Navigating Jefes Fantasmas in New York City’s Urban Platform Economy
In Metropolitics, Jackson Todd examines delivery worker organizing in New York City to understand how today’s "phantom bosses" are shaping the future of labor rights in the United States:
The logistics of the so-called platform economy have reshaped our cities and communities. Urbanites can now get everything from groceries, toiletries and pet supplies to prescription medications, flowers and fast food delivered to their doors in minutes, disrupting the supply chains of a large swath of industries. For the multinational technology companies whose software powers food-delivery applications (Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash), the primary goal is to create a seamless experience for the customer. But in this process, the logistics of on-demand delivery, including the exploitation of New York City’s delivery personnel, or deliveristas (as they have dubbed themselves), is rendered entirely invisible. Gig workers in New York City have become innovators in their own right, pioneering their own ways of utilizing technology in their fight for better working conditions.
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