Volume 2

Issue 10: Wages of Short-Lived Startups

04 Sep 2020 Latest

After eight grueling years stitching together a design career, Vikram Rojo shares how bonds with friends and family, plus ad-hoc tweets, helped him break into and break free from a string of startups and their bureaucratic traps. He considers himself lucky, and demands the real question: how might we as tech workers demand more than pay, but dignity? How can we all get a decent job, a home, and a chance to get by?

Meanwhile, in the news, landlords are using data to enable evictions, but workers are showing how innovation and demands go together. And in history, some lesser-known and politically powerful pages of Black Panther comics.

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Issue 8: A future worth planting for

07 Aug 2020

Roger Janus, an organizer with TWC Seattle, offers a hopeful perspective on how organizing may seem insignificant and arduous at times, but can achieve wins over the course of a multi-generational struggle. Meanwhile, tech worker organizing is on fire.

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Issue 6: Beyond the Bread and Butter

10 Jul 2020

Ari Laurel, an organizer with TWC Seattle, reflects on her experience with the Capitol Hill Organized Protest. She connects it to tech workers’ struggles, and considers the role that organizers can play in it all.

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Issue 5: Leaving the bubble for Texas

26 Jun 2020

R.K., a controls engineer and yet another Californian to leave the Bay Area, talks about quitting his union tech job to do techno-scientific experiments at a rural Texas electric co-op. Meanwhile, Juneteenth and continued protests pull the façade off of tech companies.

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Issue 4: No Justice, no Peace, no Tech for Police

12 Jun 2020

We are in a powerful Black revolution with sudden widespread support. Weeks of protests against racist policing, sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minnesota Police, are leading to calls to defund the police, tear down statues of oppressors, and end the use of technology for racist surveillance. This issue features reflections from several Black tech workers.

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Issue 2: Who calls the shots?

15 May 2020

Who calls the shots at Tesla Motors? Is it the workers who collectively build all the products that generate the company’s wealth? No, it’s the company’s multi-billionaire CEO, who recently threw a fit on Twitter over COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders that would delay resuming production. How does he manage to get away with that?

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Issue 1: How do we help each other?

01 May 2020

Today is May Day, International Workers Day, and #EssentialWorkersDay. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it becomes increasingly clear how much our economy depends on the workers who have been deemed “essential”. Yet these workers are rarely given the protective equipment they need — not to mention decent wages or benefits — proving that “essential” really means “sacrificial”. Chris Smalls, an Amazon warehouse worker and organizer fired last month, shared a video montage with dozens of essential workers protesting for better working conditions at Instacart, Shipt, Amazon warehouses, and your neighborhood Whole Foods. Today, they are on strike with a list of demands.

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Volume 1

Issue 53: The fight is truly on for gig workers in California. Which side are you on?

30 Aug 2019

Since Uber launched in 2009 they’ve gone out of their way to skirt labor protections and treat workers like mere cogs in their all conquering algorithm. Earlier this year a bill proposed in California tried to change that, it’s called AB 5. This bill would codify into law a ruling by the Supreme Court of California last year, known as Dynamex, which established a three-part test to determine whether someone would be considered an independent contractor or an employee under California’s labor law. Under this test drivers for Uber and Lyft would be considered employees.

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Issue 52: The Tech Won't Build It Movement Has Spread to Palantir

23 Aug 2019

The Washington Post on Thursday revealed workers in Palantir are protesting the companies contracts with ICE. We learned that hundreds of workers have signed two separate letters calling on the company to reconsider it’s relationship with ICE. This story follows news earlier this week that management at Palantir decided to double down on profiting from human rights abuses by renewing one of their ICE contracts.

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Issue 50: TWC Bangalore: Hello and welcome!

14 Jun 2019

Hello all from the newly emerging TWC Bangalore local!

Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India, and it was inevitable that the first TWC chapter in India would start here. Unionisation has a long history in India with the first trade union set up in 1918. Recently, there have been multiple unionisation efforts for the IT industry, with unions like F.I.T.E (Forum for IT employees), K.I.T.U (Karnataka State IT Employees Union). 

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Issue 49: Stop coding state violence

31 May 2019

Scholars tell UC Berkeley to cut ties with Palantir

Berkeley Law hosted a top privacy and law conference this week. Since 2011 the conference has received sponsorship from Palantir and this year hundreds of academics decided they have had enough in light of the recent revelation that Palantir’s technology was used to separate families. Over 300 of them signed a letter put out by the Latinx advocacy group Mijente, calling on the event organizers to drop Palantir sponsorship.

