Posts

Amazon Building

20,000 Amazon Workers In The US Have Tested Positive For Covid-19

After activists have been demanding Amazon for months to disclose information regarding Covid-19 and their workers, the company revealed this week that almost 20,000 of its workers in the US have contracted the coronavirus. Throughout this pandemic, however, Amazon as a brand has been succeeding monumentally when compared to other online retail giants. 

Amazon has faced some major criticisms within the past six months of the pandemic in general. Labor campaigners and union leaders have alleged that the company is putting their employees in danger by keeping so many warehouses open despite individuals contracting the virus who’ve worked in some of these warehouses. 

Embed from Getty Images

Amazon posted on their blog an analysis that showed the rate of infection among 1.4 million American workers was 42% lower than the expected rate of infection to come from a warehouse occupation. 

A breakdown of infection rates on a state-by-state level showed that the highest rate of infection of Amazon employees was in Minnesota where 3.2% of the workers were presumed to have gotten Covid-19 at their place of business; for reference that percentage is double the rate of infection for average individuals working from home in the same area. 

Athena is a coalition of US activist groups that work to campaign for large worker groups all across the country. Most recently they’ve been using their resources to focus on Amazon, and call upon the company to be immediately investigated for how strictly they’ve been abiding by health and safety protections for their workers. Dania Rajendra is the director of Athena who recently claimed the group also wants to ensure Amazon has been regularly reporting on the number of employees with Covid-19 as they’re legally required to do so. 

Embed from Getty Images

 “Amazon allowed Covid-19 to spread like wildfire in its facilities, risking the health of tens of thousands of people who work at Amazon – as well as their family members, neighbors and friends.”

Amazon currently has a market value of $1.6 trillion with its founder and chief, Jeff Bezos, owning the most shares making him the world’s wealthiest individual. Bezos has claimed multiple times that Amazon has been investing “hundreds of millions of dollars” into its own covid-19 testing program as well as tracing efforts. The plan is projected to test 50,000 individuals a day at 650 sites all across the US starting in November. However, Rajendra and the team at Athena isn’t as convinced that Bezos will stick to his word based on his already detrimental decision-making and the fact that this multi-trillion dollar company is still paying its warehouse workers little to nothing to help them cope with the pandemics effects. 

“Amazon is, in no uncertain terms, a threat to public health.” 

Within the blogpost Amazon claimed that they would be giving their employees comprehensive health insurance and paid time off for any worker who needs to be quarantined; a policy workers have been trying to get implemented for months now. The tech giant will also be implementing new cleaning regimes and other safety processes to reduce the spread of the virus, however, after dealing with this virus for over six months now, many individuals are quick to criticize Amazon for their lack of concern over employees previously, and believe these new policies are more of a way to appease the public and make up for the tens of thousands of workers that have already been impacted. 

 

Walmart Store

Walmart Teams Up With Microsoft In A Bid To Buy TikTok 

Walmart announced this week that they would be collaborating with Microsoft in a bid to acquire TikTok. Currently ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company which is based in Beijing, is nearing an agreement to sell its American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand operations in a deal that’s projected to earn the company up to $30 billion. 

Walmart and Microsoft are just one team placing a bid for the app in America, as many are looking to take advantage of buying one of the most popular social media platforms in 2020. Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove recently spoke with the media, and while he denied to comment on how the two companies would be dividing their ownership of the app, he claims this acquisition would be an amazing opportunity for both companies to compete against other giant corporations such as Amazon. 

Embed from Getty Images

Walmart and Amazon have been competing as major “superstore” type retailers for years now. In fact, Walmart recently announced plans to launch its own membership program similar to Amazon Prime, called Walmart+, which will also include original content. 

“We believe a potential relationship with TikTok US in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart a way to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses.”

Walmart went on in their statement to also claim that they were confident in their ability to meet both the expectations of current TikTok users, and the US government; who has recently been attacking TikTok for its potential sharing of personal data with China; which has not been proven. 

In the US, TikTok currently has around 100 million active users. When compared to the amount of users the app had in 2018 there’s an 800% increase in use. Daniel Ives, managing director and technology analyst, claims that there’s a 90% chance TikTok will accept the bid from Microsoft and Walmart, and the acquisition of the app will be a major step in Walmarts constant expansion of services. 

