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Kickstarter becomes first major tech company to unionize

Full-time employees at Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding website, have voted to unionize after nearly a year of staff organizing. That makes Kickstarter the first major tech company to unionize, paving the way for other companies in the industry to do the same. 

The organizing group has been approved by the National Labor Relations Board and will soon begin contract negotiations with Kickstarter management. 

Eighty-five staffers at the Brooklyn-based Kickstarter have agreed to affiliate with the union. Discussions about unionizing began in 2018 after disagreements between staff and management about what types of fundraisers should be allowed on the site. Union talks became public in March 2019 after Kickstarter fired two organizers within eight days of each other, triggering site boycotts.

Discussions about unions in the tech industry have been on the rise. Employees of the grocery delivery app, Instacart, called for a product boycott last month until the platform’s 10 percent default tip was restored. Workers at Google also successfully persuaded the company to change its policy on forced arbitration.

Unions can be an impactful solution for giving employees more bargaining power and a say in company decisions. With Kickstart employees becoming the first to unionize, it will be interesting to see how unions affect other startups and other prominent tech companies.

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