NEW YORK -- In a historic step forward for workers organizing in tech, employees at Glitch, a coding platform tool company, today won recognition for their union. The employees will join Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1101. Glitch voluntarily recognized the union after it demonstrated that 90% of the workers indicated their support for joining CWA and authorized CWA to be their bargaining representative.
The organizing effort is part of the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA) initiative, launched by CWA in January in order to help workers in the industry build power. By forming a union, Glitch employees, about half of whom work in the New York City headquarters and half of whom work remotely throughout the country, will gain a voice on the job and the ability to collectively bargain for pay equity throughout the company, and protections from unfair discipline and lay-offs.
“CODE-CWA is committed to helping workers fight for improvements throughout the tech and game development industries, which too often take advantage of workers’ skills without listening to their input on issues that affect them on the job,” said Emma Kinema, Campaign Lead for CODE-CWA. “Glitch workers’ overwhelming support for forming a union highlights the importance of organizing efforts in the industry, as well as CWA’s success in driving progressive changes for workers across corporations both large and small in the telecom, media, tech and game development industries.”
Employees at major American tech and game companies have grown increasingly active and outspoken about workplace issues, including sexual assault and harassment, ageism, unequal pay, “crunch time” (i.e. long-term overtime and overworking), poor treatment of contract workers, inadequate racial and gender diversity, and lack of transparency and inclusion in decision-making around controversial contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“We are excited to set the standard for the tech community, and for us at Glitch to join CWA in pushing for ethical, humane, and responsible behavior from tech employers. We are also very excited to support workers everywhere engaged in similar struggles,” said Zainab Shah, a Partnerships Manager at Glitch. “The balance of power is a little more in favor of workers today, and I'm proud of us for contributing to the long and deep-rooted tradition of organizing for labor rights in the US and beyond.”
"We look forward to bargaining with Glitch management,” said Keith Purce, CWA Local 1101 President. “We appreciate that unlike so many employers, the Glitch management team decided to respect the rights of its workforce to choose union representation without fear or coercion."
CWA has a long history of building power with workers in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sector. CWA was founded by telecom workers, and supports media workers through its Newsguild-CWA and NABET-CWA sectors. In the late 1990’s CWA’s WashTech local did pioneering work to address issues faced by Microsoft’s contract workers.
CWA in early December filed Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of the “Thanksgiving Four” -- the four Google workers who were fired in retaliation for their involvement in worker organizing efforts to preserve and improve their working conditions at the tech giant. Google’s decision to fire the four workers coincides with the company’s hiring of a consulting firm known for its anti-union rhetoric. Later in the month, CWA filed other Unfair Labor Practice charges, one on behalf of a fifth Google worker, who was fired in retaliation for engaging in similar organizing efforts, as well as one alleging other coercive and intimidating tactics by Google to chill further organizing efforts.