Embed from Getty Images

This will not be the first time Walmart and Microsoft work together either. In 2018, Walmart announced a five-year “cloud deal” with Microsoft, allowing the retailer to adopt Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure and include bundles in certain devices that would include Office 365 with every purchase. 

After TikTok was under major threat of being banned by Donald Trump and his administration, the app knew it had to find a new buyer so that the app would remain alive in one of its most lucrative markets worldwide. The Pentagon has already banned TikTok from being downloaded on any government-issued devices due to security concerns; the US House of Representatives and Senate were also ordered to follow suit. 

Despite the many allegations from Trump himself, TikTok has went on record multiple times that they have never shared personal data with China, it’s parent company, or any other company for that matter. They then explained how TikTok is run within each country it’s available, and all US user data is stored in the US. 

There’s no real timeline as to when TikTok will accept or deny Microsoft and Walmart’s bid, however, with the 2020 election getting closer, it’s likely the app will make a decision sooner rather than later in order to keep it alive. 

Hockey Stadium

Amazon Renames Seattle NHL Stadium ‘Climate Pledge Arena’ In New Green Initiative

Amazon has officially secured the naming rights for Seattle’s downtown arena that will be the home for the city’s new NHL team as well as the WNBA’s Storm team. Amazon made the announcement this week that they would be deciding the name of the arena, however, many were shocked to learn that the company wouldn’t include its name in the title; something that’s fairly typical when it comes to naming stadium-type establishments after the corporations that sponsor them (Staples Center, Citi Field, AT&T Stadium, etc.). 

Instead, the stadium will be named Climate Pledge Arena and will feature several new green initiatives to make the future of live sports entertainment more environmentally friendly. 

Embed from Getty Images

“I think this is going to be a transformative moment in our industry. Amazon said, ‘We’ll act like a naming rights partner, but let’s do this the right way. We don’t need any more branding. What we need is to go save the planet.’ It was brilliant,” a spokesperson for the arena claimed. 

As mentioned Climate Pledge Arena is going to run with the intention of remaining completely green. In fact, Amazon is attempting to make it the first arena in the world to earn a net zero carbon certifications by the International Living Future Institute.  There are a multitude of features that will be implemented into the structure, games themselves, and clean up procedures for the stadium. 

All ice for hockey games will be created using recycled rainwater thanks to a massive tank that’s located underground and adjacent to the arena. This tank is specifically designed to collect runoff rainwater from the roof of the arena, but the arena’s team is also working on a way to easily allow fans at home to bring their own recycled rainwater to help aid the running of the stadium.

Embed from Getty Images

All events will also be “zero waste,” a decision that according to the team was inspired by singer Billie Eilish, who before the coronavirus pandemic was embarking on a world tour for her most recent album. Eilish asked every venue that she was planning to play on her tour to eliminate as much single-waste plastic as possible, to which they all happily obliged to get one of the biggest artists of the year to play at their establishment. 

 “I was like, I can’t believe she got an entire syndication of arenas to come along and finally address this issue. I was so in awe that she made this part of the deal. When we were debating this, I said if she could do it for a night, couldn’t we do this for 365 nights?” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group. 

75% of the arena’s food vendors will be sourced seasonally by local farmers and producers as a means of helping local small businesses. Unused food that’s still edible and viable will also be donated to various food charities in the area. The arena will also solely run on electricity, and carbon emissions and sustainability performance is set up to be closely monitored and will also be made public record to all American citizens so they can see for themselves how green the arena is. 

The cost of the building overall is set to be around $900 million and will be able to hold 18,000 sports fans. Its projected to host around 200 events each year, which will also include concerts. The building is currently still under construction, as production was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s expected to make its public debut with Seattle’s brand new NHL team in 2021-2022 (the dates are subject to change based on how the pandemic progresses). 

Amazon Building

Amazon Employees Suing Company Over Covid-19 Negligence

A group of Amazon employees are suing the massive company, alleging that Amazon has mandated unsafe working conditions within one of their fulfillment centers which directly lead to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases among the warehouse workers, resulting in multiple employee deaths from the virus. 

