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AMU Gig Economy Equity and Ethics Discussion

AMU Gig Economy Equity and Ethics Discussion


Smartphone-driven services, such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, allow customers to quickly and easily arrange for a ride or get food delivered. At the same time, they also provide just about anyone with a driver’s license and a working automobile with the ability to earn money as drivers.

For many people who work for these companies, the goal is simply to earn additional income over and above their primary jobs. Others prefer the freedom and flexibility of gig work and may be employed in freelance or contract work in a variety of roles simultaneously.

However, many opponents of the gig economy have argued that it reduces the bargaining power of workers, provides more power to corporations, and reduces corporate responsibility for employee safety and benefits. In fact, 46% of gig workers believe their benefit packages are unfair and do not adequately meet health care and paid-leave needs (Anderson et al., 2021).

To complicate matters, the gig economy disproportionately employs nonwhite individuals. According to a Pew Research Center survey examining 18–29 year olds, three out of 10 Hispanic workers and one in five Black and Asian workers participated in gig work, but white employees only constituted 12% of the labor force (Anderson et al., 2021). There is also substantial economic disparity present in the gig economy. A quarter of all lower income workers have reported completing gig work, and that number is only 13% for middle-income workers and 9% for upper income workers (Anderson et al., 2021).

When examining this issue through the lens of equity and corporate responsibility, the gig economy generates several ethical considerations and dilemmas. Although most gig workers stated their employment was essential for meeting their basic needs (58%), it is apparent that they are not being provided the same benefits and protections as full-time employees (Anderson et al., 2021). The racial and economic disparity present in the workforce also calls into question the equitable outcomes of this type of employment and the ethical nature of corporations that utilize this type of workforce.

As you begin to write your initial post, please consider the following questions.

Many employers now operate using a combination of full-time employees and contract workers. From the employers’ perspective, this allows for greater flexibility and gives people who don’t want to work full time an opportunity to contribute. On the other hand, this arrangement may also be seen as increasing economic disparity between social classes and different racial groups. From the standpoint of equity, are companies that rely heavily on contractors treating all of their workers fairly? Are they acting in an ethical manner toward society?

Have you ever had a gig job? If so, how does that impact your view of this issue?

Try to make your first post by Wednesday, and remember to reply to your classmate’s posts!

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