Tech Worker Unionization

Annie Palmer, in an April 1 CNBC article:

Employees at an Amazon warehouse on New York’s Staten Island voted Friday to join a union, a groundbreaking move for organized labor and a stinging defeat for the e-commerce giant, which has aggressively fought unionization efforts at the company.


The union is led by Christian Smalls, a former JFK8 manager, who was fired by Amazon in 2020 after the company claimed he violated social distancing rules. Smalls argued he was fired in retaliation for staging a protest in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic to call for stronger safety measures.

Smalls was smeared by Amazon’s general counsel in internal memos after his firing. Gerald Bryson was also fired from his job at JFK8 for protesting lacklustre safety measures with Smalls; Amazon was just told to reinstate his job. Amazon says it is appealing. I disagree.

Lauren Kaori Gurley, Vice:

An Apple Store in Atlanta has filed for a union election with the Communications Workers of America, becoming the first of Apple’s 272 brick-and-mortar stores in the country to do so.


The news coincides with a wave of burgeoning and growing union drives at Apple stores at least half a dozen Apple store locations, including locations in New York City and Maryland. Apple store employees are unionizing with at least three different national unions, a reflection of the siloed nature of Apple’s retail store locations. The CWA campaign is part of CODE-CWA, an initiative to unionize tech and games workers, and has members from Activision-Blizzard and Google.

Good for all of these workers. These are two of the most valuable companies on the planet, and their non-tech workforce should absolutely be negotiating for better pay and conditions. Both may pay higher than average wages for their roles but there is no reason why that should be a ceiling. Employees at the Genius Bar, in particular, used to be given unique experiences that made them feel like an integral part of Apple. Now? Not so much. These core workforces can expect better.