More than 1s and 0s: An Analysis of the State of the Labor Movement in the Tech Industry

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2021-05

Authors

San Soucie, Robert

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Abstract

Over the last 40-50 years, economic inequality in the United States has dramatically increased at the same time as union density has fallen precipitously. During this period, the high tech industry has seen explosive growth, giving us some of the most valuable companies in the world, as well as several of the richest people in the world. This explosive economic growth in recent decades has fueled the trend of growing inequality in this country, as the drivers, delivery people, and warehouse workers that make the "gig" economy function struggle to get by. In recent years, there have been signs of workers starting to organize for better conditions for all, both those creating the technology and those working "gigs”. This paper seeks to analyze this growing trend of worker actions in the tech industry. First, what is actually happening, and how often? Why is it happening, and how? What is making these actions successful or not? And finally, I will examine the growing prevalence of unions among tech workers, and what all of this could mean for the future of the industry. Through all of this, I hope to produce a fuller and more complete understanding of what is actually happening with workers in the tech industry. Through my findings, I will lay out why working in the tech industry is becoming more precarious and insecure, and how workers are increasingly organizing with their coworkers to change these conditions.

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