Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA)

Who We Are.

Workers Organizing For a Voice.

The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA) is a network of worker-organizers and their staff working every single day to build the voice and power necessary to ensure the future of the tech, game, and digital industries in the United States and Canada.

We work at major multinational tech companies and tiny startups. We work at small indie game studios and AAA game publishers. We work at top down corporations and equitable worker co-ops.

We use our collective strength to improve conditions for temp, vendor, and contractor workers; to fight against the unethical use of our labor; to end hiring, wage, and retention discrimination; and to ensure that our work is a benefit to our society, not a burden.

A Fighting Union!

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) are hundreds of thousands of workers throughout tech, media, telecom, and other industries who stand together to fight for justice on the job and in our communities!

We are a strong, democratic, and fighting union that doesn't back down from a challenge: whether it's taking on massive tech & media monopolies, fighting police repression of journalists, or ending federal government shutdowns by threatening to strike.

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Why Organize Your Union?

BECAUSE VALUES ARE WORKING CONDITIONS

Through organizing a union with our coworkers we gain a voice on the job in matters large and small. In our industries, we bring our passion and our values with us to work in hopes of building a better world; creating art and entertainment enjoyed by people around the world, and expanding access to information. Our work has truly massive impacts on the entire planet and society. Having a union voice better equips us in speaking up around our core values. 

Glitch Workers Organize with CODE-CWA to Make Tech History!

March 2020: Tech workers building a collaborative web at Glitch win voluntary recognition of their union!

POWER: AT WORK AND IN SOCIETY

Being a union member means working with Dignity and Respect - and having a strong, worker led voice in society. As big money in politics grows its influence, workers deserve their fair seat at the table.

Photo of many workers on zoom taking a solidarity photo with the Blue State union logo and the words "We Won!"

October 2020: Progressive digital campaign workers at Blue State win voluntary recognition of their union!



BETTER PAY AND BENEFITS

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 22% higher than their nonunion counterparts.

July 2020: Video game writers who write diverse and meaningful stories at Voltage win 78% pay increase in the first successful video game worker strike in history!



SECURITY: NOW AND IN RETIREMENT

Through our unions, millions of workers have improved security in our jobs, including important safeguards against discrimination, policies around work-life balance, and fairness protections around layoffs. Working people in a union are five times more likely to participate in an employer-provided pension plan than working people without a union.

 
To keep in mind: The myth of the first Thanksgiving is a lie meant to erase the parasitic relationship between the early Puritans arrivals and the Wampanoag people. When the Puritans arrived, it was the Wampanoag people who greeted them with generosity and care...
“Working people took on authoritarianism and won.” As the red mirage faded, we saw clearly the incredible power of working people, particularly working Black people, who cast their ballots to cast out a racist authoritarian.

Join CODE-CWA November 10th at 5pm PT / 8pm ET as we present a livestream Q&A with Jeff Orlowski, the Director of The Social Dilemma.

“Believe in the power of people.” That’s Blue State Digital’s mission statement, and it’s the moniker adopted by the workers at the agency who recently announced they’re forming a union. Workers are coming together from across Blue State’s departments, disciplines, and offices to collectively improve their working conditions...
Solidarity with the Meow Wolf Workers Collective! Workers at Meow Wolf, an artsy collective based in Santa Fe that’s been profiled by The New York Times Magazine and even once got $2.7 million from George R. R. Martin, are voting to join CWA on Monday, and we could not be more excited...
This is a volatile political moment. If you saw the debate (and really if you’ve been paying any attention at all), it’s hard to shake the feeling of a profound political decline and crisis facing the United States...

This week we’re feeling motivated. Lots of the worker news in this week’s newsletter is positive movement.

Happy Labor Day Weekend! We hope that those of you who have today off have some time to rest and recover.

Your Rights To Organize

Under the Law

Through the 1935 National Labor Relations Act employees have the legal right to form a union in their workplace, engage in collective action around work issues, and it bars employers from anti-union and anti-organizing retaliation ranging from asking what your opinion on your union is all the way to threatening, harassing, disciplining, transfering, and a wide range of other behaviors intended to curb organizing.

We believe that the right to engage in "concerted collective activity" (labor law jargon for workplace organizing) covers not just organizing around wages, conditions, and hours, but also the ethical use of our labor, diversity and inclusion, and so much more.

Through Organizing

Despite the vast majority of workers having the federally protected right to organize, we know that labor law in the US is far from perfect and it fails to cover independent contractors and others. Yet, we know through experience that our greatest protections stem from our collective strength and solidarity when we are organized together.

Take the Voltage video game writers who won the first successful game worker strike in history: they were independent contractors, had no rights under the law, and the boss could have immediately terminated them... Yet they won!

The writers knew that their greatest power and safety came through the fact that collectively they are the most valuable aspect of their company. Withholding or threatening to withhold their labor was the ultimate bargaining chip that enabled them to win their strike with an average 78% pay increase.

How To Build Your Union!

Organize

Organizing is first and foremost about building a culture of care, respect, support, and professionalism in the workplace. We do this by speaking with our coworkers, learning about the issues they face, sharing our own motivations, and connecting those back to the idea of collectively organizing. Organizing your union is about shifting the culture of work and building strong relationships, this can take time and patience. Once you and your coworkers have a strong majority of support, you can take your campaign public and seek recognition from the company.

Bargain

Once recognized, you and your coworkers will have the legal right to collectively bargain over workplace conditions. That means bargaining a strong new contract that protects your interests into the future, as well as being able to collectively bargain with your employer whenever they want to make changes to the workplace. Even in the case of layoffs, you will be able to bargain over the terms - and in the case of CWA members at Glitch, they won massive improvements that were essential for supporting their coworkers in tough times.

Build The Movement

As your coworkers and your peers throughout the industry organize unions at their workplaces, it's essential to help others organize in turn. Connecting with fellow tech, game, and digital workers and supporting them in future organizing and deepening ties between tech and the labor movement are crucial next steps.

No Matter The Circumstances

No matter the circumstances, we firmly believe every single worker deserves the dignity and strength of building a union with their coworkers. We help workers organize in the typical legal process of seeking recognition and bargaining, as well as organizing outside of the framework of labor law and building a better workplace through sheer organizing. Whereever you work, whatever your employment status: you can organize!