Tech has to be a frontier in 21st century unionization. The libertarian bro culture of Silicon Valley means that it isn’t going to be easy, as these companies have no problem proudly announcing they will flout the law if they choose. But the bad working conditions have combined with the growth of professional-class unionism are starting to lead to some early efforts. One is at Kickstarter. And that company is responding just as you would think:
On Thursday morning, Kickstarter fired Taylor Moore, an employee who was one of the organizers of a unionization effort within the company. This was the second firing of a union organizer since last week, when Clarissa Redwine was also fired. Moore had been at the company for six years and Redwine since 2016, and both worked on the outreach team. Both had been heavily involved in the union effort since it began earlier this year. Moore and Redwine, according to four sources who work at the company, were both fired for what management alleged were performance-related issues.
Kickstarter would not specifically comment on Moore’s and Redwine’s firings and said it has not fired anyone for union activities. On Monday evening, Redwine and the Office and Professional Employees International Union (through which Kickstarter employees are organizing) filed an unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the severance agreement offered to her by Kickstarter contained an illegally phrased nondisparagement clause. Kickstarter told Slate it has not seen the filing and could not comment.
The union effort became public in March. In May, CEO Aziz Hasan* told employees that the company would not voluntarily recognize the union if asked, but that it would respect the results of a secret staff vote. Multiple current and former employees told Slate that since March, the company has expressed to the staff that it does not believe a union is right for Kickstarter.
One would like to think that the NLRB would act quickly, restore these organizers to their jobs and create conditions for a fair election, but the process has been so taken over by employers and become so glacial in movement that even when a Republican doesn’t control it, it’s still not much of a remedial agency and certainly not at the pace of a person needing a regular paycheck.