Is Microsoft’s Union Position a Sign of More to Come For Tech?

by | Jun 23, 2022 | CWA, Strikes, Tech - Media

The Communication Workers of America set its sights upon tech and gaming workers, and new belt notches, which are a part of the CODE-CWA (Coalition to Organize Digital Employees) initiative, continue to appear. The video game and comic book realms remain in the union’s sights, as do digital media employees.

The CWA’s now attempting to bump elbows with Microsoft. The company is on the cusp of finishing its acquisition of video-game company Activision Blizzard, which saw its workers vote to join the CWA’s Game Workers Alliance. Microsoft has now made a public declaration of intending to collaborate with unions, to avoid “public disputes.” Microsoft President Brad Smith declared that the company will recognize workers’ legal right to organize, and in a blog post, Smith laid out loose guidelines of how he views the collaboration process, which includes a pledge to not oppose the organizing process.

Exactly how Microsoft’s new approach reflects upon the tech industry remains to be seen, but the new stance seemingly reflects a desire to project a lack of hostility toward unions. Whether that affects the level of union activity in tech is anyone’s guess.

What is more certain, however, is that a return-to-the-office remains out of the question for some workers. Contractors for Google Maps threatened to strike (as part of the Alphabet Workers Union) ahead of a scheduled return and received a 90-day extension.

Over at Vox Media, workers are tiptoeing toward a possible strike (while belonging to the Writers Guild of America, East) for the publisher of The Verge and Eater. And a California IATSE local now claims about 5,000 members within its animation guild.

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