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The Platform Economy and the Future of the City

March 25, 2019 @ 8:30 am - March 26, 2019 @ 12:30 pm

A Philadelphia convening focused on the impacts of the emergent Platform Economy. Workers and leaders will gather and share ideas about how to make the most of the gig economy while ensuring good jobs.

New digital technologies are remaking the way we live, changing the way passengers and goods move, and services are provided. They hold out the hope of numerous benefits for consumers and cities by making transactions more efficient while increasing accessibility, variety, and convenience for consumers. At the same time, it is clear these outcomes won’t automatically come about without the right policies in place to guide their development and adoption. As a result, numerous debates have arisen around how to ensure that the costs and benefits of these new technologies are equitably shared. Many of these debates, like the most obvious immediate impacts, are happening at the local level, particularly in larger cities.

Today, Philadelphia has begun to proactively convene and learn about how issues surrounding the Platform Economy are being addressed in other cities. We are united in our concerns about healthcare, social stability, human dignity, and quality of life issues for workers and consumers in this new economy. This convening will explore ways to engage “platform companies” and balance the demands of consumers, workers, and tech innovators.

Seating is limited and RSVP is required. Must have photo ID. You must arrive 10-15 minutes to allow time to go through security at City Hall (NE entrance across from the Marriott). For more information please contact briar.smith@asc.upenn.edu

March 25: City Hall Mayor’s Reception Room


8:30 Coffee and light breakfast
9-9:15 Welcome: Mayor Jim Kenney introduced by John L. Jackson Jr., Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication
9:15-10:30 What is the platform economy and what does it mean?

Moderator: Julia Ticona, Assistant Professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

  • Biju Matthew, Organizing Committee, New York Taxi Workers Alliance
  • Lawrence Mishel, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute
  • Christopher Land-Kazlauskas, International Labour Organization
10:30-12:00 Drawbacks and Possibilities of Technology in the Gig Economy

Moderator: Aiha Nguyen, Labor Engagement Lead, Data & Society

  • Tina Vu Pham, Gig Economy Organizer, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Brian Dolber, Ride Share Drivers United & Assistant Professor, CSU San Marcos
  • Kendra Cornejo, Northeast Coordinator for United for Respect
  • Alexis Rodich, Research and Policy, SEIU 775
  • Six Silberman, Project Secretary, IG Metall
12:00-12:30 Lunch
12:30-1:30 International Labour Organization: How do Labor, Business and Government collaborate to deal with the platform economy?
  • Kevin Cassidy, Director and representative to Bretton Woods and Multilateral organizations, ILO Office for the United States
  • Gabriella Rigg Herzog, Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs, U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB)
  • Chris Land-Kazlauskas, Technical Specialist, Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, ILO
1:30-3:00 Policy Interventions that Work for Workers

Moderator: Sheila Ireland, Director of Workforce Development, City of Philadelphia

  • Leonard Smith, Co-Director of Organizing, Teamsters Local 117
  • Autumn Weintraub, Campaign Director, SEIU 32BJ
  • James Farrar, General Secretary, United Private Hire Drivers/IWGB
  • Worker, Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-4:30 Is the Law on Our Side?

Moderator: Stephen Herzenberg, Keystone Research Center

  • Laura Padin, Senior Staff Attorney, National Employment Law Project
  • Sarah Schalman-Bergen, Shareholder, Berger Montague
  • Julia Simon-Mishel, Attorney, Philadelphia Legal Assistance
4:30-5:00 Close

Bryan Mercer, Executive Director, Media Mobilizing Project

Todd Wolfson, Co-Director, MIC Center


March 26: Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, University of Pennsylvania

9:00-9:15 Welcome back: Mark Aakhus, Associate Dean of Research, Rutgers SCI

Steve Viscelli, Senior Fellow, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, University of Pennsylvania

Rich Lazer, Deputy Mayor of Labor, City of Philadelphia

9:15-11:00 Organizing platform workers: cross-sector lessons and practical challenges

Moderator: Kati Sipp

  • Chuck Stiles, Vice President, Teamsters Local 728
  • Yaseen Aslam & James Farrar, President, United Private Hire Drivers/IWGB
  • Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, Co-Worker
  • Callum Cant, Deliveroo Courier, International Workers Union Great Britain (IWGB)
  • Biju Matthew, Organizing Committee, New York Taxi Workers Alliance
11:00-12:00 Sector Breakouts-What are the lessons for workers in the region?
  • The London Story
  • Tech that Works for Workers
  • Worker Policy and Organizing in New York and Seattle
  • When the Law is on Our Side
12:00-12:30 Final Group Discussion: Common Threads, Priorities, and Next Steps

Moderators: Todd Wolfson, Co-Director, MIC Center

Kati Sipp, Principal, New Working Majority

Ryan Hancock, Lawyer, Willig, Williams & Davidson


March 25, 2019 @ 8:30 am
March 26, 2019 @ 12:30 pm
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