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Gig Workers vs. UBI

Workers engaged in the “Gig” job should study the playbook of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the Wobblies. They fought for free speech and one big worldwide union with a cooperative common wealth, which would be free of class and national distinction. The Wobblies were founded in 1905 and are still around today. The Gig workers should consider joining the IWW since most of the Wobblies were part-time workers and travelled the country looking for work. The 9-to-5 jobs that a worker could retire from are just about gone. Four out of 10 Americans now make a living through nontraditional work schedules. There are a large group of freelance, contract, part time, temporary, virtual shared, and patched-together work. All that the workers fought for since the 1880s and the 21st century have been lost and we are now back to a kind of scavenger economy and existence. Forbes magazine predicted that by 2020, 50 percent of the American labor force will work at least partly on a freelance basis. In 2015, the Government Accountability Office reported that workers without secured jobs were at 40.4 percent and this army of temporary workers, contracted and the self-employed will grow so what is to be done? A $15 an hour minimum age would be a start or everyone could receive a Universal Basic Income (UBI) check to cover their basic needs. UBI would be a form of monthly insurance much like Social Security. Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX founder, said in a CNBC interview, that the rate of technological advances is replacing human workers at a “lightning speed pace.” If robots are doing the job, someone has to take the vacations. Other countries are starting to look at giving their citizens UBI checks. We, worldwide, are running out of jobs, and extra money in people’s pockets to spend on the little luxuries in life. No jobs, no money, no economy—so, is it time to revisit the IWW way.

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