2021 was a big year for union organizing in tech. We saw 14 new tech unions, record activism among smaller tech firms, and a continued fight against transphobia, homophobia, racism, and sexism in the workplace. As we’ve seen these actions unfold over the course of the last year, it’s caused us to rethink our mission as an organization.
We began Collective Action in Tech with the idea that tech workers– and not media or management– should define the tech workers movement. We set out with the ambitious goal to archive all publicly reported protests by tech workers around the world in a publicly accessible archive open to crowd-sourcing. To date, we have captured over 481 actions from 1969 to present-day.
We quickly began to realize, however, that simply archiving the movement would never be enough to capture the nuance of organizing, to celebrate its victories or to adequately portray the lessons that could be gleaned from its failures. We needed to elaborate on what the tech workers movement was all about. We evolved from an archive to a media and research project where we invited workers to share their stories, produced our own coverage of events that privileged worker perspectives, and started creating organizing resources specific to tech workers.
As we started to do this work, we realized that our connections to talented and dedicated veteran organizers, plus the enthusiasm we saw from fledgling tech worker activists around the globe, was really at the center of our ambition to advance the tech workers movement. This led us to develop our new mission: to embed learnings and perspectives from veteran organizers in the present-day tech workers movement.
To kick off this next chapter of Collective Action in Tech, we are starting a new program called Embedded Organizers. With so many nascent organizing efforts across the industry, our goal is to build a growing community of seasoned labor organizers and advocates into a support network to share resources, guidance, and strength. Organizers will be paired with nascent union drives and organizing efforts as embedded organizers.
We invite tech workers who are curious about organizing in their workplace to apply. Organizing can take a variety of forms – we support all types of organizing, with a perspective towards building worker power. To make this program possible, we offer each Embedded Organizer a small stipend in exchange for their time. For those who have the means, we would greatly appreciate any contributions through our Patreon.
In addition to the Embedded Organizer program, we are launching a Tech Union Compendium, a collection of all of the U.S. tech unions that have been publicly revealed to-date. This is designed to be a resource for workers who are interested in organizing, to allow them to learn from the experiences of others, get a sense of what it takes to unionize, and compare across efforts. As part of the Tech Union Compendium, we will be running a monthly series with interviews and essays featuring the union organizers themselves.
As the struggles in tech continue to evolve and grow, we will evolve and grow with it. We believe that workers have a vital role to play in holding tech companies accountable, in fighting for a fair and just workplace, and in fighting for a more equitable and sustainable future for us all.
To help support our work, we would greatly appreciate any contributions through our Patreon if you have the means.