Why Young Silicon Valley Workers Are Rising Up Against Their Employers
Labor organizing at Google and other big tech companies is just the beginning
Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet have each reached a $1 trillion market capitalization. While many are in awe at this growth in wealth and technological power, others, specifically the workers at these companies themselves, are worried about the ramifications that such an asymmetric power dynamic entails.
Tech workers are seeing firsthand where Big Tech’s idealistic missions of “connecting the world” or “organizing the world’s information” stand when it comes to capitalistic values. Over the past decade, Big Tech’s misaligned corporate values have contributed to the disillusion of a millennial workforce.
Many workers have come to see themselves as unwilling contributors to problematic societal issues through their daily work, and many have chosen to revolt against their own companies. In 2016, Facebook employees publicly quit following the company’s development of censorship tools in efforts to enter the Chinese market. In 2018, Google’s employees protested the company’s censored search engine project for China, and the same year, a group of engineers refused to work on a security tool designed to earn the company military contracts with the Pentagon.
Many workers have come to see themselves as unwilling contributors to problematic societal issues through their daily work, and many have chosen to revolt against their own companies.
Tech workers are increasingly becoming more vocal, not only about how the companies they work for conduct business but also on the role the companies play in society’s issues. #NoTechForICE organized tech workers, students, and other activists against surveillance technology and expressed discontent toward companies complicit in providing solutions to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Increased scrutiny on tech companies accelerated following the 2016 U.S. elections and the Cambridge Analytica revelations, and both seem to have exacerbated tech workers’ feelings of having contributed to the dissemination of fake news…