Lubbock Central Labor Council

 

Despite its setbacks, or perhaps because of them, organized labor has an energy level that AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says he hasn’t seen before in his 50 years with the movement.

Vow of 'Bigger, Broader, Bolder' Labor Movement

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Until last week, Li Zilles was one of the many nameless and faceless contractors toiling in the bowels of the internet, providing online services that might have been mistaken for the work of artificial intelligence.

The job: to transcribe audio files for the start-up Rev.com, churning out texts without clients ever knowing the name of the transcriber.

This was a lonely existence, and not an easy one. The pay, even though the work was full-time, was little enough that food stamps became necessary.

When the global economy shifted in the late 19th century, working people were the first to adapt. They moved to cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo, Ohio, and worked long hours in unsafe factories. They drove the Industrial Revolution and changed the nature of work forever. When it became clear that employers were exploiting their productivity, the labor movement formed to protest abuses like sweatshops, child labor, and poverty wages.

On September 13 more than a hundred activists participated in a bicoastal protest at Palantir’s two headquarters, in New York City and in Palo Alto, California. The intent of the protest was to bring awareness to the tech company’s involvement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which Palantir provides with data-mining software that’s been used to screen undocumented immigrants and plan raids.