“This case is about Amazon’s failures to comply with New York law and state and federal public health guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic at the JFK8 facility. The company has relied on purposeful miscommunication with workers, sloppy contact tracing, and the culture of workplace fear it has instilled at JFK to ensure it can maintain productivity while reducing costs, even if that means workers come to work sick and cannot engage in proper hygiene, sanitizing, or social distancing while at work in order to stay healthy,” according to the official legal complaint

Embed from Getty Images

The JFK8 facility is located on Staten Island, and at least one worker has died due to contracting the coronavirus; several others are currently sick. Employees received word this week that new cases were still appearing at the facility. According to one of the main plaintiffs, she alleges that after contractiv Covid-19 from the warehouse she “awoke to find her cousin with whom she lived dead in their bathroom after he developed COVID-19 symptoms as well.” 

Originally the plaintiff also claims she requested paid leave for when she needed to quarantine and Amazon refused to pay it; Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, has made $24 billion during the duration of the coronavirus pandemic alone. However, aside from their back pays, employees aren’t actually seeking financial compensation for past errors in company judgement, instead, they want “an order requiring Amazon to comply with public health guidance to prevent more harm in the future.”

You may remember this specific Amazon fulfillment center for being in the news in March when they fired warehouse employee, Christian Smalls, for organizing a protest against the company’s irresponsible treatment of employees during a worldwide health crisis. Further investigation into Amazon’s handling of that firing revealed that senior leadership from Amazon specifically targeted Smalls to paint him as the face of the entire resistance movement. 

Embed from Getty Images

“If possible, make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement. He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers,”  the company’s general counsel, David Zapolsky, wrote in the memo.

The Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James began an investigation in April into the health and safety practices of all Amazon warehouses in New York. “The information so far available to us raises concerns that Amazon’s health and safety measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are so inadequate that they may violate several provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” James’ staff claims. 

Many individuals have been afraid to speak up due to Smalls’ unjust firing, and the several other NY employees who have been terminated for speaking up against management. An Amazon spokesperson recently emphasized how all they want from the company is to have them abide by all the rules put in place by the CDC and WHO. 

For now, the fight continues, Amazon has responded to these multiple claims by donating over $4 billion to Covid-19 related initiatives; which has given the employees even more motivation to sue, as their company has now been shelling out billions for country wide health and safety practices, but they haven’t even fixed anything in their own warehouses. 

To read the entire legal complaint, click here.

Amazon App

Jeff Bezos Returns To Manage Day-To-Day Operations At Amazon During Pandemic

As one could imagine, orders for Amazon have reached some record highs during this quarantine, and as those order numbers are increasing, so is the amount of warehouse staff walkouts/strikes against the trillion-dollar company and it’s billionaire CEO.

Family watching TV

New Movies Being Made Available To Stream Early Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

Thanks to social distancing initiatives brought on by the recent coronavirus pandemic, many Hollywood movie studios are releasing their movies directly to streaming services for fans to watch at home during quarantine. Since movie theaters will be closed down for the indefinite future, many studios have decided to put their movies on platforms months in advance, some are so freshly out of the theater that the only option is to buy them, however, others are being directly uploaded to certain services, so here’s what’s coming soon to your living room:

1917 is a World War One drama that is famously known for its continuous “one-take” cinematic style, and now it’s available to rent on a multitude of platforms for around $6, it’s also available to buy.

RentAmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle Play

Emma is another period piece based on the Jane Austin novel of the same name. Unlike 1917, however, this movie is available to rent for an increased price of $20, which is likely due to the fact that it was in theaters more recently.

RentAmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle Play

Embed from Getty Images

The Hunt is a satirical take on The Most Dangerous Game starring Emma Roberts and Hilary Swank. The movie is in the horror genre and was positively received by critics for its commentary on the political divide in modern American culture. It’s available to rent for $20.

RentAmazonAppleGoogle PlayVudu,

The Invisible Man was just getting a wave of positive reviews when the coronavirus pandemic shut down movie theaters worldwide. Starring Elisabeth Moss, the remake of the classic horror story is currently available to rent for $20 as well.

RentAmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle PlayVudu

Birds Of Prey is the latest DC installment of the Suicide Squad series of movies starring Margot Robbie. A superhero movie following a cohort of super-villain independent women, Birds Of Prey was receiving high praise from critics when in theaters. Unfortunately, since it was still in theaters, as of right now you can only purchase the film for $20.

BuyAmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle PlayVuduYouTube

Bloodshot was adapted from the widely-popular graphic novel, and stars Vin Diesel as an unstoppable, self-regenerating, “Super Soldier” and is currently available for purchase at $20.

BuyAmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle PlayVuduYouTube

Embed from Getty Images

Onward is the newest Pixar Studios film. The two main characters are teenage elves voiced by beloved actors Chris Pratt and Tom Holland. The pair live an average life in elf suburbia, until one day, the call for adventure is just too loud to ignore. Onward is currently available to buy for $20.

BuyAmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle PlayVuduYouTube

The Way Back stars Ben Affleck and takes on the classic story of a troubled former pro athlete who is on a path of personal/professional redemption. While on this path, he finds himself becoming the coach of a struggling high school team. The movie is currently available to buy for $20.

BuyAmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle PlayVuduYouTube

Beyond just renting and buying, there are a few new movies that are also going to be uploaded onto streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in the coming weeks. These films include The Call of the Wild, Downhill, The Lovebirds, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Trolls World Tour, and Sonic The Hedgehog. 

While it may be a while before movie fanatics have the opportunity to get back into a theater, at least they’ll have these new options to occupy themselves in the meantime. Until then, it’s important to stay home, stay clean, and keep practicing proper hygiene.

Amazon Building

Amazon Coping With Warehouse Coronavirus Outbreaks In Over 10 Facilities

Amazon warehouse workers are currently enduring a huge wave of coronavirus cases appearing throughout the various factory locations in the United States. According to media reports, at least 11 facilities have reported having workers who tested positive for the virus. The second that any warehouse employee has shown signs of the virus they would be sent home, however, that doesn’t discount the many other workers they could’ve come into contact with before they began exhibiting symptoms. 

So far, cases have been reported at Amazon facilities in Queens, New York, Moreno Valley, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Shepherdsville, Kentucky; Brownstown, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Katy, Texas; and Wallingford, Connecticut. Amazon has closed some of its sites, such as the Queens warehouse, but overall the company has been trying to avoid mass closures due to the increase in demand and traffic they’ve seen now that most of its customers are in self-quarantine. 

The company told the media that it is taking “extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site[s]. That includes regularly sanitizing door handles, elevator buttons, lockers and touch screens, as well as staggering shifts and spreading out chairs in break rooms.”

Embed from Getty Images

Many Amazon employees, however, are still unsatisfied with Amazon’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and many claim to be very nervous about getting infected. Amazon would be nothing without the hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers throughout the US that make sure all of the millions of online orders are seen through, so the company should be doing everything in their power to protect such an integral part of the way their business is run.

The additional cases will likely disrupt shipments and delay deliveries depending on the parts of the country that are losing the most employees/factories due to closures. This shouldn’t come as a shock to consumers, however, as most products on Amazon are in high demand at the moment, and have already been delayed from shipping. Essential supplies that are in the highest demand, such as toilet paper, are delayed until April, and thermometers are being delayed until May, to give a few examples. 

“Amazon is witnessing spikes in demand that are comparable to the surge surrounding peak holiday periods such as Black Friday, so in response [we’re] ramping up hiring. We’re boosting employment by 100,000 in the way that we do for seasonal periods like the holiday, when we need extra workers,” said Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs.

Embed from Getty Images

Amazon spokespeople have also told the media that they’re doing everything in their power to put employee safety and customer satisfaction at the forefront of concern, emphasizing that they’ve implemented multiple social distancing policies when in a corporate office environment. However, warehouse workers claim that those policies don’t apply when you’re in tight conditions and locker areas that “force employees to walk sideways to pass one another.”  

Amazon recently claimed that any employee who is forced into quarantine will receive two weeks pay, and Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced plans to donate millions of face masks and other sanitary products to all of its employees, warehouse workers, and contractors.  

“Masks remain in short supply globally and are at this point being directed by governments to the highest-need facilities like hospitals and clinics. When our turn for masks comes, our first priority will be getting them in the hands of our employees and partners working to get essential products to people,” Bezos said. 

We need to ensure that all employees rights, health, and safety are being properly put under consideration when their employers make new policies, especially during times of a global pandemic. These are uncertain and worrisome times, but we must stay strong and continue to fight for one another, the world could use some peace.

Amazon

Major Corporations Giving Out Bonuses To Cope With Coronavirus Impact

Walmart is one of America’s big businesses that has been making some major adjustments to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Most recently, the corporation announced that they would be hiring 150,000 temporary workers by the end of May in order to deal with the loss of employment, and quarantine efforts that they know most of their employees are enduring. Within the announcement, they claimed that these hired associates would work in stores, clubs, and distribution/fulfillment centers all at safe distances away from one another. 

