- A customer service firm used by the likes of Apple, Amazon, Airbnb, and more has a history of exploiting the remote gig workers it recruits, according to a new ProPublica report.
- Arise Virtual Solutions, which serves as a contractor to staff customer support teams, has seen booming business during the pandemic as it allows large corporations to easily hire and fire the people it contracts.
- The report paints yet another picture of how workers in the gig economy are left vulnerable to exploitation.
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A customer service firm hired by the likes of Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, and Disney has seen a burgeoning business during the pandemic. But the 25-year-old firm also has a history of worker exploitation, according to a new ProPublica report.
Arise Virtual Solutions acts as a middleman between gig workers — who, ProPublica reports, are mostly women and people of color — and big companies, pairing the remote customer service workers with large corporate clients. Arise’s clientele includes Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Disney, eBay, Peloton, Virgin Atlantic, and many others, according to the outlet.
The corporations are drawn to Arise’s services in part because of how quickly the firm can hire workers, the report notes. But Arise can also easily fire those customer service agents, without severance or insurance, in what is another example of how rampant worker vulnerability and exploitation can be in the gig economy.
Arise has been hit with federal class-action lawsuits since 2011, with workers alleging federal labor law violations and wrongful treatment of employees. ProPublica viewed hearings, internal documents, corporate contracts, and other records, as well as spoke with multiple agents for its investigation.