This project examines the promises and practices of labor platforms across the ridehail, care, and cleaning industries in the US. Between Spring and Winter 2017, we conducted over 100 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with ridehail app drivers, in-home child and elder care workers, and housecleaners who use platforms to find work in primarily in New York, NY, Atlanta, GA, and Washington, DC.
During this period, we also observed the online communities that these workers have formed to discuss occupational or platform-based issues. Although there is a growing body of research on platform-based work, few ethnographic studies exist, and public understanding of this area is shaped largely by journalistic and corporate-produced narratives about who workers are, what motivates them, and how they understand their work. This study contributes new insights on the operation of labor platforms in different low-wage industries and raises new questions about the role of technology in restructuring work.