Fight for the Right of Freelancers: Google Must Stop Ripping Off its Publishers
I’ve written about former SEIU leader Andy Stern’s book the last few days. It’s a very interesting book. We can debate his solutions fact in the last post that’s exactly what we did.
How to fight our low wage epidemic: a Job Guarantee (JG) vs. a Universal Basic Income (UBI) https://t.co/gceCRis7LG
— mike sax (@mikesaxny2) June 29, 2017
Basically the conclusion was-the JG and UBI folks are on the same side and should fight the reactionary GOP and not each other as either idea or in combination will be a big improvement on the current status quo-which is a low wage epidemic.
Again, I have to sing the praises of Andy Stern’s book. It’s a treasure trove of insights. Pop quiz: what kind of workers have seen all the job growth since 2005? If you said contingent workers then you are right. You get a prize.
“The General Accounting Office (GAO) defines this type of work as “contingent” because “it takes place in a work arrangement that is not long-term, year-round, full-time employment with a single employer.”
“In 2006, the GAO estimated that 42 million workers in the US were contingent. And the number of these independent workers is growing. A 2015 survey commissioned by the Freelancers Union and Elance (a web-based platform for online, contingent work) found that 53 million workers had engaged in supplemental, temporary, or project- or contract-based work in the past 12 months. In other words, 34 percent of the total US workforce is freelance.”
“These 53 million are equal to the aggregate number of full-time workers in 35 states 21.1 million workers are independent contractors; they don’t have an employer and work on a project-to-project basis:
• 14.3 million workers are moonlighters who have a traditional job but also freelance after work or on weekends;
• 9.3 million are diversified workers; they have multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional employers and freelance work;
• 5.5 million are temporary workers, defined as individuals with a single employer, client, job, or contract project where their employment status is temporary;
• 2.8 million business owners consider themselves freelance; they generally have between one and five employees each.”
It turns out there is such a thing as a freelancers union-it’s run by Sara Horowitz.
“Sara Horowitz, the founder of the Freelancers Union, says that the current shift from employer-based employment to free agency is “on par with the economic shift” a century ago from an agricultural economy to an industrialized one. “Gone are the days of the traditional 9–5,” she says. “We’re entering a new era of work—project-based, independent, exciting, potentially risky, and rich with opportunities.”
Which is pretty cool-turns out there is a union out there for me. As is clear from my last post, one thing very important for the Mike Sax NY 2 Congressional District campaign is policy options to fight back and reverse our low wage epidemic in our country we’ve seen over the last 17 years or so.
By the way, if people ask you ‘Who the heck is Mike Sax’ just say ‘You know what they say, all Sax is good Sax so vote for Mike Sax Democrat for NY Congressional District 2.’
I’m thinking that might be the topic of my first ad buy…
But the idea of a freelancers union is fascniating to me. It turns out that Ms. Horowitz has been at it for some time-and that she’s on the NY Fed. Wow-she’s a star, clearly. And she lives right here in NY-in Brooklyn, where my brother lives.
But it shows that even I have a union now-after years of unemployment and especially underemployment.
And one thing that occurs to me is that it’s time for Google to be held accountable. Which is tough for me to say-as I love Google. We owe so much in terms of knowledge and info thanks to Google. They are like the ultimate library computer that knows almost everything.
But they have treated their publishers very shabbily. The idea that they literally drop publishers whenever they start to make some money has been around for a long time. The trouble is they have not proven this claim false. Ok it hasn’t been proven true either, but we need to know this beyond a reasonable doubt.
And this goes to me personally as well as a publisher who used to write at Blogger and used Adsense. Until the day, Google out of the blue dropped me. It fit the pattern many have complained of: it was the end of the month and they owed me a few hundred dollars. They had already had a few months when they paid me $200 dollars or so. There was one when I got $400.
Suddenly I get a message to the effect that ‘We’re sorry but it’s been determined you may contitute a threat to our advertisers and we have to protect them’
I added the italics on may as that was what makes it all the more maddening. They’re saying you may-or may not-be some sort of ‘threat’ to advertisers and to be safe they drop you-and of course, don’t pay you what they owe you.
They say you can appeal but all they ever send is a form letter that basically reiterates their initial position. For me there was no warning or input as to how I may have violated their TOS.
Google justifies this sort of how the CIA does-‘Sorry, but we can’t elaborate in anyway as that will compromise our sources and methods.’
It seems to me that Google should at least have to answer questions publicly about this. So maybe-if the my fellow Long Islanders of NY 2 honor me with their vote-we can have some hearings on this as well. If Google claims that they can’t do even this-again the whole sources and methods argument-that won’t be acceptable. Nobody, not even Google can be more powerful than the People’s Congress.
Here was what a former Google employee revealed in 2014:
“To sum it up for everyone, I took part in what I (and many others) would consider theft of money from the publishers by Google, and from direct orders of management. There were many AdSense employees involved, and it spanned many years, and I hear it still is happening today except on a much wider scale. No one on the outside knows it, if they did, the FBI and possibly IRS would immediately launch an investigation, because what they are doing is so inherently illegal and they are flying completely under the radar.”
At the very minimum Congress should have him over to testify. Perhaps Virginia Senator Mark Warner would be interested. He is someone who is aware and has been working on issues facing freelance and gig economy workers.
Guess who else was very strong on the gig economy and freelance workers? You guessed it, Hillary Clinton. Of course, the media was just a little distracted over a private email server.
As he’s interested already, Warner might also see the value of bringing this Google whistleblower before Congress.
I love Silicon Valley-some of the very best ideas are out there. For instance, they are the ones pushing ideas like the UBI. Mark Zuckenberg is a big proponent there. And Twitter has done so much in the cause of free speech-and the #Resistance.
But Google despite all the good they do needs to answer for how they treat publishers. The way Amazon does is night and day from how Google cheats them.
Here was some previous legislation from Zuckenberg to help these invisible workers who are in gig and freelance:
“While employees may worry about losing their benefits if they lose their jobs, many of these contingent workers don’t have access to these benefits in the first place. “I don’t think that’s manageable long-term,” says US senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia. “People sometimes like the flexibility of moving from job to job. They might even be doing ok. But if bad stuff happens, that breeds huge economic insecurity.”
“On Wednesday (May 24), Warner introduced legislation in the Senate that would create a $20-million fund to experiment with “portable benefits,” one answer to this challenge. Suzan DelBene, a Democratic representative from Washington State, introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives.”
Portable benefits-another idea whose time has come.
P.S. If you believe that 25 years is enough for an imperious monarch like Peter King NY-2 who is a Republican first and an American second and is too arrogant to even speak to his own constituents please help me in my challenge to him in any way you can. If you live in the area you can volunteer-or at least tell everyone you know. And no matter where you are in the country, donations help.
Mike Sax is the One to Dethrone the King. All Sax is good Sax.
So please vote for Mike Sax for NY 2 Congressional District in 2018.