company:dyn

  • Revolt of the gig workers: How delivery rage reached a tipping point - SFChronicle.com
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Revolt-of-the-gig-workers-How-delivery-rage-13605726.php

    Gig workers are fighting back.

    By their name, you might think independent contractors are a motley crew — geographically scattered, with erratic paychecks and tattered safety nets. They report to faceless software subroutines rather than human bosses. Most gig workers toil alone as they ferry passengers, deliver food and perform errands.

    But in recent weeks, some of these app-wielding workers have joined forces to effect changes by the multibillion-dollar companies and powerful algorithms that control their working conditions.

    Last week, Instacart shoppers wrung payment concessions from the grocery delivery company, which had been using customer tips to subsidize what it paid them. After outcries by workers on social media, in news reports and through online petitions, San Francisco’s Instacart said it had been “misguided.” It now adds tips on top of its base pay — as most customers and shoppers thought they should be — and will retroactively compensate workers who were stiffed on tips.

    New York this year became the first U.S. city to implement a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft, which now must pay drivers at least $17.22 an hour after expenses ($26.51 before expenses). Lyft, which sued over the requirement, last week gave in to driver pressure to implement it.

    For two years, drivers held rallies, released research, sent thousands of letters and calls to city officials, and gathered 16,000 petition signature among themselves. The Independent Drivers Guild, a union-affiliated group that represents New York ride-hail drivers and spearheaded the campaign, predicted per-driver pay boosts of up to $9,600 a year.

    That follows some other hard-fought worker crusades, such as when they persuaded Uber to finally add tipping to its app in 2017, a move triggered by several phenomena: a string of corporate scandals, the fact that rival Lyft had offered tipping from the get-go, and a class-action lawsuit seeking employment status for workers.

    “We’ll probably start to see more gig workers organizing as they realize that enough negative publicity for the companies can make something change,” said Alexandrea Ravenelle, an assistant sociology professor at New York’s Mercy College and author of “Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy.” “But companies will keep trying to push the envelope to pay workers as little as possible.”

    The current political climate, with tech giants such as Facebook and Google on hot seats over privacy, abuse of customer data and other issues, has helped the workers’ quests.

    “We’re at a moment of reckoning for tech companies,” said Alex Rosenblat, a technology ethnographer at New York’s Data & Society Research Institute and author of “Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work.” “There’s a techlash, a broader understanding that tech companies have to be held accountable as political institutions rather than neutral forces for good.”

    The climate also includes more consumer awareness of labor issues in the on-demand economy. “People are realizing that you don’t just jump in an Uber and don’t have to think about who’s driving you and what they make,” Ravenelle said. “There’s a lot more attention to gig workers’ plight.”

    Instacart customers were dismayed to discover that their tips were not going to workers on top of their pay as a reward for good service.

    Sage Wilson, a spokesman for Working Washington, a labor-backed group that helped with the Instacart shoppers’ campaign, said many more gig workers have emerged with stories of similar experiences on other apps.

    “Pay transparency really seems to be an issue across many of these platforms,” he said. “I almost wonder if it’s part of the reason why these companies are building black box algorithmic pay models in the first place (so) you might not even know right away if you got a pay cut until you start seeing the weekly totals trending down.”

    Cases in point: DoorDash and Amazon also rifle the tip jar to subsidize contractors’ base pay, as Instacart did. DoorDash defended this, saying its pay model “provides transparency, consistency, and predictability” and has increased both satisfaction and retention of its “Dashers.”

    But Kristen Anderson of Concord, a social worker who works part-time for DoorDash to help with student loans, said that was not her experience. Her pay dropped dramatically after DoorDash started appropriating tips in 2017, she said. “Originally it was worth my time and now it’s not,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

    Debi LaBell of San Carlos, who does weekend work for Instacart on top of a full-time job, has organized with others online over the tips issue.

    “This has been a maddening, frustrating and, at times, incredibly disheartening experience,” said Debi LaBell of San Carlos, who does weekend work for Instacart on top of a full-time job. “When I first started doing Instacart, I loved getting in my car to head to my first shop. These past few months, it has taken everything that I have to get motivated enough to do my shift.”

