Employees at Kickstarter, the decade-old crowdfunding platform, are planning to unionize—potentially making them the first organized labor force among major tech firms.
The move comes less than a week after Gimlet Media—the podcasting company soon to be acquired by tech giant Spotify—announced its own plans to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East. It also comes a month after Amazon abandoned plans for a second headquarters in Kickstarter’s home of New York City, in part because of pressure by local politicians to insist on neutrality from the company in the face of unionization attempts in Staten Island by the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Kickstarter told Gizmodo in an email that is is “aware” of its employees’ unionization efforts.
“We’re proud that everyone here at Kickstarter cares deeply about its mission and its future,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re aware that there are team members at Kickstarter who are interested in forming a union, and we look forward to hearing more about our employees’ concerns.”
In a memo obtained by the Verge, Kickstarter Union states that the company’s “values have failed to manifest in our workplace,” and the union hopes to encourage “solidarity, transparency and accountability; a seat at the table.” It’s not known currently which employees are part of the unit, if they’ve signed union cards, or what percentage of the workforce are in support of organizing.
The Office of Professional Employees International Union, local 153, which is assisting in the organizing efforts, provided the following statement with Gizmodo:
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 will stand 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.
Update 3/19/19 5:17pm ET: In what may be an unrelated event, Kickstarter’s CEO Perry Chen, announced he’s stepping down from his role.
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