Webinar: How contract workers get treated as second-class citizens

Hosted by TechEquity Collaborative on June 24, 3 PM ET

Public policy advocacy nonprofit TechEquity Collaborative has been working for several months to compile data on tech contract workers - the "C" of "TVC" - and the dramatic negative hits to compensation and benefits that contract workers generally have to endure. On June 24, they're hosting a webinar and panel discussion that will review some of the results of their research so far. Panelists have yet to be announced, and I wouldn't be surprised if the panel participants end up being mostly "former contractors", since the risk of retaliation is so high.

Note that TechEquity Collaborative accepts funding from multiple Big Tech firms, including Facebook, Square, Pinterest, Microsoft-owned Github, and Alphabet-owned Waymo. Their corporate partnerships page suggests that "Partnering with us provides tech companies with the tools to advance social, racial, and economic equity in their culture and strategies." TechEquity Collaborative appears to have at least part of its brain aligned with the corporate social responsibility (CSR) theory of change, which tends to believe that you can get corporations to behave better if you just ask them nicely and show them data. The bullet points on their Contract Worker Disparity project page bluntly say that the project will “Work with our partner companies to develop better corporate practice around using TVCs”. So set your expectations accordingly -- while the data that they have on contract workers as second-class citizens might be strong, their set of recommended solutions is likely to be a set of minor corporate-controlled policy tweaks, and is unlikely to include "tech workers should aggressively unionize and learn how to strike, advocacy nonprofits should organize public campaigns to damage the brands of Big Tech outsourcers, and the Senate should pass the PRO Act". But who knows — I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Below are some extracts from the event signup page.

- Bruce

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techequitycollaborative.org/event/techs-shadow-workforce-revealing-disparities-in-contract-work

Tech’s Shadow Workforce: Revealing Disparities in Contract Work

Thursday June 24, 12 PM PT / 3 PM ET

For too long, the tech industry has been powered by an unseen, underpaid, and under-protected workforce. It’s time to reveal this power imbalance and close the equity gap.

... we’ll be exploring the working conditions of contract workers across the tech industry, how inequities are baked into the contracting structure, and what public and corporate policies can be built to protect this growing set of workers. We’ll share insights from our original research and hear firsthand experiences from contract workers in tech. 

The webinar will be moderated by Catherine Bracy, Executive Director and Co-Founder of TechEquity. 

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