    Before each shopping trip, she hand-wrote notes to all her customers explaining the tips issue. She and other shoppers congregated online both to vent and to organize.

    Her hope now is that Instacart will invite shoppers like her to hear their experiences and ideas.

    There’s poetic justice in the fact that the same internet that allows gig companies to create widely dispersed marketplaces provided gig workers space to find solidarity with one another.

    “It’s like the internet taketh and giveth,” said Eric Lloyd, an attorney at the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, which represents management, including some gig companies he wouldn’t name, in labor cases. “The internet gave rise to this whole new economy, giving businesses a way to build really innovative models, and it’s given workers new ways to advance their rights.”

    For California gig workers, even more changes are on the horizon in the wake of a ground-breaking California Supreme Court decision last April that redefined when to classify workers as employees versus independent contractors.

    Gig companies, labor leaders and lawmakers are holding meetings in Sacramento to thrash out legislative responses to the Dynamex decision. Options could range from more workers getting employment status to gig companies offering flexible benefits. Whatever happens, it’s sure to upend the status quo.

    Rather than piecemeal enforcement through litigation, arbitration and various government agencies such as unemployment agencies, it makes sense to come up with overall standards, Rosenblat said.

    “There’s a big need for comprehensive standards with an understanding of all the trade-offs,” she said. “We’re at a tipping point for change.”

    Carolyn Said is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: csaid@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @csaid

    #USA #Kalifornien #Gig-Economy #Ausbeutung

  • Federal judge rules Uber calling its drivers independent contractors may violate antitrust and harm competition / Boing Boing
    https://boingboing.net/2019/06/21/labor-uber.html

    A federal judge has ruled that alleged misclassification of drivers as independent contractors by the ride-hailing service app Uber could harm competition and violate the spirit of America’s antitrust laws.

    • Lawsuit says misclassifying workers creates competitive harm
    • 30 days to amend complaint with new information

    The ruling by Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is not a final decision in the case, but is a “significant warning to ride-hailing companies,” Bloomberg News reports.

    “It signals how a 2018 California Supreme Court case and future worker classification laws could open the floodgates to worker misclassification and antitrust claims.”

    Uber’s Worker Business Model May Harm Competition, Judge Says
    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/ubers-worker-business-model-may-harm-competition-judge-says

    Uber’s Worker Business Model May Harm Competition, Judge Says
    Posted June 21, 2019
    Suit: Misclassifying workers produces competitive harm
    Complaint must be amended within 30 days with new information
    Uber‘s alleged misclassification of drivers as independent contractors could significantly harm competition and violate the spirit of antitrust laws, a federal judge ruled.

    The ruling, although not a final decision in the case, is a significant warning to ride-hailing companies. It signals how a 2018 California Supreme Court case and future worker classification laws could open the floodgates to worker misclassification and antitrust claims.

    Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declined to dismiss all of the claims brought against Uber by Los Angeles-based transportation service Diva Limousine, saying the company established a causal link between Uber’s behavior and real economic harm being felt by competitors.

    Driver misclassification could save Uber as much as $500 million annually just in California, according to Diva’s lawyers.

    “Diva’s allegations support the inference that Uber could not have undercut market prices to the same degree without misclassifying its drivers to skirt significant costs,” the judge wrote in the June 20 ruling.

    Unlike employees, independent contractors aren’t entitled to benefits such as health care, unemployment insurance, minimum wages, and overtime.

    An attorney for Diva said he was pleased with the court’s decision and that it was a warning that the company couldn’t skirt California labor laws.

    “There’s an acknowledgement here that Uber not only harms its drivers but also that its conduct crosses the line from robust competition to unfair competition,” said attorney Aaron Sheanin of Robins Kaplan LLP. “And that injures its competitiors, including Diva.”

    Uber didn’t return a request for comment.

    Overall, Uber was only able to get part of Diva’s complaint fully dismissed—specifically, its claims under the state’s Unfair Practices Act. Diva’s claims under the California Unfair Competition Law can proceed once it amends its complaint to address jurisdictional issues and other legal arguments.

