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National News

Kickstarter union is first of its kind in tech industry

New York Teacher

Workers at the Brooklyn-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter voted to form a union on Feb. 18, becoming the first white-collar, fulltime employees in the technology industry to unionize. The new union, Kickstarter United, will be part of Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153 and will now move to negotiate a first contract with Kickstarter’s management.

“What Kickstarter employees are organizing a union for is the agency to challenge management when management is failing the community,” said Clarissa Redwine, one of Kickstarter’s union organizers. “Workers want to be able to participate in critical product decisions without retaliation, to change how the company handles sexual harassment, how it addresses gender discrimination, and they want to take on future challenges with a healthy power structure.”

Redwine was one of two lead union members fired during a year and a half of organizing in a tense and intimidating environment organizers say was created by the company’s managers.

The union vote at Kickstarter is part of a wave of unrest among tech industry workers. Employees at companies including Google, Amazon and Microsoft have organized to stop their employers from activities they view as unethical, including building artificial intelligence systems for military drones and working with federal government agencies engaged in surveillance and deportation.
NBC News, Feb. 18

Related Topics: Labor issues, National News