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  • Writer's pictureJosey Goggin

An Anti-Gig-Economy Gig

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

San Francisco is the epicenter and test lab guinea pig of the gig economy.

Down the road a bit, Silicon valley technocrats keep cranking out variations on models of work that get around the safety checks and job security measures labor unions spent decades fighting for.

The gap between the haves and the have-nots grows wider with every new app produced.

Last night after dinner at one of the few original restaurants remaining on the recently gentrified Valencia Street, I came across this brass ensemble giving an impromptu concert on the street corner.

At first I thought the musicians were just out busking on a Friday night. It is a common scene in San Francisco.

But then I realized it was something more.

The ensemble was out on the street raising money for a fellow band member, a gig-economy contractor, with no benefits and no job security or unemployment named Montana. Currently injured, and therefore unable to work her normal gig, the single mom is in danger of losing her home.

But here's the thing. It is not just busking for tips when you take time out to explain the problems of the economy that is creating the problem. It is a form of nonviolent action. It is number thirty-six of Gene Sharp's 198 methods: Performances of plays and music (pressure on individuals) and number one: public speeches (formal statements), with a little number eight: banners, posters and displayed communication (communications with a wider audience) thrown in for good measure.

This gig was asking passersby to recognize the greater impact of their quick rides, and door-to-door deliveries, and to recognize the protections lost by contract workers impact us all.

Further resources:

Gig workers protest low pay and lack of compensation transparency Here the protesters employed #21: Delivering of symbolic objects (they delivered peanuts to the corporate headquarters) and #133 Reluctant and slow compliance.

No. 36: Performances of plays and music

No. 1: Public speeches

No. 8: Banners, posters and displayed communication


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