Fairwork US Ratings 2023: A Crisis of Safety and Fair Work in a Racialised Platform Economy

Cover of Fairwork US Ratings 2023

This report assesses 13 of the largest digital labour platforms in the United States (US) against five principles of Fairwork – fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation. The findings indicate that none of the digital labour platforms assessed for this research are taking adequate measures to guarantee minimum thresholds of decent work to their workers.

This report underscores that as an increasingly important part of the economy, platform work is not inherently good or bad: alternative models exist, but they must be supported by policy makers, consumers, and investors. It pays particular attention to race as a structuring feature of the platform economy in the US context—also highlighting gender and immigration status as important factors.

The timing of this report is significant. Platform workers in the US have been protesting low earnings, ongoing safety concerns, and unfair terminations across the country. In addition, there is currently a slate of new legislation with important implications for platform workers under consideration at the federal and state levels. This report offers evidence that without significant rights or protections, platform workers face conditions in the US that fall well below global standards of fair work.

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