This past month I had my third story published in The Baffler! This one on tech sector unions.
Are these two sorts of campaigns—internal reform of company hiring practices and jockeying for control of external impacts of the company—synergistic or at odds? Do white and blue-collar workers have enough in common to act in solidarity with one-another? “Personally I, actually, oppose efforts to start talking about unionizing among software engineers,” says Fred (not his real name), one of the co-founders of the organizing committee of the tech action working group of the New York City DSA chapter—just “Tech Action” for short—who sees many white-collar workers as too politically inexperienced to start organizing properly. Echoing Westergard, Fred observes, “I think a lot of people have this naive feeling of, like, I’m new to socialism, I’m new to organizing, hey let’s unionize my workplace!” For these workers, management has been a receptive debate partner—an entity that has its own interests but genuinely wants to know what you think about how a project is going or where everyone should go on the company retreat. Demanding a union is a bright red line workers don’t even know exists. Fred warns, “I don’t think they appreciate just how truly aggressive the boss is going to be if they are not careful about that kind of discussion.”