12/22 SPENDING BILL IMPASSE; Digital Surveillance in Labor w/ Karen Levy

December 22, 2022

Emma hosts Karen Levy, Assistant Professor of Information Sciences at Cornell University, to discuss her recent book Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance. Emma first runs through updates on Zelesnkyy’s congressional address, Senate Republicans obstructing Biden’s funding bill, and Sean Hannity’s admission under oath that he didn’t buy much of the election-denying shenanigans on his OWN SHOW, also touching on Rep Kevin Brady’s speaking out against holding powerful people to account financially. Karen Levy then joins as she dives right into the supposed “trucker shortage” that the US is facing right now, exploring why there are, in fact, many truckers available, they’re just not getting paid enough to continue work in the industry, before stepping back to analyze the impact of four decades of deregulation of the industry, bringing about dropping wages, raising hours, and falling safety levels. Continuing this analysis, Professor Levy walks Emma through the precipitous decline of the role of unions and teamsters in an industry that was previously known for its labor forces, with the government still proclaiming the work as “essential” while refusing to meet the needs of the workers, from wages to infrastructure and more. Next, Emma and Karen discuss the little bit of trucking regulation that the government has actually stood behind, parsing through their surveillance requirements for digital tracking of truckers, walking through its failure to address the root issue it was supposed to address (worker safety) and how it provided an infrastructure for the corporations to ramp up their own surveillance measures, pushing biometric monitoring and predictive analytics that push their workers to abuse stimulants and push their bodies to the limits. Wrapping up, they tackle potential solutions that Professor Levy sees as possible and that actually target the issue at hand by detaching payment and protections from miles driven or hours worked.

And in the Fun Half: Emma talks with Hamish from Taho on cashews and veganism, and Dr. Phill hosts an anti-teacher-union hack to discuss why public school teachers are swindling the US out of billions (that they refuse to spend on themselves)! Then, she’s joined by Matt Binder and Brandon Sutton as they reflect on Sam Bankman-Fried and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) showering each other in golden thank-yous, and Alex from New York calls in with a few matchups. They also tackle Andrew Callaghan’s killer confrontation with Don Lemon on the fear-mongering motive of the 24-hour news cycle, and Neil deGrasse-Tyson clamors to Elon Musk’s defense. Jay from North Carolina discusses term limits and making a more robust democracy, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Karen’s book here: https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691175300/data-driven

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