HIGHTOWER: "Contingency" Workers

All kinds of "doublespeak" words have been coined by greedheaded corporate executives trying to cover-up the fact that they are dumping middle-class workers by the millions: "downsizing," "decruiting" and "negative hiring," for just a few examples.Having discarded so many valuable employees, though, corporate performance has been hurt, so the honchos are now bringing-in millions of new workers to replace them -- workers who are paid less, get few if any benefits, and have no long-term future with the company. Instead of calling these folks what they are -- corporate serfs -- the jargoneers have come-up with more doublespeak: "Contingency workers."Sounds impressive, until you realize that it simply means the worker's job is contingent on the daily mood of the big boss, who can dump them without reason or recourse: adios chump.Already, about a fourth of the jobs in our country are filled by temporary and part-time employees, doing everything from secretarial work to airplane maintenance, banking to engineering. Some 30-million of us now wander from job-to-job, hoping there'll be another one after being punted from the last one. Among major corporations, 70 percent now use contingency workers, and the number is growing dramatically as top executives realize "hey, we can hire these throw-away employees and take no responsibility for their well-being."Seventy-five percent of contingency workers make less than $16,000 a year -- almost a poverty wage. Only 39 percent get any paid vacation, only 8 percent get health coverage, only 4 percent get life insurance, only 3 percent get sick-pay and only 2 percent get a retirement plan.What we are experiencing here is an ongoing war against the middle class, a war in which a few privileged executives and investors are profiteering at the expense of the rest of us, destroying the American notion that we are a united nation.Source:"Temporary workers gaining market share, statistics show" by Elena Bianco. New York Times: December 31, 1996.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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