The New Tech Worker Movement

On January 11th 2019, Tech Action helped organize a panel discussion on the past year’s wave of collective actions by white-collar tech workers. It was a huge success! Around 250 people stuffed into Verso Books for an incredibly lively discussion and Q&A on tech worker organizing in 2018 and beyond.

Thanks to all who came out, and a special shout out to all the volunteers who helped with check-in, tending bar, and recording. And of course thanks to all our great co-sponsors, including Logic Magazine,, Tech Workers Coalition NYC, and Science for the People.

The panel was moderated by Ben Tarnoff (Logic Magazine, The Guardian) and featured an incredible crew of tech organizers, like:

  • Joan Greenbaum, a CUNY professor who was an active organizer with Computer People for Peace in the computer industry in the late 60s and 70s; she had lots of wisdom and experience to share about all this stuff.

  • Liz Fong-Jones, who, until recently a longtime Google engineer, has been influential for internal organizing against the military and censorship systems built at Google.

  • Meredith Whittaker, also a longtime Googler, who has been very active writing and speaking about ethics in AI research and practice and more recently helped organize the 20,000-person Google Walkout.

  • A food service worker at Facebook, but she’s actually a contractor who’s employed by some food service company that Facebook hires. Not long ago she was diagnosed with cancer and her employer tried to fire her before she started expensive chemotherapy treatments. She was speaking on behalf of the often invisible workers like her who, unlike the white collar professionals in tech, don’t have anywhere near the same pay, benefits, security, or even employer, despite working in the same place as us on a daily basis.

Attendees also made sure to snap a solidarity pic with striking UTLA teachers in Los Angeles: tech worker UTLA solidarity pic

You can check out a recording of the event here.