Gender justice advocates have been waiting for far too long for trade justice. Women’s rights organizations have been pointing this out for at least two decades in research and advocacy around the role of trade agreements in exacerbating inequality.

This activism, epitomized by memorable protests when trade negotiators convened in Seattle in 1999, and Montreal and Cancun in 2003, catalyzed exciting proposals for inclusive, people-centered alternatives. A few of those ideas have found their way into trade regimes, but far from enough. Meanwhile, global inequality has reached an unprecedented level.

It’s time to renew our calls for equity in light…

Labor groups refused to give in after rideshare companies won an anti-worker state ballot initiative last year through a heavily funded disinformation campaign.

Photo credit: Rideshare Drivers United

Gig workers have won an important victory in California’s courts. On August 20, a judge ruled that a ballot initiative by Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash aimed at creating a permanent precarious workforce was unconstitutional. The decision is a major blow to the platform companies, which spent well over $200 million last year on Prop 22 to overturn a state law extending employee rights to most California gig workers.

In his ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank…

Photo Credit: Access Advocates (

Just a few months and a lifetime ago I felt compelled to comment on the Trump Administration’s attack on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. So today it’s only fair to recognize the significance of the Biden Administration’s steps not only to reverse course but to make America’s government more inclusive.

While conservative forces continue their war on tolerance at state and local levels, on June 25 the Administration quietly released an important new Executive Order. At the heart of this action are serious measures to achieve a federal workforce that looks like America. …

The Mexico City Generation Equality Mural by artist Adry del Rocio (UN Women / Dzilam Méndez)

On June 30 a long-awaited global event, the Generation Equality Forum, will commence. Governments, philanthropists, businesses and civil society advocates will place a global spotlight on gender equality. The event marks a quarter century of concerted effort following the 1995 Fourth World Conference for Women and its Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In the wake of a year defined by a global pandemic, lockdowns, and economic instability worldwide, stakeholders will convene virtually to launch a new set of commitments. …

Photo Credit: Solidarity Center

President Biden’s first 100 days have shown this Administration’s commitment to America’s workers. From the direct support for workers seeking to organize at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama to the announcement of a new White House task force on unions to investments for workers in the care economy, the President’s messages have been a lifeline to America’s working people. As someone who has advised on labor issues around the world, I’ve seen the ways in which working conditions in the US have increasingly come to resemble work in other developing countries. …

James Farrar, a lead plaintiff in the successful UK labor rights case against Uber, is turning his sights to data protection, a critical worker issue in the 21st Century.

Photo credit: ADCU

In recent weeks, courts in multiple countries have delivered huge victories for gig workers by establishing the principle that these workers are, in fact, employed by digital platforms and are thus entitled to basic worker rights and protections.

The most stunning win was the UK Supreme Court’s recent scathing judgement against Uber. …

The new administration must use its power to crack down on exploitation of platform workers and reverse the erosion of decent work.

Photo credit: Labor Radio Network

The Biden-Harris administration is off to a great start for workers, with a progressive incoming labor team and immediate removal of Trump loyalists at places like the National Labor Relations Board. But are they ready to take on the 21st century’s most prominent challenge — the lawless digital economy?

As the Washington Post pointed out, tackling gig work may be the administration’s most explosive labor issue. President Biden took a stand during his campaign, opposing California’s pernicious Prop…

We have entered a new stage of capitalism. The global economy is no longer what connects our economic activity. It’s now the digital economy, where geographies cease to matter — at least to capital — as everything happens in cyberspace, on platforms.

In this William Gibson-esque world, work is being digitized, and workers are being dehumanized as a result. To understand and address labor exploitation in the digitized economy, we need to grasp the ways in which it both alters our labor relations and simply exacerbates longstanding problems.

The New Data Colonialism

A small handful of platform companies now dominate…

Bama Athreya of the Gig Podcast and Ben Wray of the Gig Economy Project report on the key take-aways from a recent international conference on decent work in the platform economy.

This series of articles concerning the Gig Economy in the EU was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Lipman-Miliband Trust

Blind Spots

The Trump Administration very recently issued an Executive Order (E.O.) protecting toxic workplace behavior. It’s not a surprise that a White House that has embodied misogyny, xenophobia and white nationalism would come up with such a directive. This E.O. is not just bad for the integrity of our federal government, it’s bad for all Americans. But it doesn’t seem to be written to stand the test of time and is unlikely to survive legal challenges. So why issue it now? I believe it is intended as a clear signal to public servants, on the eve of a tense election, that…

Bama Athreya

Expert on labor, gender equity and workplace social inclusion, labor migration and trafficking. Interested in the intersection of tech and social movements.

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