Belabored Podcast #80: Class Struggle? There’s An App for That

Belabored Podcast #80: Class Struggle? There’s An App for That

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Corporations have been exploiting digital technology to control markets, surveil consumers, and disempower workers. But can labor seize technology for good? What if you could run a workplace organizing campaign through your smartphone or counter anti-union propaganda through instant social media blasts to co-workers? We speak with Mark Zuckerman, president of The Century Foundation, about the potential of “virtual labor organizing,” and how unions can use digital platforms to facilitate unionization and empower workers. We also look at the underbelly of Uber’s “sharing economy” and whether a recent legal dispute could force the car-service app to admit it’s actually a boss.

Plus: news on the latest drama surrounding the Trans Pacific Partnership, a labor revolt in Vermont led by Ben & Jerry’s dairy workers, and a bonus clip of Verizon’s anti-labor propaganda. Finally, recommended reading on charter school unions and Charleston’s history of racial justice struggles.


Migrant Farmworkers Ask Ben & Jerry’s to Provide “Milk With Dignity,” Prepare National Day of Action (Toward Freedom)

Michelle: This Will Make You Think Twice About Downing That Pint of Ben & Jerry’s in One Sitting

Migrant Justice

Leaked Verizon Wireless Anti-Union Video Tells Workers to “Do Your Research” (Occupy Wall St.)

Verizon Wireless Workers Make History in Brooklyn (In These Times)


Sarah Leberstein, National Employment Law Project: Uber Driver Is Employee, CA Labor Commission Rules

Michelle: Could This Be the Biggest Blow Yet to Uber’s Business Model? (The Nation)

Mark Zuckerman, Century Foundation: Virtual Labor Organizing

Can an app save the American labor movement? (Waging Nonviolence)

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Michelle: Rachel M. Cohen, “When Charters Go Union” (The American Prospect)

Sarah: Lee Sustar, Charleston and the crucible of race and class (Socialist Worker)

New York listeners: join us on July 7 at 61 Local in Brooklyn for Belabored Live! with Who Makes Cents.