Annette Mühlberg works for the United Services Union (ver.di) in Berlin. With more than 2 million members – both regular employees and freelancers – ver.di is one of the largest independent trade unions in the world. Annette is head of ver.di’s group on digitalization. In that that capacity she is responsible for digital labor, net-politics, and e-government. For 15 years she has been focusing on the challenges of digitalization in respect to democracy, civil rights and a co-determined world of work and she developed model company agreements in the field of e-government to strengthen public interest and good working conditions was also a member of the Enquête “Internet and Digital Society“ of the German Bundestag, a commission of experts and parliamentarians advising the German Federal Parliament.

There Are Alternatives As trade unionists we want to co-shape emerging forms of work and influence the political framework, ensuring a decent life for everyone – be it a regular employee with a stable working contract or an independent contract worker, day laborer, or freelancer. For many years, ver.di has been organizing freelancers and cloud workers in the form of a dedicated support and advice network, information about fees and contracts, and the provision of professional development services.

Digitalization does offer opportunities for the self-determination of workers but they don’t inevitably have to blindly and inevitably hand over the fruits of their labor to intermediaries. They can also organize in co-ops, collaborate with unions, and operate their own businesses! Another Internet is possible!