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About the Project
Platform Organizing is a multi-year research project that investigates and assesses the recent growth of collective organization by workers in the platform economy. Producing actionable knowledge and research to support platform workers and their labour associations, the project will analyze case studies of emergent forms of collective organization in six crucial urban locations for the platform economy–Vancouver and Toronto in Canada, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles in the US, and London in the UK. Drawing on the experience of a research team of leading platform labour scholars with close connections to workers, trade unions, and emergent worker associations in their strategically-chosen urban centres, this project investigates three dimensions of overlap between labour organizing and digital platforms:
- labour organizing by high-skill, core workforces of platform companies (e.g. Google)
- labour organizing by workers at the precarious margins of the workforce (e.g. Uber), and;
- the production of alternative communication platforms for labour organizing (e.g. Coworker.org)
Guided by the methodology of co-research, the case studies will draw on participant observation, interviews, and focus groups in order to answer:
- What models of collective organization are being developed by high-skill, core workforces at platform companies?
- What models of collective organization are being developed by workers managed by platforms at the precarious margins of the workforce?
- What forms of technology are platform workers developing to assist organizing efforts among diverse and dispersed workforces?
- What models of solidarity organizing are being developed across platform workforces separated by employment status, and what kinds of technologies are assisting with this?
This research project will be led by scholarly expertise informed by members of labour associations and trade unions. It will address some of the most significant problems that have arisen for workers as a result of the development of the platform economy and describe emergent models of collective organization in the context of platform capitalism.
This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.