    Diva’s lawyers have 30 days to refile an updated complaint which is likely to move forward given the judge’s ruling that the claims have merit.

    The ruling was based in part from language drawn from the California Supreme Court’s April 2018 ruling in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court. That decision made it harder for California employers to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. It also condemns misclassification as a type of unfair competition.

    Uber identified Dynamex in regulatory filings as a long-term potential risk factor for its business success.

    The case is Diva Limousine, Ltd. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 3:18-cv-05546, Order Issued 6/20/19.

    #USA #Uber #Wettbewerb #Monopol #Urteil #Justiz

  • California is cracking down on the gig economy
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/5/30/18642535/california-ab5-misclassify-employees-contractors

    California just took a major step in rewriting the rules of the gig economy.

    The state Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would make it harder for companies to label workers as independent contractors instead of employees, a common practice that has allowed businesses to skirt state and federal labor laws. The bill will now go to the state Senate.

    Hundreds of thousands of independent contractors in California, ranging from Uber and Amazon drivers to manicurists and exotic dancers, would likely become employees under the bill.

    That small status change is huge. These workers would suddenly get labor protections and benefits that all employees get, such as unemployment insurance, health care subsidies, paid parental leave, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, and a guaranteed $12 minimum hourly wage. It also means companies are fuming about the added cost.

    The California bill, known as AB5, expands a groundbreaking California Supreme Court decision last year known as Dynamex. The ruling and the bill instruct businesses to use the so-called “ABC test” to figure out whether a worker is an employee. To hire an independent contractor, businesses must prove that the worker (a) is free from the company’s control, (b) is doing work that isn’t central to the company’s business, and (c) has an independent business in that industry. If they don’t meet all three of those conditions, then they have to be classified as employees.

  • #Iterations #1 : Trasformatorio Call
    http://constantvzw.org/site/Iterations-1-Trasformatorio-Call,2913.html

    The call for participation in the Trasformatorio international hacklab is open until 11 february 2018. Trasformatorio is a temporary laboratory that will take place in Sicily between April 20th to May 1st, 2018. It is organised by Dyne.org in collaboration with the City of Scaletta Zanclea. Trasformatorio is the first #Residency in the framework of the Iterations project, a collaboration between Hangar,Constant, Esc and Dyne.org running between 2017 and 2019. Iterations is a series of (...)

    Iterations / Residency

    « http://www.trasformatorio.net »
    http://iterations.space
    « https://hangar.org »
    http://constantvzw.org
    « http://esc.mur.at »
    « http://dyne.org »
    « http://iterations.space/index.php/2018/01/04/iterations-1-call-for-projects-in-trasformatorio »
    « http://www.trasformatorio.net/?p=2680 »

  • The Real Winner of the Afghan War Is This Shady Military Contractor
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/24/the-real-winner-of-the-afghan-war-is-this-shady-military-contractor.h

    #DynCorp, one of the largest corporations working in the government’s army of private contractors, has long been known for #corruption scandals and a questionable performance record. But none of that seems to have discouraged the U.S. government from awarding the company new contracts.

    • Un large éventail de #bénéficiaires en fait,
      http://seenthis.net/messages/138770

      Contractors are hardly alone in raking in the dollars from the Pentagon’s baseworld. Pentagon officials, military personnel, members of Congress, and lobbyists, among others, have all benefited — financially, politically, and professionally — from the giant overseas presence. In particular, contractors have spread the love by making millions in campaign contributions to members of Congress. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, military contractors and their employees gave more than $27 million in election donations in 2012 alone, and have donated almost $200 million since 1990.

      Most of these have gone to members of the armed services and appropriations committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. These, of course, have primary authority over awarding military dollars. For the 2012 elections, for example, DynCorp International’s political action committee donated $10,000 to both the chair and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, and made additional donations to 33 other members of the House and Senate armed services committees and 16 members of the two appropriations committees.

