Digital Labor

Samuel Dwyer


Sam Dwyer is a New School dropout, and, uh, “independent researcher.”  Dwyer used to be a digital marketing technology analyst for a British company called Econsultancy, but then he got fired. Following this, he wrote and starred in a YouTube series called “the spectacle show,” then spent a year working with the bastard son of Gamal Abdel Nasser on an as-yet unproduced television screenplay about 14th Dynasty Egypt.

Hard Work for Decent Pay
For the past 7 months, Dwyer has been an UPS man; brown shorts, brown truck, delivering throughout downtown Brooklyn. For those of you who don’t know, this is a damn good American job: pay for guys who have achieved seniority is currently $34/hour, overtime, there is no-cost comprehensive health insurance for the family, 401k, and a pension at 25 years service. This is the kind of job that inspires young men working Dunkin’ Donuts counters look up at you with awe and respect, and ask “how can I become a UPS driver?”

The reason this job is so unusually good is because UPS is a unionized shop, represented by the Teamsters. But will this last? Because of “the ecommerce revolution,” the parcel delivery business is rapidly expanding, but the competitive pressures are enormous, and there are some storm clouds on the horizon for the men in brown. Amazon recently enticed the USPS into delivering on Sundays at no rate premium, and rivals like Fedex and Lazership classify much of their workforce as independent contractors. Amazon, and other tech companies such as Google, are also in the early stages of developing their own logistics operations.

Presumably, these new operations won’t be offering their employees pensions…

Teamsters, UPS, & the Gig Economy (Student Panel)
Fri, November 14
05:15 PM - 06:00 PM