New Research Project Receives Grant, Studies Digital Organizing

In July 2019, the Center for Global Workers’ Rights started a new research project directed by Assistant Professor Katherine Maich and Research Affiliate Paolo Marinaro, in collaboration with Argentinian independent researcher and artist based in New York City, Sol Aramendi.
New Research Project Receives Grant, Studies Digital Organizing

An Uber Eats rider makes a delivery in Mexico City.(Photo Credit: Stefano Morrone)

In July 2019, the Center for Global Workers’ Rights started a new research project directed by Assistant Professor Katherine Maich and Research Affiliate Paolo Marinaro, in collaboration with Argentinian independent researcher and artist based in New York City, Sol Aramendi. “The Future of Work, and the Future of Organizing: A Comparative Study of Digital Platforms in the Informal Economy” looks at how technological transformation informs labor responses to platform capitalism. Digital technologies have rapidly transformed work and labor relations across the globe as seen in the ubiquitous rise of platforms such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Deliveroo, and Rappi, among a myriad of others. Much of the media and academic attention has emphasized the cheap, fast delivery of goods and services for clients and customers, celebrating the rise and rapid proliferation of the on-demand economy, the growing number of jobs, and its overall flexibility. However, more recently, scholars have shown how digital platforms, far from offering entrepreneurial opportunities, strictly control on-demand labor process by exacerbating existing inequality.

 

Professor Maich and Dr. Marinaro focus on the experience of food-delivery workers and domestic workers in Mexico City and New York City by asking how platform-workers harness digital tools to take control over the terms of their work and potentially organize worker associations or unions. They are interested in analyzing how different gender and migration regimes shape worker organizing in platform capitalism. On April 26–27, 2020, Katherine, Paolo, and Sol will present preliminary findings at CGWR’s Ninth Annual Symposium, drawing on focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation with domestic workers cooperatives in New York City and food-delivery workers’ organizations in Mexico City.