      #corruption_légale

  • Panel: UN reliance on private military security companies growing, lacks transparency - The Washington Post
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/panel-un-reliance-on-private-military-security-companies-growing-lacks-transparency/2013/08/01/ec2beae0-fafb-11e2-89f7-8599e3f77a67_story.html

    While the U.N. has taken steps to clarify its policies, panel members said many issues remain unresolved. Among those is how to hold contractors accountable for abuses committed in the field and the establishment of an oversight mechanism to ensure compliance with international standards.

    Complicating the situation, security companies are sometimes hired not by the United Nations but by member states participating in its missions. Most recently, military contractor DynCorp announced in April that it won a State Department contract for up to $48.6 million to help support a U.S. contingent to the peacekeeping mission in Haiti. DynCorp, based in Fall Church, Virginia, said it will recruit and finance officers to join the Haiti mission’s police unit.

    DynCorp’s involvement in U.N. operations has been controversial in part because the company secretly coordinated flights for the rendition terrorism suspects to CIA-operated overseas prisons. The firm also drew criticism in 2005 when three of its guards assigned to the protective detail of Afghan President Hamid Karzai got drunk and caused a scene in the VIP lounge of the Kabul airport. #DynCorp fired the three guards.

    Private security companies often become involved in U.N. operations “because of the #outsourcing policies of implementing partners or member states,” said Ase Gilje Ostensen, a Norwegian academic who last year published a report titled “The Political influence of Private Military and Security Companies on U.N. Peacekeeping.”

    “In fact, private military and security companies sometimes deliver their services within U.N. operations to little awareness or oversight of the U.N. at all,” Ostensen said Wednesday during a debate at the United Nations.

    U.N. officials said the world body needs private security firms because its growing peacekeeping operations and other missions increasingly operate in regions where conflicts are no longer between government armies that respect U.N. personnel, but between insurgents who do not.

    (...)

    In a speech last year, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Stephen Mathias called the increasing attacks [on U.N. staff] “a disturbing trend” that “has led to an increased use of armed private security companies.” He said the U.N. had recently adopted a policy that establishes that such firms must only be engaged as a last resort. It requires that they subscribe to an “International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers,” which was cr eated in 2010 through multilateral discussions.

    Critics note that the international code is not a legally binding document. Faiza Patel, a member of the Working Group, also noted that most individual countries have not committed to a similar requirement when hiring private security firms to help in their participation in U.N. missions.

    #mercenaires #sous-traitance #ONU #impunité

  • Online Retailers Rush to Adjust Prices in Real Time - NYTimes.com
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/01/business/online-retailers-rush-to-adjust-prices-in-real-time.html?pagewanted=all

    The battle was fierce over the holiday weekend. At the request of The New York Times, the pricing firm Dynamite Data tracked prices at three major online retailers — Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Target.com — starting the week before Thanksgiving and going through Tuesday, after most heavy promotions ended.

    The data shows that retailers paid close attention to competitors’ online prices and in-store specials, battling to undercut one another by as little as 2 cents and forcing each other into out-of-stock positions as they pushed prices down. Retailers fight to have the lowest prices to increase sales volume, aid in search-result prominence and help burnish a thrifty reputation.

    #algorithmes (l’article parle de programmes informatiques) du #marketing (et de travailleurs aussi #cognitariat disons) en #temps_réel

  • DynCorp recrute un ex de la Commission on Wartime Contracting
    http://lignesdedefense.blogs.ouest-france.fr/archive/2012/01/07/dyncorp-recrute-un-ex-de-la-commission-on-wartime

    Elle a recruté en décembre dernier Michael Thibault, dont le profil n’est pas anodin. Cet ancien directeur adjoint (de 1994 à 2005) de la Defense Contract Management Agency (chargée de superviser les appels d’offres et d’en assurer le suivi) a plus récemment tenu le poste de co-chairman de la Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (cliquer ici pour lire mon post du 1er septembre dernier). Cette commission (dont les archives sont inaccessibles jusqu’en 2031 !) a débusqué quelque 60 milliards de dollars de fraude, surfacturation, corruption sur les deux théâtres ! 60 milliards gaspillés à cause de l’incurie des services du Pentagone, de la volonté des prestataires de services d’engranger encore plus de bénéfices et le manque de volonté politique des administrations administrations successives.

