Issue 22: Keep working, keep building, keep fighting

19 Oct 2018

A week after Google dropped out of the running for the Pentagon’s project JEDI, Jeff Bezos double-downed on Amazon’s pursuit of the contract to be the cloud provider for the Department of Defense.

An Amazon employee argues that Amazon shouldn't sell facial recognition tech to police

An Amazon employee argues that Amazon shouldn't sell facial recognition tech to police / Source

Worker’s Perspective

A week after Google dropped out of the running for the Pentagon’s project JEDI, Jeff Bezos double-downed on Amazon’s pursuit of the contract to be the cloud provider for the Department of Defense.

Workers at Amazon responded with a statement making known their open dissent.

We follow in the steps of the Googlers who spoke out against the Maven contract and Microsoft employees who are speaking out against the JEDI contract. Regardless of our views on the military, no one should be profiting from “increasing the lethality” of the military. We will not silently build technology to oppress and kill people, whether in our country or in others.

We should remember that while Sanders may have brought the wage issue to the forefront in recent months, this $15-per-hour concession is the result of many former and current workers speaking out and increasing signs of workers’ organizing in warehouses, from Minnesota to Madrid. This win was worker-driven, and I think if we want to be able to change anything at corporate, those efforts will also have to be worker-driven.

We just have to keep working, keep building a network of people who care about this, and keep fighting. Maybe we won’t win the demands of the letter in the short term, but if we keep working together, we can build lasting power.

Read the open letter from Amazon employees as well as an interview here with one of the letter writers here.

And last Friday, Microsoft employees wrote a similar letter:

When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of “empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,” not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality.

Our industry behaves like our tech bosses are brilliant heroes, gods that have risen to their achievement through hard work and sheer genius. If that wasn’t egregious enough, lately we’ve seen that they fancy themselves heads of state. The same reasons our tech bosses have excelled at capitalism, their mastery over a profit-over-people market, their pursuit of trillion-dollar valuations rather than livability for all workers, are the exact same reasons these men should never be state leaders. We don’t tolerate any action that suggests otherwise, and we won’t standby.

Upcoming Events

Techno-Optimism Within and Beyond Silicon Valley
Friday, 10/19 9AM at Social Science Matrix in Berkeley
Event info

Nonprofit workers: Discuss our workplace experiences
Saturday, 10/20 2PM at Omni Commons in Oakland
Facebook • Meetup

Learning Club: Tech Workers are Workers 
Sunday, 10/28 2PM at Cambridge Public Library
Facebook • **Meetup 

Learning Club: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs Climate
Saturday, 11/3 3PM at Douglass Truth Branch of The Seattle Public Library

The Code of Conduct is in effect at all TWC events.

In The News

Amazon’s raise of wages to a $15 minimum was “inevitable, and others will follow suit,” says a retail consultant.

The Chinese government has laid out new requirements for Google’s Dragonfly censored search engine that would suppress speech patterns of Uighurs, a persecuted Muslim minority.

The California state bill that would protect hotel workers against sexual assault on the job has stalled.

Yes, Facebook will use data collected through its newly announced video chat and speaker device to target ads on you.

Harassment runs rampant on Instagram.

Instagram’s founders have left Facebook saying that “it all felt pretty hollow”.

University of California workers will strike October 23 through 25.

Striking hotel workers have focused their sight on tech companies who are crossing the picket line: Stripe and Twitch. Turn out at a picket line near you and donate to the strike fund.

Uber is testing an on-demand labor service that looks like a temp agency.

How does AirBnb and Uber’s requests to the SEC to pay contractors in equity jive with their claims that these contractors aren’t employees?

Two Tech Workers Coalition volunteers talk to the hosts of Too Long 4 Twitter about standing up against your billionaire class boss.

A chronicle of recent worker rebellion in the tech industry. “Technology doesn’t spring like Athena fully formed from the head of capital into the workplaces where it surveils, intensifies, and automates work. It’s built by people who are workers themselves.”

Call for submissions from the Tech Worker Monologues project

Have a story about working in tech you want to see performed on stage?

The Tech Worker Monologues is a theater project aimed at exploring the role of identity in the Bay Area tech industry in a moment when members of the tech community are grappling with the roles of race, gender, sexuality, and other identities in the industry, as well as with the role of the industry in the world at large.

All submissions are anonymous and encrypted for security. Writers from a variety of identities encouraged to submit. Submit by Oct. 27.

To find out more, audition to perform, or get involved behind the scenes, visit or contact

Song Of The Week

We Will Win by Fifteen

But your boss don’t pay you shit
You’re one check away from
Being homeless just like me.
Lower class, middle class, no class we’re all the same
We got all the bosses, we got landlords, we all play the slavery game
They’ve got the guns but we got the numbers.
When the people are one we will be unstoppable
Everybody knows employment is just abuse anyway
Everybody knows its just no use anyway
So Kill your boss today
We will win

In memoriam

Photo of Subhash Jakkidi and family

Subhash Jakkidi / Source