The Fox, issue 2: We Ken Do It, 2 Become Win, Jeff Off, Mod-noir
Hello and welcome to the second edition of The Fox – a newsletter for all tech workers, and their allies, fighting for fair pay and decent work.
We Ken Do It
Ahoy-hoy Metamates. Another day – another part of the world where Facebook’s content moderators are exploited, given PTSD and paid peanuts. This time, it’s Kenya, which moderates FB for much of sub-Saharan Africa.
TIME published a must-read report inside FB’s Nairobi content moderation office, run by self-promoting “ethical AI” company Sama. The Fox must need a new dictionary, there’s nothing in ours under ‘ethical’ about union-busting and throwing people out of the country for trying to form a union.
Foxglove is supporting brave lead organiser Daniel Motaung in a legal challenge after his unfair dismissal by Sama. Watch this space.
2 Become Win
Speaking of mods, back in mid-Twixtmas, outsourcing giant Accenture told Facebook mods in Mountain View, CA, that they had to come into the office – FB’s directly-employed mods were exempt, natch – in the middle of a Covid spike.
After 2021, however, mods were ready to go full Popeye.
A dozen or so told Sweet and co exactly where they could stick their quality scores and threatened to walk unless the order was scrapped – which it promptly was, bosses melting in the Cali sunshine.
Less than a week later, Accenture somehow managed to miss a round of payments to its moderators in Austin, TX, then failed to fix the problem for several more days.
As before, mods could stand no more – warning Sweet and Zuckerberg in an open letter that an effective strike would begin if they didn’t get paid. Within minutes, their paychecks arrived.
These wins show organising *works*. In Mountain View, just a dozen mods working together forced giants like Accenture and Facebook to cave. Facebook can’t exist with content moderators – they just got two big reasons to remember that. NDAs next in the crosshairs?
Ding Ding! Put up your dukes foxes. Round two of Amazon vs Bessemer got going this month as workers in Alabama open up a can on Bezos in their battle to unionise their warehouse. Vice reports 50% of those voting have been hired since the first vote. Godspeed Bessemer – more details here.
And they’re not alone. Workers on Staten Island, NY are boxing Ol Pink Turtlehead too after succeeding in their long struggle to bring a vote for union recognition forward… and Amazon are already cranked into full union-busting thugs mode. Give him hell Shaolin.
All in the same month Amazon said they’ll can drivers for peeing in bottles in their lorry cabs. As if anyone would choose to pee in a bottle unless Amazon forced them to. Real charmer, that Jeff.
Former Facebook mod Spencer Darr penned a vivid memoir for Foxglove’s website of working the graveyard shift in Accenture’s Texas tower block. We’re indebted to Spencer for sharing his memories with us. Have a read.
That’s all for now Foxes – until next time.
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