Who’s the Boss Now? Building Worker Power in an Age of Apps and Insecure Work

Who’s the Boss Now? Building Worker Power in an Age of Apps and Insecure Work

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Saturday, Aug. 15 12:00 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Saturday, Aug. 15 12:50 PM (Eastern)

Workers not only should earn a livable wage, but they should be able to work collectively with security and dignity. To pad their bottom line, however, corporations have eroded that social contract and invented a fiction where all workers are their own boss, removed from labor rights and protections. In doing so, employers leave millions of workers nationwide, particularly those of color, vulnerable and atomized. This panel will explore how progressives can stand with workers to fight for a system where they are treated fairly and employers are held accountable. Building on lessons learned in 2019 and 2020, this panel will encourage progressives to organize and fight strategic battles at the local, state, and federal level.


Brian Chen

Brian Chen

Brian Chen is a Staff Attorney with the National Employment Law Project. He advocates to end worker exploitation in nonstandard work structures, such as the on-demand economy. He believes workers must have the ability to build power in their own workplaces.

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Asm. Lorena Gonzalez

Asm. Lorena Gonzalez

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District covering Southern San Diego County. In 2014, she authored historic legislation allowing 6.5 million Californians to earn paid sick leave, making California the first state to guarantee earned sick days for every private sector worker.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez also passed legislation prohibiting HOAs from fining homeowners for replacing grass lawns with drought resistant landscaping, strengthening consumer protection for insurance products, creating the nation’s first workplace bullying training requirement, and helping San Diego special elections cost less and engage more voters.

The daughter of an immigrant farmworker and a nurse, she previously served as the first woman and first person of color to be elected CEO and Secretary-Treasurer for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

Nonetheless, Lorena’s most cherished title is mother. Her daughter, Tierra, studies Journalism at New York University and her son, Antonio, attends middle school in San Diego.

E. Tammy Kim


Tammy is a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times, a co-host of the Time to Say Goodbye podcast, and a freelance magazine reporter for outlets including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Columbia Journalism Review, and The Nation. She previously worked as a legal-services attorney and has been active in the labor movement. In the fall of 2020, she will be the Distinguished T. Anthony Pollner Professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism.