Weekend News & Commentary— September 22nd, 2019
More than 1,200 students at 17 universities have signed a pledge not to take jobs with Palantir, a big data analytics company, until it drops its software development contracts with ICE. Under the name #NoTechForICE, the campaign is modeled on similar efforts from the 1960s, when students targeted recruiters for Dow Chemical to protest the company’s sale of napalm during the Vietnam War. As part of its recruitment strategy, Palantir often directly pays universities thousands of dollars a year to reach their students via campus information sessions, career fairs, faculty advisors, and access to student resumes or projects.
Three days after California passed AB 5, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott sued Instacart, alleging that its shoppers’ tasks are “directly within the course of Instacart’s business model,” which would require the grocery delivery company to classify them as employees under the new bill. “Companies like Instacart cannot deprive their employees of the basic job protections guaranteed under state law by calling them independent contractors,” Elliott said in a statement. “We are seeking restitution for the workers who’ve been exploited in the past, and we are also demanding that Instacart start legally classifying its workers.”
At a rally for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held today in Houston, Texas, President Trump cited a controversial job training “pledge” program spearheaded by his daughter as a major accomplishment. In exchange for pledging new or pre-existing employee training opportunities—largely unconstrained by rules or close oversight—companies often get “face-time” with senior Trump administration figures. The vice president and at least ten cabinet-level officials have all held events with companies that have signed Ivanka Trump’s job pledge.