Company You Keep
Given all we had heard about the gig economy we were skeptical there could be an ethical business model.  In The Company You Keep, one businessperson set out to convince us that better alternatives are possible.  We explore how, if we keep humans in the loop, it's possible platforms for domestic and care work can be an opportunity, not a curse.  
January 18, 2022
Season 2 Ep 3: Permanent Wave
In Permanent Wave, we go to India and Thailand to talk about all the forms of intimate personal care services that take place in people's homes.  Our guests Khawla Zainab from IT for Change (India) and Kriangsak Teerakowitkajorn from JELI (Thailand) explain how technology is affecting personal care workers who are already low wage, precarious and exploited.  Platforms and clients expect 'emotional labor' from these women but there are big risks of gender-based violence.  We discuss how algorithms may actually increase these risks.
January 17, 2022
Season 2 Ep 2: Servants to Technology
In Servants to Technology we fast forward from past to future, speaking  with two technologists, one based in New York and the other in  Barcelona, Spain about how new technologies are affecting the future of  work in the care sector.  We ask:  are platforms and digital technology  really doing anything new to address our societies' growing care needs?   Or is it just putting band aids on broken systems?
January 12, 2022
Season 2 Episode 1: The World's Oldest Profession
In The World’s Oldest Profession, we learn more about what domestic and care work is, and its roots in exploitation and slavery.  We meet organizers in South Africa and Hong Kong and we talk to the former US Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to understand more about the origins of domestic servitude and when and how we stopped seeing care workers as disposable.
January 10, 2022
Season 2: Who Cares? Teaser
The Gig:  Who Cares? connects the future of work to the world's oldest jobs: domestic and care work.  It’s work that has been necessary ever since the rise of complex societies - but that has a long history of being performed by slaves.  What can the future of work possibly hold for this sector?  Can you "Uberize" care work? And is technology a curse or an opportunity?  In this season we hear from technologists, researchers, even an ethical businessman, and, of course, organizers and workers with unexpected answers to these questions.
January 08, 2022
Flash Pod: Desperate Measures on Prop 22
For this flash pod we have two special guests, Ayoade Ibrahim from Nigeria's Union of App Based Workers, and Rey Fuentes from Partnership on Working Families, talking about the corporate dirty tricks around the Proposition 22 ballot initiative on gig work in California, and why even in Nigeria drivers and gig workers support California's Assembly Bill 5.
October 27, 2020
Episode 6: The End of the Road?
We've followed the stories of several drivers throughout this season.  It's been incredible to track the progress they have made standing up for their rights in the face of one of the world's biggest platform companies.  In this final episode we reflect with them on what it all means, not just for them but for all of us.  Our collective actions are going to shape the future of work- but how?  We consider the fact that this conversation has never been just about Uber.  It's about the platform economy and gig work generally, and making sure the future doesn't just become a return to an exploitative past.  The drivers we've interviewed- Rebecca, James, Tess, Yaseen, Derick and others- reflect on how to reform the digital economy.
September 03, 2020
Episode 5: The Gig Is Up
It was hard enough for app-based drivers to find one another and organize even without a global pandemic. Gig workers are inherently isolated and yet they were finding each other not only in their cities but around the world. How were they doing it? And how were they keeping it up even in the face of the increased isolation brought on by a pandemic? I got to join drivers from around the world when they met for the first time in January 2020 and launched a new network. Now those organizers are rising to new challenges, but the momentum continues.
August 30, 2020
Episode 4 Driven to Organize
When I started this project, I thought I would just be collecting stories of what it was like to work in the gig economy.  I had no idea so much organizing was going on.  I kept hearing about protests in so many cities.  Nairobi.  Jakarta.  Sao Paolo.  Paris.  Toronto.  And other places.  And I started asking drivers why they felt driven to organize?  This episode features inspiring stories of drivers on four continents who took on Uber and other ride-hailing companies.  They share a vision of how gig workers can organize everywhere.
August 28, 2020
Episode 3: Judgement Day
*This episode was updated on August 27 Uber has been ignoring the law with impunity around the world.  But is the tide turning against Uber and other ride-hailing apps?  Pushed to the brink, drivers around the world have started using the law to fight back.  In this episode we speak with drivers in the UK whose precedent-setting case is moving to the Supreme Court.  In California, we talk to organizers who decided not to wait for the courts but to change the laws.  We find out why California's AB5 matters more than ever now that we are facing record unemployment.  And we start to untangle the links between worker classification, big data, and tax evasion.
August 27, 2020
Episode 2: Taxi Wars
In this episode you’ll hear a tale of two cities: Cape Town and New York. In Episode 1 we learned that the Uber business model was control over drivers. In Taxi Wars we learn that it’s also about controlling the regulators. You’ll hear how when the ride-hailing app companies came to new cities they didn’t just try to disrupt markets but to dismantle them.  Through the story of Derick, a driver in Cape Town we hear how the company operates in places where laws are weak. And then we meet NYC’s former Taxi and Limousine Commissioner, Meera Joshi, who tells us how she won her battles against Uber and Lyft and how other cities can fight for stronger enforcement.
August 20, 2020
Episode 1: Hooked
I wanted to understand why people would drive for Uber.  In this episode you'll meet some of the drivers I met and interviewed:  Tess from South Africa, Rebecca from California and Yaseen from London, UK.  They were lured onto the platform by the promise of partnership but they found it was a bait and switch game.  As more drivers crowded onto the platform, and fares went down, they learned something else too:  that the company wasn't just making money off the rides.  It was harvesting their data.
August 19, 2020
Flash Pod: Big Tech on its Heels This Week (ICYMI)
There was so much going on this week we decided to do this special 6 minute flash pod to keep our listeners up to date!  We've been tracking gig workers' legal battles around the world and this week's Supreme Court ruling in Canada was a great excuse- and important update to Episode 3, Judgement Day.  But there were so many more actions against Big Tech this week including an Amazon workers' strike in Germany, the #StopHateForProfit campaign against Facebook, an important data sovereignty ruling in India and more driver actions in France, Brazil, Argentina and California.  Catch up on the news as you wait for our next episode, The Gig Is Up!
July 02, 2020
The Gig Presents En Masse Podcast
We love hearing stories about working people.  While The Gig focuses on the future of work, it's important to remember the past too.  That's why we love Liz Medina's En Masse Podcast, featuring oral histories of workers past and present.  En Masse is centered around the town of Barre, Vermont but it becomes a microcosm for the world in these stories exploring experiences of class and capitalism.  Listen to this trailer and find En Masse wherever you get your podcasts.
June 17, 2020
The Gig Trailer
Meet drivers around the world who have been taking action to take control of their lives back from Uber and other ride-hailing apps in Season 1 of The Gig.
April 20, 2020