    Thibault a donc un profil idoine pour être celui qui va mettre dans l’ordre dans les pratiques de DynCorp dont l’image pourrait être meilleure. Mais pas plus le DoS que le DoD ne semblent s’en émouvoir : ils continuent de recourir aux services de la SMP. A moins, version plus romanesque mais beaucoup moins morale, que Thibault n’ait été le sous-marin de DynCorp, pendant de longues années, et que l’heure de la récompense ait enfin sonné pour ce fonctionnaire méritant !

    #mercenaires

  • Contractors to the Congo
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/262-pmscs-a-us-empire/51061-contractors-to-the-congo.html

    The US State Department has awarded a contract to the contentious private military and security company Dyncorp International to train the military in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For decades, private military contractors have been active in African countries, and their involvement has included everything from bringing down governments and fighting rebels to natural resource extraction and illegal involvement in arms trade. Private firms acting on behalf of the US government are also surrounded by controversy due to lack of regulation and accountability.

    #mercenaires #sécurité privée #RDC

  • Uncharted Waters : Thinking Through Syria’s Dynamics - International Crisis Group
    http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa/egypt-syria-lebanon/syria/B031-uncharted-waters-thinking-through-syrias-dynamics.aspx

    Many in Syria and abroad are now banking on the regime’s imminent collapse and wagering that all then will be for the better. That is a luxury and an optimism they cannot afford. Instead, it is high time to squarely confront and address the difficulties before it is too late. In the “draft political program” it released on 20 November, the Syrian National Council ‒ an opposition umbrella group – presented the image of an entirely peaceful movement enduring savage repression. The regime and its allies regularly describe the crisis solely as the local manifestation of a vicious regional and international struggle. The two black-and-white narratives are in every way contradictory and mutually exclusive. Both miss a central point: that successful management of this increasingly internationalised crisis depends on a clear-eyed understanding of the grey zone that lies between.

    Le rapport de Peter Harling donne une vision très claire, quoiqu’assez unilatérale et peu substanciée, de la manière dont le régime s’est enfermé dans une dialectique mortifère : agitant le spectre d’une menace qui n’en était pas encore une (l’immixtion des puissances et partis étrangers sur son sol), le régime a consciemment instrumentalisé les oppositions confessionnelles latentes jusqu’à ce qu’elles produisent leurs effets mortifères. Il a transformé la communauté alaouite, pourtant profondément clivée, en son bouclier vivant (et accessoirement aussi les chrétiens). Il a été incapable de changer sa politique économique et sociale pour dissiper les tensions et a au contraire aggravé la crise actuelle, sans se préparer aux sanctions, notamment face à la menace de pénurie énergétique. Enfin, son armée dont il s’est toujours défié, est aujourd’hui déconsidérée par les exactions d’une partie de ses membres, et de plus, apparait aujourd’hui incapable d’assurer le maintien de l’ordre et de la sécurité face à la montée en puissance de l’Armée syrienne libre, à la tentation de la violence d’une partie des contestataires initialement non-violents ou dans les poches sécessionnistes qui commencent à s’organiser en différentes régions du territoire syrien. Des fractions croissantes de la population se détourneraient du régime.
    Il souligne les risques de tensions au Liban, directement par implication des diverses parties et indirectement, par les mutations économiques et géopolitiques qui suivraient un effondrement.

  • U.S. can’t justify its drug war spending, reports say
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-narco-contract-20110609,0,1742011.story

    The reports specifically criticize the government’s growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate fields of coca, operate surveillance equipment and otherwise battle the widening drug trade in Latin America over the last five years.

    The majority of U.S. counter-narcotics contracts are awarded to five companies: DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT and ARINC, according to the report for the contracting oversight subcommittee, part of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

    Counter-narcotics contract spending increased 32% over the five-year period, from $482 million in 2005 to $635 million in 2009. DynCorp, based in Falls Church, Va., received the largest total, $1.1 billion.