In this meeting we discussed how organized workers make demands, and what those demands might look like in the tech industry.


  1. As temp sector grew, so did appeal of union: Microsoft campus labmates bargain for benefits. On the organizing efforts by Microsoft contractors that do bug testing.

  2. Chronicle of a Strike. On the successful 2016 strike by CWA-affiliated Verizon technicians and wireless workers (which NYC-DSA played a significant role in).

  3. Italian IBM workers strike. A fun little historical note. Sorry about the image quality. Check out their slogan “Blue Collar, White Collar, Same Fight!” – a great example of what we talked about in our last meeting!

  4. Reasons to be Skeptical of Silicon Valley’s ‘Never Again’ Pledge. On the “Never Again” pledge by individual tech workers not to build a so-called Muslim registry for Trump.

  5. Optional Readings:

    1. The Long Road to Victory. A (long-ish) interview highlighting a recent (almost-) strike by the Chicago Teachers Union, a democratic union fighting for education justice in Chicago, with a strong leftist caucus helping guide it. Read about all the ways in which the union is fighting for broader leftist goals in Chicago beyond just workplace concerns (which are inherently student concerns too).

    2. Tech Workers: Friends or Foes? A recent Jacobin essay that’s a wonderful addition to our last meeting! The gentrification discussion is particularly interesting.

    3. Rumblings of Organizing in Silicon Valley. Another fun historical article, on (the pitfalls of) an organizing attempt by research technicians in Silicon Valley in the 70s. Lots to learn about organizing within tech, not all of it good.

    4. To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now. An interesting piece examining the role of blue-collar workers in the tech industry, and specifically how contract work allow for big companies to sidestep regulation and inflate their value.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do the Microsoft workers’ status as contractors affect their demands and their organizing?

  2. What from the CWA strikers’ problems and demands might be relevant in the tech industry?

  3. How do IBM strikers’ demands take into account an inequality in the workplace?

  4. In what ways does the ‘Never Again’ pledge differ from the others kinds of demands we’re talking about?

  5. Are the demands universally applicable to the workers in a particular tech workplace? How might demands be made in solidarity with contractors?

  6. Do the demands appeal to (material) self-interest or to compassion? In cases of fighting for a minority group (e.g. women in tech), how can that gap be bridged?

  7. Do the demands address only the workers themselves, or do they have a political reach beyond the workplace?

  8. Most importantly: Think about your own demands! 🤔 What would you like to see changed in your tech (or tech-esque) workplaces?