CODE-CWA Newsletter: June 10

CODE-CWA Newsletter: June 10

"I'm so proud of the hard work my coworkers have put into organizing and supporting the formation of Lisa Operators United and we are excited to begin negotiating for change in our workplace," Kel Smith, an organizer and member of Lisa Operators United/CWA

This week we celebrated some major wins! On Tuesday, the human operators behind AppFolio’s AI software ‘Lisa’ won their NLRB union election and will be represented by CWA. On Thursday, the New York Post Production Guild became the first post production coordinators in New York to win formal union representation with CWA. In addition, this is also the first time workers employed by Apple in the US have won a union through the NLRB process. Finally, Activision Blizzard has officially decided to recognize Game Workers Alliance (CWA) and WILL begin negotiations with QA testers at Raven Studios. After winning their union vote, Activision Blizzard had a week to dispute, which they did not avail. Now the union will bargain with the company and set their terms.

The video game, tech, and digital industry has been historically non-union, and some people have even thought unionization was not possible in these white collar jobs. But the workers above have shown that it is possible. And as the tech, digital, and video game industry progresses and grows, more people will be inspired by how small teams are changing their workplace for the better.

As the Raven QA testers, Production Coordinators, and AI workers at AppFolio show it's never too late to change the world. Reach out!  

Trainings

On Saturday June 11th, join us for a building the committee training at 12 PM PST where we talk about how to build a strong organizing committee, maintain it, and build a strong foundation from which you run a successful campaign. Check the CODE-CWA organizer training program for upcoming classes!

Worker News

AppFolio workers win landslide union election

On Tuesday, the human operators behind AppFolio’s award-winning AI software, Lisa, won their union election and will be represented by the Communications Workers of America. The workers, known as Lisa Operators United/CWA are an all remote workforce spread out all across the country. Early this year, Lisa operators announced the formation of their union to win fair wages and benefits for all non full-time Lisa workers and to create a more transparent and equitable workplace. "Our team is made up of talented individuals who truly care about making AppFolio a great place to work. I'm so proud of the hard work my coworkers have put into organizing and supporting the formation of Lisa Operators United and we are excited to begin negotiating for change in our workplace. With the majority of Lisa operators voting to support the union, we truly believe that we’ll be stronger and happier when we ratify an equitable contract for our colleagues," said Kel Smith, Lisa Operator and member of Lisa Operators United/CWA. Read more on Business Insider

Belabored: Game Workers Unite and Win, with Emma Kinema

Following the unionization victory by QA testers at Raven studios, Emma Kinema talks about unionization, Raven studios and the future of the industry. “People always talk about wages and benefits and improving…But I think one of the things that goes really unspoken is the kind of respect and dignity that comes from being organized. From you know, having that agency at work in a new way when you stand in union with your coworkers. Ultimately I think these workers (Raven QA) are really taking matters into their own hands and whether it's from striking or winning their union vote, they're demonstrating that we are actually really valuable the company cannot function without us and we deserve to be treated with respect and you know, have rights at work that we've been denied for for too long.” Listen to the full interview Here

Video Gaming Got Its First Major Union. Now What?

QA testers at Raven studios overwhelmingly won their vote to unionize. Almost one week later Activision's deadline to challenge those votes ended, making Game Workers Alliance the first AAA video game union in North America. Now the union is looking to start negotiations with management and actively have a seat at the table. Although some believe that the unionized QA workers are small in number, in the end it doesn't matter. Any power earned is critical, as it leads the way for others and ultimately leads to a unionized industry. As CWA senior campaign lead Emma Kinema said "It's not worth fighting the arc of history, and this industry will be organized, one way or another." Read more on Wired

Apple to Improve Working Hours for Retail Staff After Union Push

In response to recent unionization efforts at Apple retail stores, the company is improving working conditions. The key changes among them are more time off between shifts, less required working time and increased pay. Although the changes are beneficial, employees are standing strong in their optimism that having a union on the job would directly lead to better outcomes. Read more on Bloomberg

The Biden Administration is Targeting the Mandatory Anti-Union Meetings Favored by Apple and Amazon

An appointee by the Biden administration wants to make "captive audience" meetings unlawful. Captive audience meetings are anti-union discussions where employers try to dissuade employees from unionizing. The general council of the NLRB, Jennifer Abruzzo, wants to overturn years of precedent, and is urging the board to look into the coercive nature of the meetings. As Ellen Dichner, a lecturer at the City University of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies who served on the NLRB from 2013 to 2018 explains, "we know that they have had the effect of intimidating workers, and they’re often very heavy-handed. It’s a very high-pressure tactic." Even though it may take time, the push from Abruzzo has already caused some employers to mark their meetings voluntary. Read more on the Observer

Google Maps Contractors Get Return-to-Office Extension After Threatening to Strike

Last week, Google Maps contract workers informed management that they planned to go on strike due to the unsafe working conditions imposed by the 6/6 RTO date. The threat to strike was largely because the company did not commit to basic COVID safety protocols. Maps is a fundamental part of Google, and with over a Billion users using the service every month, they could not afford a strike. "In less than 3hrs workers won a 90 day extension—this is the power of organizing," tweeted Alphabet Workers/CWA . Read more on Gizmodo

This Week in History

June 12 1981 - Major League Baseball strike begins, forces cancellation of 713 games. Most observers blamed team owners for the strike; they were trying to recover from a court decision favoring the players on free agency.

JUNE 13, 1884 – Congress creates a Bureau of Labor, under the Interior Department. It later became independent as a Department of Labor without executive status in the Department of Commerce and Labor. In 1913, it became the Department of Labor we know today.

Song of the Week

Too Dumb to Die by Green Day

My daddy always was on strike

Going off with the teamsters

He said that everything will be alright

Not every Sunday can be Easter

The picket line screamed

"Woah-uh-oh-oh-oh (woah-uh-oh)

Don't cross, don't cross the line

Because you'll be a scab, not a martyr"