WinterMilestone 4 Dubs: Worker's Union - Insurance Plan

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Worker's Union - Insurance Plan

What's the problem you are solving

Unfair rejection

Crowdsourcing platforms are known for being of very importance to a lot of people’s income. While showing itself as an extra source of income, or even an alternative to common jobs, many people rely on those platforms to make a living. One of the biggest problems with today’s crowdsourcing platforms is that workers doesn’t have anyone to resort if they feel like a requester is not being fair. If a person does a job, for instance, provides medical assistance. If something goes wrong, and someone wants to prosecute the doctor, he will probably have someone(or some organization) to verify if all the procedures were done correctly and decide whether the incident was caused by a doctor’s mistake. The same principle applies to many others examples. These organization can be Unions, or any other association(like Doctors or Lawyers). This principle could work on a Crowdsourcing platform. When a worker get his HIT rejected, he just lost some of his time for not being paid, and sometimes it is not even his fault - it can be the result of a poorly written request or even from bad faith of a requester. Some forums emerged in order to balance that inequality. The usage of forums is a way of organizing workers to avoid getting into doing HITS from particular requesters is good, but the platform can improve this system and provide proper support for workers.


Let's start with a real life example. You hire someone to paint your house all blue. The painter comes and does his jobs. In the end, you say you didn't like the color and you are not going to pay. We know we can't simply do that in real life. It will probably become a judicial problem. There are a lot of different possibilities. The painter maybe painted the house red instead of blue. Maybe the house is 80% blue and 20% green. Anyway, there is a mismatch between a requester and a worker. First, we have to verify if there is a real mistake. Secondly, it is necessary to check if the instructions provided were clear enough to avoid that mistake. However, our goal here in crowdsourcing is to not rely on a third-party decision and be able to provide an efficient self and open government of our system. Therefore, why not use our own capacities to judge if the rejection was fair or not? We are then talking about a Worker's Union and a insurance plan for unfair rejections.

Related Work

"and then building systems to resolve those political differences, we built a system to make worker - employer relations visible and to provoke ethicaland political debate"” " 67 respondents answered our open-ended questionsurvey about what they would desire as a “Workers’ Bill of Rights.”

" The ethical challenges and issues faced by workers, and the ethical issues we face as researchers, are produced in the encounters between us, the workers, and Turkopticon.This paper offers a snapshot of the lessons we have learned and their implications for design practice at this point in the evolving socio-technical system"

"Workers have limited options for dissent within AMT itself.Resistance through incorrect answers can simply be filtered out through employer’s algorithmic tests of correctness. Dissatisfied workers’ within AMThad little option other than toleave the system altogether.Because AMT treats workers interchangeably and because workers are so numerous (tens of thousands by he most conservative estimates), AMT can sustain the loss of workers who do not accept the system’s terms."

"Individuated workers had little opportunity to build solidarity, offering them little chance of creating sufficiently coordinated actions to exert pressure on employers and Amazon"”

"Of our 67 responses [42], workers recurringly raised anumber of issues: •35 workers felt that their work was regularly rejected unfairly or arbitrarily

•26 workers demanded faster payment (Amazon allows employers 30-days to evaluate and pay for work)

•7 explicitly mentioned a “ minimum wage" or“ minimum payment" per HIT

•14 mentioned “ fair" compensation generally

• 8 expressed dissatisfaction with employers’ and Amazon’s lack of response to their concerns"



General structure

The main system is related to the insurance that workers can request when they think the rejection decision was unfair. If they are right when they request this method, they might get their money back if there's a common decision from both parties. Otherwise, they are subject to the Strike Rule, which will be further explained. The idea is that there will be an algorithm to decide which are the best members to evaluate a rejection case again. If the users accept the task (it will be shown as a normal task), they will have the opportunity to assess the case. If they decide that the requester was wrong; they will send back the case to the requester with their decision and the requester can agree or not with them. This decision will be public. If the Union committee's decides the task was indeed wrong, the worker will be subject to the Striker Rule (he might not be able to request an evaluation again for a while). The public record will be available so workers can decide if they trust the requester or if they don't. If the Union committee doesn't work properly, they might be punishing a good requester (it's not good for them) or benefiting a bad requester. It's for their own best interest to always act properly.

Union Fee and insurance plan: Waterfall

It's necessary to have a fee to pay for the evaluation tasks. Our idea is that if requesters are paying it, everyone is paying it. It's a waterfall system. If the requester has to pay a fee, he might need to lower the price of the task (even if it's a very small fee). Therefore, everyone feels the effect of this decision and is currently paying for it.


  • IMPORTANT:When we say "the union selects" we are talking about an algorithm that will select a different group of workers every time.

There would be the following steps:

  • Requesters pay a small fee per batch: Union Fee (similar to MTurk operational fee for example)
  • Requester rejects a work
  • Worker request his insurance plan
  • The system use the good reputation and previous approval of the related requester parameters to issue a task for specific members
  • The Union fee is used to pay the task
  • Selected users decide if they want to join the committee (not mandatory)
  • The committee evaluate the case
  • The case comes back to the requester and he decides to keep or change his opinion
  • The case is registered: both the decision of the requester and of the committee can be public seen.
  • It's public. Therefore, other workers can see if the requester has a long history of ignoring the committee decision.

Selected group of users for the task

Although all the workers are important, there is always a reputation system that can rank the different performances of workers. It means that there is a different level of reliability for workers. Moreover, some requesters have approved and liked the work of a specific set of workers of the platform. Therefore, they would have a higher chance of relying on them. If we could combine the reputation and the previous approval of a requester; we can combine these two tools to arrange a committee of workers that could evaluate a situation.

Decision policy

There should be a high standard of approval to provide the worker's final decision. Something around 70% of the workers must agree it shouldn't be reject to confirm this as their final decision.

Striker Rule

If a worker requests insurance and the committee decides that the requester was right, the worker gets a strike. After a certain number of strikes, a worker cannot request insurance for a period of time.

The strikes ensure that the worker doesn't request insurance in situations that aren't applicable, which prevents the union from wasting money.

The final decision and public record

If a worker believe the rejection was not fair, he may request that a group of selected and reliable workers assess the situation and judge if it was fair or not. If it was indeed unfair, the committee could request the requester to evaluate again the situation. If the case was unfair, then the requester will know that he's probably made the correct decision. The case will be public. It means that everyone can see the decision of the requester and the decision of the committee and if they match.

Community Benefit

As stated before, ff the committee doesn't work properly, they might be punishing a good requester (it's not good for them) or benefiting a bad requester. It's for their own best interest to always act properly. It's a system to benefit the whole community.


Milestone Contributor

Our team:

  • Gabriel Bayomi - @gbayomi
  • Flavio Scorpione - @scorpione
  • Henrique Orefice - @horefice
  • Lucas Bamidele - @lucasbamidele
  • Teogenes Moura - @teomoura