“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores. We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart. 

Embed from Getty Images

The company went on in their statement to claim that anyone who applies will hear back within 24 hours on the status of their application; normally service industry workers wait up to 2 weeks before hearing back from employers. This isn’t that abnormal of a process for a company as big as Walmart. During the holidays companies often give their current employee’s extended hours as well as hire a whole slew of new workers to make up for the increased demand; the same process is what Walmart is attempting to do now.  

“These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time. We’ve reached out to industry groups representing restaurants and hospitality to facilitate temporary roles that can be a bridge for their employees during this difficult time,” Walmart said in a press release

Walmart currently has a workforce of about 1.5 million workers in the United States alone, and while they’re making an effort to bring on new workers, they also know they need to take care of their current employees as well. Walmart also promised that each of its workers, regardless of position, will receive a cash bonus. Full-time hourly workers will be receiving an additional $300 in their paychecks, while part-time hourly workers will receive an additional $150.

Embed from Getty Images

Quarterly bonuses are also being expedited for associates. The total bonuses will equate to about $550 million in additional pay-outs to its employees. Other major companies are trying to follow suit as well through their worker protections and additional bonuses as well. 

Amazon recently announced that in response to an increase in online shopping traffic it will be hiring an additional 100,000 new full-time and part-time employees. The demand that the online shopping market is currently enduring is more intense than it’s ever been, as more and more people are opting to not leave their homes whenever they need something that can simply be ordered with the click of a button. 

Amazon is also investing nearly $350 million to raise hourly pay for all of its current employees; they’re projecting all low-level workers who are making minimum wage will receive an addition $2 per hour in their paychecks. 

Pizza chain Domino’s also announced that it will be looking to hire an additional 10,000 employees in the coming weeks, due to an increase in pressure being placed on the take-out industry for the very same reason that Amazon is seeing an increase in revenue. 

Employee protections and worker rights are of the utmost importance at a time like this. Health and safety should 100% be coming first, and your employer’s should be understanding over that and implement new programs that will not only protect the workers that are being forced into isolation, but also create a larger job market to maintain the economy as much as we possibly can. 

Ring Doorbell

5 Smart Home Devices That Won’t Break The Bank

Smart home technology is currently taking over the world. When Apple initially launched AI assistant Siri for the iPhone, they had no idea they’d be creating one of the first smart technologies that would impact the future of how we interact with all of our devices. Now, we can use these voice-interactive assistants to turn on the lights, lock our cars when we’re miles away, and answer practically any question one could have, all without having to get up from the couch. 

There’s a whole multitude of smart home devices on the market that are all unique in their own way. However, because of how advanced the technology is, they tend to be priced on the expensive side, but one device can assist the average individual on dozens of aspects of their lives. So which devices would best fit your lifestyle without completely breaking the bank?

Embed from Getty Images

Ring Video Doorbell: About one third of all Americans have had packages stolen from their porches at least once in their lifetime. As online shopping continues to outgrow the traditional retail industry, it’s only a matter of time before it completely takes over, and will that come an increase in these crimes. For this reason, among others, more people are investing in the Ring Video Doorbell. Ring is powered by Amazon’s Alexa and allows its users to see, hear, and speak through their doorbells through any smart device with an Alexa app on it (which is free in any app store). 

The doorbell itself has risen in popularity because it provides a video feed that never stops recording. Users can get a livestream of their front door at any given time, as well as record videos. The device itself has already been extremely beneficial at catching porch thieves in the act, and will likely continue to ride in popularity for this reason. 

Google Home Smart Speaker: While Amazon’s Alexa may be the dominant voice for AI assisted technology, Google Home has become its biggest competitor. This is likely because the price point for Google Home Smart Speakers, and their other devices in their line of smart devices, are relatively cheaper than any other brand on the market. Additionally, these speakers obviously have the power of Google, one of the world’s largest online sources for information, within them, so users can ask practically any question to their device and expect a clear answer. 

Embed from Getty Images

Roku Streaming Stick+: Streaming services for music, television, and movies has become a staple in the world of in-home entertainment. With so many platforms out there, many are turning to buy smart TV’s that have app store capabilities so that they can keep up with all of their profiles (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.). However, spending hundreds on a brand new television may be too large of an investment for some, so instead, consider the Roku Streaming Stick+. You simply plug the device into your  existing television’s HDMI port, log into your home’s WiFi network, and you’ll automatically have access to any and all online content that you could ever dream of. The best part? It only costs about $50 with shipping. 

