Labour Geographies and the Digital Transformation of Work: Self-Employment, Collective Organizing, and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance
Built around a collection of four manuscripts, this dissertation focuses on the collective organizing strategies of non-standard workers. Multiple chapters focus on a case study of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a union without collective bargaining rights, and its effort to improve working conditions in the for-hire transportation industry and to redistribute economic resources to drivers. Drawing on mixed methods including participant action research, interviews, and surveys, the research took place amidst industry transformation brought on by the introduction of app-based dispatching services, such as Uber and Lyft. Several of the manuscripts examine the effects that app-based dispatching services have on work quality, the for-hire vehicle industry generally, and on for-hire drivers’ collective organizing strategies. Engaging with disciplines including labour geographies and industrial relations, this dissertation presents local regulatory infrastructures as an adequate venue for traditional taxicab and app-based drivers to address their collective interests and to achieve enforceable improvements in working conditions and wages.