CODE-CWA Newsletter June 26

The CODE-CWA tech worker union at Glitch negotiated with company management to get Juneteenth designated as an official company observance.

If you are seeking to set up a union in your company, get in touch, and let's organize so that we use our collective power to advocate for the things to matter to workers.


Book talk: We spoke this week with Wendy Lui, former tech worker and author of "Abolish Silicon Valley". Watch it here.

CODE-CWA regularly hosts free, virtual training sessions on how to organize! Registration information can be found here.

Worker News

Google Workers Demand CEO Drops Police Contracts: Over 1,600 Google workers signed a letter demanding the CEO cancels the contracts they have with police forces. Within hours management said "no", they will continue to work with racist police forces. Google executives has no qualms about saying "Black Lives Matter", but when it comes to turning their nice words into action, they make it crystal clear which side they're on.

Gig Workers Take the Fight to the Uber CEOs mansion in San Francisco: In San Francisco this week over 100 gig workers showed up outside the Uber CEOs $16.5m mansion. As inquisitive neighbors came out of their homes, drivers held up a banner "A Thief Lives Here". Rarely in this country are greedy executives directly confronted by the human impact of their excesses, but these drivers are organized and determined to force the companies to treat them with dignity and respect. Snowden: "Tech workers need to think harder about the technologies they’re working on and the greater implications of their work": In a conversation with Naomi Klein on Tuesday organized by Mijente, a Latinx advocacy group, and streamed in partnership with Vice, Edward Snowden offered some advice to a younger version of himself. He acknowledged how naive he had originally been and that there has been an awakening in the tech industry, but encouraged workers to recognize that all work is political: “The reality is all work is political work. I don’t care if you’re selling hotdogs on the street. We’re all confronted with choices about how our labor is used, how we direct that, who we are really serving, who we’re working for and who benefits from the labor of our lives,”. Watch the full talk here.

Black Women Workers At Pinterest speak out about racial discrimination: Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, two Black women who up until May 22nd were working for Pinterest's public policy and social impact team, came forward with allegations of racial discrimination and a hostile work environment during their time at the company. As tech companies roll out statement in support of BlackLivesMatter, we should be listening more to people like Ifeoma and Aerica than we do to company CEOS. We also need to push companies to go far beyond statements and put their words in to concrete actions.

Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm: Kashmir Hill in the New York Times has a surreal story about a Black man in Detroit who was wrongfully accused of robbing watches because the police department was using a faulty facial recognition program


Organizer Tip of the Month

Don't assume: It's essential in organizing we don't make assumptions about what coworkers will care about, or their potential support for a particular organizing effort. Assuming based on politics, previously stated support for unions in the abstract, or friendship, or prior complaints is a big mistake to make. It's important to meet co workers where they are at, and to listen to properly understand what those you work with care about.

Labor History

For 83 days in the spring and summer of 1934, tens of thousands of dockworkers along the West Coast walked out of their jobs, striking at first for higher wages and shorter workdays, but eventually pushing for union recognition and union control of hiring halls. The strike, called by the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), became one of the most monumental strikes in American labor history, reinvigorating unionism on the West Coast and leading to the huge growth of maritime unions, like the ILA and, eventually, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

At its height, the strike boasted some 35,000 maritime workers up and down the West Coast. Workers were fighting against police and scabs in the streets. A general strike was called in San Francisco after "Bloody Thursday" — July 5 — when police killed two men and wounded dozens. Tens of thousands marched down Market Street in San Francisco the next day, and eventually more than 150,000 went on strike in mid-July in support of the dockworkers.

A particular legacy of the strike was the creation of the ILWU, which last week called a West Coast work stoppage during Juneteenth, shutting down all 29 American ports on the West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle. The strike was held in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement and featured, in Oakland, speakers like Angela Davis, Boots Riley, and Danny Glover. Davis, in her speech, pointed out that the ILWU, unlike other labor unions, had consistently stood against racism:

"Whenever the ILWU takes a stand, the world feels the reverberations," she said. "We remember your stance against the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s. We applaud the fact that you stood with Martin Luther King and civil rights activists in the 1960s. We know that you radicalized the struggle against South African apartheid in the 1980s."

Song of the Week

Old Man Trump - Words by Woody Guthrie Adapted by Ryan Harvey

Beach Haven ain't my home!
No, I just can't pay this rent!
My money's down the drain,
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
Where no black folks come to roam,
No, no, Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain't my home!

I'm calling out my welcome to you and your man both
Welcoming you here to Beach Haven
To love in any way you please and to have some kind of a decent place
To have your kids raised up in.