Opinion: Why the gig economy is a scam
If you are like me, right now you’re relying heavily on the people who work for app-based delivery companies to keep you safer from the coronavirus. From groceries to package delivery; to the cheesesteak I just ate; to whatever I-just-didn’t-want-to-get-it-myself thing you had dropped off, items are brought to our doors by those who are making it possible for the rest of us to not fill the streets. And when I look out my window and see who’s hustling our groceries home, I am seeing mostly Black folks and people of color, which to me is a warning sign of “That job may not pay that well.” Last fall, way before we knew just how much more the economy would rely on the labor of gig workers, “United Shades of America” went to Austin, Texas, to learn about the fastest-growing category of new jobs in the country. Oops — I didn’t mean to say “jobs.” These are called gigs, so companies can get away with not offering the kind of worker protections and benefits that you expect from a job. Lots of us think the gig economy is a new idea, because tech bros told us it is. It’s like how that WeWork guy convinced us he invented office space. But gig work is as old as this country.