By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. tech sector is the next frontier for organizing labor, and its workers are beginning to understand the collective power alliances there are, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said. on Friday at the next Reuters Conference.
Shuler said the labor union – which includes 56 affiliated unions and 12.5 million workers – wants to enable more organization in the tech industry under her leadership.
“What we are seeing in the tech sector is workers are increasing. You look at companies like YouTube, Google, Apple. Their workers have spoken out. They held walks on issues like racial justice and sexual harassment,” Shuler said.
“…You don’t have the collective power that you have when you have alliances, and I think the tech guys are starting to connect the dots,” she said.
The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Technology is one of the least unionized major industries in the country despite some recent organizational successes. In recent years, unions including Media Workers USA have launched campaigns in Silicon Valley and organized for workers at startups like Kickstarter and Glitch. The CWA also founded the Alphabet Union, an organization known as minority unions that do not have collective bargaining power.
But many of the union’s push-ups are still in the early stages, and it remains to be seen whether they will have wide reach.
Shuler said U.S. labor laws in the United States “have been broken.” Until they’re reformed, outcomes like workers’ refusal to unionize at an Amazon.com Inc warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, will be difficult to fight for.
Amazon workers in Alabama refused to unionize by more than 2 to 1 in April. The union said the company meddled in the election, an allegation Amazon has denied. Last month, a regional director for the US National Labor Relations Board ordered the election to be rescheduled.
Shuler said workers will be able to meet in person outside of the workplace ahead of this election, something the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in the first election.
The administration of President Joe Biden has placed unions at the heart of a policy that Shuler says has given a significant impetus to the US labor movement.
“We have the public on our side for the first time in a long time,” she said, citing a recent Gallup poll that found 68 percent of people in the country support unions.
Whether that creates more workers in unionized sectors remains to be seen.
Between 1979 and 2020, the percentage of American workers represented by a union fell 14.9 percentage points, according to estimates from the White House.
Shuler also said the Biden White House is in the process of getting the PRO ACT – a sweeping labor reform bill – through and hopes the legislation will be introduced in the US Senate for debate as early as January. , where it got stuck after being passed. House of Representatives in March.
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(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
https://whbl.com/2021/12/03/u-s-labor-movements-next-frontier-is-the-tech-industry-afl-cios-shuler-says/ The next frontier for the US labor movement is the technology industry, says AFL-CIO’s Shuler