The widespread tech layoffs shattered long held illusions about the tech industry and its pushing interest in organizing efforts, labor experts said.
The widespread tech layoffs shattered long-held illusions about the tech industry and its culture.
That’s pushing interest in organizing and unionization efforts across the tech industry, labor experts said.
There are hurdles ahead, as tech workers fear for their jobs, but the perspective has forever changed.
The layoffs that swept Google in January accomplished two big things.
First, it successfully shattered the illusion that tech giants like Google are completely immune to the whims of the economy — despite a famously whimsical corporate culture that encouraged employees to think of working at the search giant as a lifestyle.
Second, the episode drove several hundred Googlers to sign on as members of the small-but-growing Alphabet Workers Union, said Emma Kinema, a lead organizer at Code-CWA, which helps organize the group and others.
As tech giants like Microsoft, Meta, Google, Salesforce, and others continue to cut jobs and slash costs, labor experts say that now is exactly the right moment for tech workers to get organized and demand better treatment from their employers.
“These layoffs are a huge culminating moment where that rose tinted glasses, it’s just getting absolutely shattered,” Kinema said. “And so in many ways, it really just helps bring about a tipping point in this industry where people are already starting to normalize the idea of organizing.”
The tech industry has largely avoided unionization over the last several decades, as high wages and generous benefits have removed the urgency of taking collective action. Now, however, the looming risk of recession is pushing those same workers to claim a certain degree of agency.
Additionally, support for labor unions is the highest it’s been in more than half a century, with 71% of American workers saying approve of labor unions, according to a Gallup poll released in August. Still, it’s far from certain that we’ll see a wave of unionization across Silicon Valley, the way that the United States has seen a massive upswing in the number of Starbucks stores that have formed their own unions.
One challenge is simply that the traditional approach to unionization and collective bargaining may not work in tech, where there’s so little precedent and it’s not clear the best way to take action. …read more
Source:: Business Insider