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The big unanswered question from the health care debacle

As everyone knows, last week legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act – aka “ObamaCare” went down in a stunning defeat.   This shocked the political world as getting rid of Obamacare it has been the avowed goal of of the Republicans – almost their “raison d’etre” (reason for being) for the past seven years .  On top of that, President Trump had made it his top priority, pledging to have the act repealed some 64  and even promised to deliver a full repeal of Obamacare  “On day one of the Trump Administration”.

A visit to a WeWork co-working center

WeWork booth space for individuals

Last week, the Japanese multi-national powerhouse Softbank announced that they would be investing up to $3 billion in the American firm WeWork which manages co-working facilities.

On the surface, this would seem to be a validation of the co-working concept, If this deal closes, it would put the value of WeWork at an impressive $20 billion – obviously they have made it to the “big league”.   Since I am self-employed and have been shopping for a co-working facility for myself, I decided to pay a visit to the We-Work facilities in downtown San Diego to take a look for myself.


HP accussed of “purging” older workers

In what has been increasingly common, another Silicon Valley tech industry giant has been charged with age discrimination and a company wide “purge” of older workers.   The San Jose Mercury News reported that four former employees filed a complaint August 18th in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, alleging the Palo Alto-based company’s goal for layoffs was “to make the company younger.”

Wildcat strikes come to the gig economy

In what could be a “preview of coming attractions” a wildcat strike broke out in London earlier this month at the food deliver service Deliveroo.   While not a big player in the U.S., Deliveroo uses couriers to transport hot food from restaurants that can’t afford their own delivery staff to customers in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Australia and London.


Allegation of Corruption in Uber Drivers Union

Huck Konopacki: from Labor Notes

A new organization called the “Independent Drivers Guild” has been formed to represent an estimated 35,000 Uber in New York.   This guild was founded by Uber and the Machinists union and will give drivers a process to appeal their terminations and will form a new “Works Council” intended to give them a voice in communicating with management.


Most Americans couldn’t come up with $1000 to cover a serious emergency

According to a jaw dropping poll by Associated Press, two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with the money to cover a $1,000 emergency, such as a medical bill.   They quoted Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute focusing on poverty and emergency savings issues:
“The more we learn about the balance sheets of Americans, it becomes quite alarming… people are extremely vulnerable if they don’t have savings and it’s a cost to taxpayers as well. Lack of savings can lead to homelessness, or other problems.”

Liberals need to tread carefully on gig economy issues

It is not a vicious attack, but expect to see more articles like this.  While those on the left seem to be sincerely interested in the well-being of gig-economy workers. there is a danger of ignoring the benefits of these new kinds of arrangements – both for the workers and for the economy.
“Liberals consider such arrangements largely exploitative-with companies such as Uber getting fabulously rich while the contractors doing the work hustle, scrape, and scuffle for crumbs. Uber corporate employees, after all, enjoy fringe benefits, unemployment insurance, and job security; the drivers do not”.

U.S. Department of Commerce narrowly defines “gig economy”

As described in the summary below, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of the Chief Economist, has weighed in on the “gig economy”.  In this report, they disregarded the larger implications of this trend – for example, people hammering together part-time and other non-traditional employment, the make a living, to just address “Uber-like” sharing services which they call “digital matching services”.
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