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New Tech Labor Movement Unites Office & Gig Workers After Protests - Across Pay Scales, Job Types, Geographies & Companies, Workers ‘Have Joined Together In An Unprecedented Shows Of Solidarity’

Published Friday, July 24, 2020
by Tyler Sonnemaker & Allana Akhtar/Business Insider Via Portside.org
New Tech Labor Movement Unites Office & Gig Workers After Protests - Across Pay Scales, Job Types, Geographies & Companies, Workers ‘Have Joined Together In An Unprecedented Shows Of Solidarity’

Google was one of the first.

Last September, 80 Google Contractors working for HCL Technologies voted overwhelmingly to Unionize.

Then Engineers at the company advocated for a Union a month later - and were later fired.

Then on New Year’s Eve, 2,300 Contract Cafeteria Workers who wash dishes and prepare food at Google's Bay Area campuses also Unionized, telling Recode they were "overworked and underpaid."

Other companies took notice.

Soon after, dozens of Kickstarter Employees formed the first White-Collar Union at a major Tech Company.

Even a year ago, the idea that Tech's Cafeteria Workers and Office Workers were on the same page about forming a Labor Union would have seemed unthinkable.

The recent wave of Employee activism and organizing efforts represents a widening rift between the industry's Rank-and-File Employees and its executives.

For the first time, developers and product managers with higher pay and closer ties to management are siding with their lower-paid colleagues in warehouses, cafeterias and contract gigs.

A global pandemic and sweeping protests against systemic racism have brought Workers across pay scales, job types, geographies, and companies together in an unprecedented show of solidarity.

They've protested unsafe and toxic workplaces, racial and gender discrimination, and stagnating wages as tech Companies rake in record profits.

At the same time, Workers who build the technologies shaping our society are demanding a say in how those products get built.

Business Insider spoke to more than a dozen Tech Employees, Organizers and Labor Experts who said the industry has reached an inflection point: Workers from the cubicle to the warehouse are, for the first time in a major way, united.

"What's ‘different in this moment is that people see themselves as connected to, dependent on, and responsible for one another’ - Software Engineers and Warehouse Workers and Delivery Drivers, customers, neighbors," said Dania Rajendra, who serves as Director of Athena, an organization of Amazon Workers and Activists.

Recent months have shown Tech Workers just how removed executives can be from the experiences of regular Employees.

The pandemic has wiped out millions of jobs since March, including cushy gigs at UberLyft, and Airbnb.

Meanwhile, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' personal fortune has grown by $35 billion this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's has jumped $30 billion, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is at least $2 billion wealthier, and Uber is busy buying up multibillion-dollar startups.

Labor Leaders say the pandemic's impact on Tech Workers of all social classes, from Software Engineers to Delivery Drivers, has shifted often in opposition to management.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: www.portside.org/2020-07-21/new-tech-labor-movement-unites-office-and-gig-workers-after-protests

 

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