Features, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

Kickstarter Workers Now OPEIU Members

February 22, 2020

By Stephanie West

New York, N.Y. –  The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) is proud to announce that almost 100 Kickstarter Workers are now proud union members of OPEIU Local153. These include engineers, directors, analysts, designers, coordinators and customer support specialists.  The group is one of the first from a tech company to be organized in the USA.

The workplace issues that more than one year ago spurred the creation of the new union’s organizing committee, known as Kickstarter United (KSRU), are identical to the issues resonating with professionals throughout the unorganized tech industry. Kickstarter employees felt their employer, a public benefit corporation, was not treating them fairly. Concerns included pay determination, health benefits package, work schedules, and job security. Workers were not provided an opportunity to discuss issues with management.

“Technical workers in the industry are put on a pedestal until they are no longer necessary,” said Dannel Jurado, a Kickstarter senior software engineer. “I’m overjoyed by this result. There’s a long road ahead of us, but it’s a first step to the sustainable future in tech that I and so many others want to see.”

“We hope to inspire all workers everywhere to fight for what they deserve: a healthy and safe workplace, both mentally and physically,” added Camilla Zhang, a Kickstarter comics outreach lead.

After forming an initial organizing committee, KSRU chose to partner with OPEIU Local 153 because of the New York-based local union’s long history of representing a diverse array of professionals across industry lines.

Through Kickstarter’s initial response to the organizing drive was disappointing, management ultimately refrained from any interference with the NLRB election process. Employees were free to draw their own conclusions on the question of union membership without company interference.

“The tech sector represents a new frontier for union organizing, and OPEIU is excited to represent one of the first tech groups to successfully win collective bargaining rights and to be part of the labor movement’s efforts to improve the livelihoods of tech employees everywhere,” said Richard Lanigan, OPEIU president, and OPEIU Local 153 business manager.

February 22, 2020

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