Here’s How Professional Union Busters Talk About ‘Woke’ Tech Organizers
A law firm webinar advised employers on how to avoid becoming a target of CODE, an organizing initiative in tech and video game industries
On July 30, the employment and labor law firm Jackson Lewis put on a one-hour webinar designed to educate employers on a new threat: a wave of union organizing in the video game and technology industries. More specifically, it promised to teach them to defend against it.
The webinar, called “Breaking the CODE: Union Organizing in the Video Game and Technology Industries,” focused on a group called Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE) that was formed in January 2020 by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). CODE won its first campaign in March when it successfully organized employees at the communication software startup Glitch, and it is part of an unprecedented surge of tech worker activism: Throughout the last couple of years, Microsoft employees have protested the company’s work with ICE, Google employees have protested the company’s work with police departments, and Amazon workers walked out in protest of the company’s response to Covid-19. Meanwhile, a group of tech contract workers for Google, Kickstarter employees, and a small subset of Instacart workers have voted to unionize.
And just this Wednesday, in a move particularly relevant to CODE, hundreds of employees at the video game giant Blizzard Entertainment organized a list of requests for management, including fair pay and increased vacation time. “Get in touch! We can do this!,” tweeted CODE, in reference to a suggestion that the employees should form a union.
A sign-up page for the webinar explained it would “discuss the CWA’s likely organizing strategies, ways to proactively address employee workplace issues, and how to lawfully address union organizing in your business.”
OneZero registered for and attended the webinar, which provided a rare window into how employers in the tech and video game industry are being advised to ward off tech workers’ burgeoning interest in unions.
“Part of it perhaps is the younger, more ‘woke’ component of the…