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Issue 48: Desconexión mundial

17 May 2019

On Wednesday May 8, hundreds of drivers, workers and other demonstrators shut off Uber for hours in several cities around the world. The action was coordinated by drivers who have been organizing for livable wages and greater voice and agency in their work. Last night we got to talk to one of the drivers who helped make it happen; the below is a transcript of the stories and reflections he’s wanted to share in the aftermath of last week’s action. Halfway through our conversation when I heard him address a restaurant worker and heard the car blinker resume when he got back in, I realized he had been driving between restaurants for Uber eats deliveries—he said that he mostly drives passengers but has to do some food delivery too to get through the maze of requirements Uber sets for drivers to earn a “bonus”.

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Issue 47: I don't want to bring my full self to work

03 May 2019

This week our friends curating and publishing the zine Bug Report! released issue 2. The submissions featured in this issue explore that not-quite-right feeling we get in our stomach when execs talk about equity and working toward equal representation, and the ways conferences like Lesbians Who Tech hold up the corporate infrastructure of inequality as much as they provoke it.

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Issue 42: Drivers, united, will never be defeated!

29 Mar 2019

As fellow workers in the tech industry, we are acutely aware of the exploitative conditions that so-called “contractor” rideshare drivers are exposed to and their struggle to make ends meet. We see Monday’s impressive strike of Uber and Lyft drivers as a necessary step in this struggle for equitable conditions. Therefore we offer total solidarity and support for their cause.

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Issue 40: 135 ways to stop the boss

15 Mar 2019

News broke on Monday of a second case of Google’s multi-million dollar payout for a perpetrator of sexual harassment. The next day workers across the industry took to Twitter under the hashtag #GooglePayoutsForAll to shed light on a system that allocates wealth to abusers at the expense of the workers on the bottom.

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Issue 38: Stop wage theft for DoorDash drivers

01 Mar 2019

Workers are holding DoorDash accountable for a dishonest tipping policy that shortchanges drivers and puts more money in management’s pockets.

In an open letter published today (instructions for signing here), signers demonstrate solidarity with drivers and workers who are bringing attention to DoorDash’s wage theft practices. The letter’s demands include a $15 per hour pay floor for all drivers, plus tips.

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Issue 37: Microsoft workers challenge "lethal" Hololens

22 Feb 2019

Microsoft workers have demanded that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, terminate the $480 million Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) contract with the US Army, which they describe as a way to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage”. Their demand letter, which includes dozens of employee signatures and counting, argues Microsoft has “crossed the line into weapons development,” and that “intent to harm is not an acceptable use of our technology.”

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Issue 35: Closing the door to this way of life

08 Feb 2019

Waheed Etimad was working full time as an Uber driver to support his spouse and seven children. He migrated here with his family four years ago and he was studying to become a computer engineer. He was killed while working on Sunday night. Uber will pay no workers comp death benefits for his family. There will be no life insurance pay out. In life, Waheed was a unit of profit for Uber. In death, he is nothing to them. 

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Issue 34: Data-sucking apps prey on uninformed consumers

01 Feb 2019

We cherish the reminder this week’s App Store drama affords us: the tech bosses will go to any lengths necessary to exploit all humans’ data and advance their domination; and there’s little holding them accountable other than violating the terms of service of likewise domination-minded platforms.

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Issue 31: The tech industry is broken

11 Jan 2019

This excerpt and the image that follows are from Bug Report! Issue 1.

The tech industry is broken.

For a while, it mostly went unnoticed. From tech startups to the Frightful Five, venture capital and new markets made the industry willfully blind to the damage inflicted by their products and services. Tech bros dominated workplaces, making offices havens for sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination, as well as just plain old crappy places to work. For a while, most of us bought into the Californian Ideology, that notion—peddled hardest by “thought leaders” and CEOs—that technology is unconditionally good and would mean wealth and opportunity for everyone.

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Issue 29: Building power from the ground up

14 Dec 2018

In 2016, Silicon Valley tech company cafeterias employed only 65 unionized workers. Two years and countless hours of organizing effort later, 1,400 of Silicon Valley’s cafeteria workers have union representation. On Monday night, we gathered in San Francisco to hear stories of that work from the women who lead the campaigns.

