A Mechanical Turk Worker’s Perspective
Kristy Milland is currently working towards her JD at the University of Toronto. Previously, she was community manager of Turker Nation, the oldest community for Amazon Mechanical Turk crowd workers. In this role, Kristy had her finger on the pulse of the Turker population, with a deep understanding not only of how to get the best work quality on the platform, but the labour issues that surrounded microtask crowd work.Her research interests involved whether the current legislative schemes of Canada and the U.S. concerning labour and employment were of use to gig economy workers, and, if not, how they could be changed to ensure that all gig workers could be protected from exploitation. For example, she had great interest in the outcomes of cases like Heller v Uber, Dynamex, and Vazquez v. Jan-Pro, as well as attempts at union certification for Uber and Foodora in Ontario. As a gig worker on Amazon Mechanical Turk, Kristy experienced the precarity of this form of work first-hand. She took it upon herself to get as much attention to the issue as possible so that nonprofits, unions, academics, government, and industry might take up the cause and determine how to make crowdwork a job people could be proud to have. She has spoken around the world about the ethics and exploitation of crowd work, how to use Amazon Mechanical Turk effectively while still respecting the workers, and the importance of regulation of crowd work as more and more jobs are being taken away from skilled, educated workers and given to the crowd. She has stepped back from her activist role to focus on law school.