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In These Times - April 22, 2022

"Through the platform co-op model, individuals can wear both hats of worker and business owner. This model allows them to aspire for greater income equality, dignified labor [and] democratic decision-making."—From “Policies for Cooperative Ownership in the Digital Economy,” A report by Dr. Trebor Scholz et al.

plat·form co-op

noun

1. An internet-based business controlled by the worker-owners who run it

So, like Uber for worker power?

That’s the idea! Presently, the so-called sharing economy often evades employee and consumer protection regulations, which is bad news for workers. But the underlying technology has its advantages: By cutting out the Silicon Valley middlemen, platform co-ops are putting a 21st century spin on worker-owned enterprises.

The Drivers Cooperative, for example, began offering rides through its Co-op Ride app in New York City in 2021 and redistributes profits back to its driver-owners with an annual dividend. It also assists with auto loan refinancing.

Hosts on Fairbnb, meanwhile, each rent out a single vacation property and direct 50 percent of booking fees to community projects.

Why not just regulate Uber, Airbnb and the others?

We need to! One of the most sinister aspects of the gig economy is the way companies have deployed their deep pockets to circumvent (or openly flout) existing laws. In 2020, for example, Uber, Lyft and DoorDash spent $200 million on a campaign to roll back a historic California state law — passed only the year prior — that would’ve classified gig workers as employees (with benefits!) rather than contractors. ...
Read the full article at In These Times