Front page of Issue 16

The winter 2015 print edition is in stores now. Special report on the persistence of segregation in local public schools. Plus: 24-page insert commemorating the now shuttered weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian, produced by the newspaper’s former staff.

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Tech Company CrowdFlower Denies Labor Violation

By Erik Neumann, Mission Local

CrowdFlower, a tech company based in the Mission District, boasts on its website of having “The World’s Largest Workforce,” performing hundreds of millions of tasks for Web-based client companies. Now, one of those virtual workers has filed a lawsuit in federal court charging that CrowdFlower broke the law by paying less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

An Oregon man, Christopher Otey, brought the action on behalf of himself and others who found work through CrowdFlower. But unlike most employers, CrowdFlower — which vigorously denies any wrongdoing — said it had no idea who Otey was.

Based 723 miles away from San Francisco in Astoria, Ore., Otey worked online for the Internet-based company’s clients, who use workers to do things like identify people in photos and verify phone numbers — minute, repetitive tasks that are too subjective and subtle for computers to do.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.