Kickstarter employees voted 46 to 37 in favor of unionizing with the Office and Professional Employees International Union on Tuesday. That makes the popular crowdfunding platform the first well-known tech company in the U.S. to see its white collar workers unionize, marking an important milestone in a broader movement for more worker representation in the tech industry.
After initially pushing back against the unionization efforts, calling them “inherently adversarial” and “not reflective of who we are as a company, how we interact, how we make decisions”, Kickstarter’s CEO Aziz Hasan voiced his “support and respect” for the decision in a brief statement on Tuesday, adding that “we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here.”
Tuesday’s decision at Kickstarter follows several successful union campaigns led by blue collar tech workers and reflects a general increase in activism among tech employees. From Amazon workers slamming their employer’s climate change policy to mass walkouts at Google in protest of the company’s handling of sexual harassment, the tech workforce has become more and more vocal in recent years.
According to Collective Actions in Tech, a project documenting actions from workers in the global tech industry, the number of protests, walkouts, open letters and other collective actions in the industry has risen steeply in recent years. In 2019 alone, the website tracked 110 such incidents, up from a combined total of 68 between 2015 and 2018.