In a vote held by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday, employees at the crowdfunding tech company Kickstarter elected to unionize. The decision marks the first successful move toward worker organization at a major tech company, though similar efforts by contractors and employees in the industry have been advanced in recent years.
The NLRB vote passed 46 to 37, and with it the “Kickstarter United” group will join a New York chapter of the Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPIEU). In a Tuesday statement celebrating the vote OPEIU said that the issues that led Kickstarter employees to unionize “are identical to the issues resonating with professionals throughout the unorganized tech industry.” For Kickstarter, conflict arose last year with the well-publicized firings of two union organizers and other perceived resistance by the company. According to the OPEIU statement, “[t]hough Kickstarter’s initial response to the organizing drive was disappointing, management ultimately refrained from any interference with the NLRB election process, ensuring employees were free to draw their own conclusions on the question of union membership.”
Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan also issued a brief statement on Tuesday. He said that they “support and respect this decision” and that the company’s “mission has been common ground for everyone here during this process, and it will continue to guide us as we enter this new phase together.”