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Issue 25: Google Walkout Ripples Across the Industry

09 Nov 2018

When the boss “reaches out” to ask if we want to help build facial recognition for ICE, we say no. When the boss says shipping is “free” when in fact it is a costly, dangerous burden carried on the broken backs of workers, we say no. When the boss squashes workers with surveillance, union-busting and exploitation, we fight back with collective action. 

Save this rejection letter to your clipboard for the next time you need to tell the boss NO.

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Issue 21: The Global Struggle to Survive

12 Oct 2018

Over the last week, TWC peeps got to spend time with the author of Striking to Survive: Workers’ Resistance to Factory Relocations in China and his partner as part of their U.S. book tour. Before coming to the Bay Area, they did talks throughout the Northeast, then again in the Midwest, before coming out West. Along the way, they did several interviews with seasoned veterans of shopfloor struggles since the 1960s. One of us shares an account of our time together:

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Issue 20: So Too Shall We

05 Oct 2018

On Wednesday, Tech Workers Coalition was recognized by Working Partnerships USA with a Solidarity Champion Award for organizing a movement inside the tech industry to demand transparency and justice for workers, immigrants, and communities affected by tech near and far. Read on for the full remarks from the courageous TWC volunteer who took the stage to accept the award:

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Issue 18: The workers are on strike

21 Sep 2018

Thousands of workers on strike this week from East London to the Bay Area is filling us with confidence and optimism as we head into the weekends. More and more workers are standing up and taking action to change their conditions.

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Issue 12: The boss needs you, you don’t need the boss

10 Aug 2018

The boss is starting to fight back.

The usual suspects – Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, Postmates, TaskRabbit, Square, and Handy – just cosigned a letter addressed to Governor Jerry Brown’s labor secretary, begging him to overturn the CA Supreme Court “Dynamex” ruling, that would require these gig platforms to recognize their “contractors” as full-time employees. That means companies like Uber would have to start following minimum wage and overtime laws, in addition to paying workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and payroll taxes.

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Issue 10: Microsoft, #CancelTheContract!

27 Jul 2018

Now is the time when the people who are paid to administer injustice stand up to stop it.

The actions of activists at Microsoft offices around the country this week have shown that the #techwontbuildit movement has grown so much bigger than we could have ever imagined.

Yesterday, Microsoft workers joined with activists from @ColorofChange to deliver over 300,000 signatures to Microsoft demanding that the company cancel its contract with ICE.

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Issue 9: Workers are keeping the heat on high for Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft

20 Jul 2018

Money, it turns out, can’t buy you friends. Besieged by employee calls to #CancelTheContract with CBP, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff offered to donate $250,000 to Texas nonprofit RAICES, to draw attention away from the contract. RAICES refused the donation, sending shockwaves through the industry: “We will not be a beneficiary of your effort to buy your way out of ethical responsibility.”

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Issue 6: Why Tech Worker Dissent Is Going Viral

29 Jun 2018

The labor of tech industry workers is essential to ICE’s continuing operations. Any tool, program, or database used in ICE’s workflow directly enables the separation of families and the kidnapping of children. When our employers empower ICE, we do not stay silent; we build power to shut ICE down.

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Issue 4: Tech Bosses At The Border

15 Jun 2018

Peter Thiel exploiting handouts from the government, Founders Fund pitch decks shared over Chick-fil-A, a Lord of the Rings collector sword, MythBusters’ final fall from grace—these details are only the tip of the iceberg of horror behind Oculus founder’s latest venture: a VR forcefield inside “Call of Duty goggles” for detecting and trapping border crossers. Read and wallow in despair—then get moving because y’all, we’ve got work to do.

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Issue 3: Tech Workers Coalition Update 6/8

08 Jun 2018

Jacobin Gets The Inside Scoop on How Google Workers Organized to Stop Project Maven

Last Friday, Google announced that it will not renew its contract with the US military for Project Maven.  In a revealing interview, an anonymous Googler shared what went down inside the company as workers organized to halt the project. It’s a riveting read, full of powerful insights as workers elsewhere begin to take up the mantle. From the interview:

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Issue 1: Power to the imagination

25 May 2018

Fifty years ago this May, over 10 million French workers joined protesting students in the largest general strike that ever stopped the economy of an advanced industrial country, and the first wildcat general strike in history. Striking workers occupied 122 factories all across France, crippling the economy and nearly toppling the government. The rebellion wasn’t participated in by a lone demographic, such as workers or students, but was a popular uprising that superseded ethnic, cultural, age and class boundaries.

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