Nest Learning Thermostat: This device is the most expensive on the list, coming in at about $210, however, it’s focus on sustainability and savings will make it worth it in the long run in terms of your heating/electric bills. This is a “smart device” because it’s designed to learn about your specific lifestyle. It will automatically adjust the temperature of your home in moments where you may not need the heat to be on; such as when you go to work or on vacation. Reports claim that on average the Nest Learning Thermostat saves the average individual about $150 a year on their heating and cooling bills.  

Gosund Smart Plug: When it comes to our smart devices being able to work with other, normal electrical devices in our home, such as lamps, typically you need to buy smart plugs that can specifically work with your device exclusively; such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home. However, Gosund Smart Plug’s are universal, in the sense that they are compatible with either Amazon Alexa or Google Home’s voice integration. If you don’t have either, Gosund has it’s own companion app that you can download onto any smart phone and control whatever device you plug into the Gosund’s from your phone. A four pack of these plugs costs $30.

Business people putting their hands together

Kickstarter Workers Make Historic Vote To Unionize

Kickstarter is one of the most well-known tech companies out there. They were one of the original businesses to create a platform for individuals who needed funding for whatever projects life threw their way. Users have used the website to raise money for surgery, travel funds, textbook payments, charities, and more. Now, Kickstarter is setting yet another precedent for the tech industry this week after employees voted to unionize on Tuesday (2/18), making them the one of the only companies in their field to do so. 

The National Labor Relations Board held the election this week in which the workers won the unionization vote by a margin of 46 to 37. The passing vote states that Kickstarter’s employee’s will now be affiliated with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). This partnership is between the OPEIU and unionizes 85 employees of all sorts including engineers, analysts, designers, and customer support. 

“Kickstarter employees felt their employer, a public benefit corporation, should live up to the foundational progressive values it espouses by ensuring trust and transparency from management, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, implementing more inclusive hiring practices and giving employees a voice in the decision-making process,” OPEIU said in a statement.

Embed from Getty Images

While Kickstarter has become one of the first ever tech unions in the United States, the move itself wasn’t surprising, as employee’s have been quite public about their discontent with their employers for several months now. Back in September the company fired two employees both of which claimed that their termination was in direct connection to their unionization efforts, a claim Kickstarter has since denied.

Kickstarter also had to give a detailed documentation of events that led up to the two employees terminations to the National Labor Relations Board, those reasons have not been made public, however. But besides that initial incident, corporate heads from Kickstarter have been otherwise supportive of their employees this week as their union dreams have come into fruition. 

“We support and respect this decision, and we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here,” Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan claimed after the vote was finalized. 

“This is a sign, loud and clear, that it’s possible to organize tech. Workers in tech want the same agency union workers have won for decades. Nothing is really new, tech is just joining history and proving we’re not an exception,” Clarissa Redwine, one of the fired employees stated.

Embed from Getty Images

As Redwine stated, this is a huge move for the tech industry as a whole, as no company as large as Kickstarter has ever been able to successfully unionize despite the concerns from individuals on the corporate end of things. Workers from all sorts of major tech companies, such as Google and Amazon, have been increasing their overall efforts to unionize within the past few years. 

Claims of sexual harassment, and complaints regarding company impact on the environment have fueled the employee fire for change. However, with companies as large as Google or Amazon, it can be nearly impossible for workers on the ground level to make a real impact without succumbing to the pressure of intimidation and corporate jargon. Lucky for them, The National Labor Relations Board doesn’t take to kindly to wealthy employers restricting their workers rights all in the name of saving a few dollars from their multi-million dollar paychecks. In fact, the NLRB has already opened an investigation against Google after four terminated employees stated they were fired for speaking out against company practices. Amazon is being investigated for the same type of situation involving five employees. 

So while the creation of a union may not seem like a huge deal, in America, and in the tech industry especially, worker rights are often overlooked, so having official employee protections guaranteed is a huge deal. Kickstarter was able to do the impossible and, hopefully, inspire more tech corporations to treat their employees for what they are, hard-working, dedicated, passionate people just trying to make a real honest living; isn’t that the American dream?