This is the first episode of Unproductive Labor, a podcast made with support from Public Seminar. Make sure to not miss any episodes by subscribing on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The innovations of the gig economy are not just about technology but change our expectations, and the laws, around what companies owe their workers. This introductory episode of Unproductive Labor will discuss the gig economy, how it may represent the leading edge of the transformation of work, plans for the podcast, and what listeners can expect. The episodes are presented by your hosts, Pete Sinnott and Luke Mergner.

Here are some links and references mentioned in this podcast:

  • The Lyft ad describing Prop 22, as well as corporate backing of the measuring, was met with fierce opposition — much of which is detailed by the National Employment Law Project
  • Recommended further reading on Prop 22 includes this Jacobin piece, this article about how rideshare companies are “buying labor laws,” and this New York Times piece following the legal win for the companies
  • We note that both Lyft CEO Logan Green and co-founder John Zimmer have defended Prop 22 and gig work as a whole
  • Many former gig employees have vocalized complaints about the demands and pressure the work causes through various articles, including Chris Palmer in GeekWire, Edvin Quic in the New York Times, and Zia Sheikh in the Washington Post
  • While the ballot that passed in California, guarantees only $5.64 an hour, meanwhile in the UK, rideshare companies have started classifying their drivers as “workers”
  • We referenced Kathi Week’s work and Down With Work conference presentation
  • Marco Rubio’s comments about employment and the dignity of work can be found here
  • Other readings we mentioned include Sarah Jaffe’s Work Won’t Love You Back, Daniel Markovits’ Meritocracy Trap, Sherrod Brown’s “Dignity,” and James Livingston’s “Why Work?

Production assistance provided by Katherine Huggins. Music composed and performed by Samuel Haines. Our logo was designed by Daniel Fermín. Our team can be reached via Twitter @PublicSeminar or @lmergner, or by email: