Knowledge = Power: Strategic Research for Systemic Change
Independent Drivers Guild-IAMAW
The economy is the production, exchange, and distribution of things by people, but too often, it seems that the economy controls human activity, rather than the other way around. This is nowhere more evident that in New York City’s for-hire vehicle industry, where a workforce of 100,000+ independent contractors work 60+ hour weeks and spend on average $31,000 per year on the things they need to do their jobs: vehicles, insurance, a dispatch app, fuel, oil changes and repairs, phones and phone service, car washes, to-go food, and other inputs. Drivers find themselves caught up in economic forces that seem to be beyond our control, working long hours for low pay while the wealth they create ends up in the hands of already-wealthy investors. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
In this participatory action research project, an elected council of New York City for-hire vehicle drivers will learn research skills to analyze the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the for-hire vehicle industry and its ancillary sectors, work in teams to develop a transformative vision for how things would work if the for-hire vehicle industry was put under worker ownership, and create reports on how to get there.
Research Fellows will join weekly class sessions from 7-9pm at the IDG office in Brooklyn to meet with the drivers involved in the project, and act as a research assistant outside of class for teams they are assigned to as they prepare their reports. The reports will be based on a template adapted to the industry each team is exploring. Research Fellows will aid students in completing research tasks and conduct some research themselves, and will work with students to synthesize that research and prepare the final written report.
Expected workload is approximately five hours per week (two hours in class, three hours remote or in the field) for 12 weeks.
- Commitment to the labor movement
- Passion for social justice
- Experience working with immigrant workers
- Quantitative research skills
- Familiarity with Google Docs and other digital tools
- Multilingual preferred
- Experience with cooperatives and/or business development preferred
- BA or higher preferred
Compensation: $1200 stipend.
FHV drivers, women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQIA individuals, people with disabilities, workers fired for union organizing, and others facing systemic barriers on the labor market are especially encouraged to apply.
To apply, send a resume and cover letter to Education Director Erik Forman, firstname.lastname@example.org.