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Kickstarter’s Staff Is ‘Going Union’ With OPEIU

Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019
by Bijan Stephen/The Verge
Kickstarter’s Staff Is ‘Going Union’ With OPEIU

(NEW YORK CITY) - The Staff of Kickstarter, which has announced its plans to Unionize, would be the first major tech company with Union Representation in the United States - if recognized.  Members of the Union, which goes by Kickstarter United, say they want to improve inclusivity and transparency at the company.  To Unionize, they’re working with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 153.

In a statement, the Union said: Kickstarter United is proud to start the process of Unionizing to safeguard and enrich Kickstarter’s charter commitments to creativity, equity and a positive impact on society.  We trust in the democratic process and are confident that the leadership of Kickstarter stands with us in that effort.  Kickstarter has always been a trailblazer and this is a pivotal moment for tech.  We want to set the standard for the entire industry.  Now is the time. Come together.  Unionize.  In a world of Facebook and Twitter, Kickstarter feels almost quaint in its mission - “to help bring creative projects to life” - and in its charter as a public benefit corporation, which means that the company is “obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders.”  Its Staff Unionizing means the company will also have to consider more seriously its responsibilities to its Employees. I t also means that its fellows in Silicon Valley and beyond could be next.  Kickstarter is fundamentally a tech company and its Staff Unionizing with the OPEIU shows a way forward for other Employees in the space.

The nascent Union said as much in a memo sent out to the Staff, which The Verge has obtained: Kickstarter’s Staff is Unionizing because they want to “promote our collective values: inclusion and solidarity, transparency and accountability; a seat at the table,” the organizers write, noting that in the decade that Kickstarter has been around, it’s democratized crowdfunding and brought more than 150,000 projects to life.  “Kickstarter’s efforts are incomplete, and these values have failed to manifest in our workplace. We can do better together - for ourselves and our industry.”

Kickstarter Staffers say they chose the OPEIU because of its approach to organizing, its experience domestically and internationally, and its diversity of Membership.

As the Union Organizers mention, OPEIU supports “everyone from Helicopter Pilots to Researchers.”

At Kickstarter, all Employees, aside from senior management, will be eligible to join the Union.

At the moment, none of the major tech companies have a Unionized Workforce.

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