Union Busting

What is it and why you should care


Playlists: 'rc3-2021' videos starting here / audio

The last two years where pretty darn terrible, but one of the things that provided hope was a growing solidarity between workers.
Sadly this was also met with enormous repression.
In this talk I want to show why we need unions and how we're prevented from getting them.

2021 is finally coming to a close.
It's been a tumultuous year for pretty much everyone on the planet.
The ongoing global pandemic is showing people how fragile their life is and how everything can change for the worse in a really short amount of time.
In addition to that, many people were shown just how little they matter to their employers.
Being forced to work in unsafe conditions without being provided sufficient PPE or "just" having to be more productive than ever while the whole world seems to be burning.
Many are realizing that they do not want to go on like this and try to fight back.

This talk will be split into two main parts: Why we need unions, even if we're doing well in our jobs and how unionization is prevented from unethical employers and governments.

## Why do we need unions?
I think it's safe to say that many people listening to this talk will be working in the tech industry.
This is an industry where we are comparatively well compensated and have decent working conditions.
Most of us were able to work from home during the pandemic and stay safe.

But that does not mean we should not fight to improve conditions.
Not just for ourselves but also those (inside and outside the industry) who are less privileged.

[Polls show](https://vouchercloud.com/resources/office-worker-productivity) that people spend less than 3 hours of the average 8 hour work day being actively productive.
Still, the economy is not breaking apart, our computer systems seem about as stable as computer systems can be and new, innovative things are being invented.
So why is it normal to spend 40 hours a week not doing what you want to but instead staring unproductively at a screen because you just can't focus more than 3 hours?
Why does one have to take a substantial pay cut if they want to spend less time like this [and be at least as productive as normally](https://autonomy.work/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/ICELAND_4DW.pdf)?
This is just one of the many things that we would be able to change if we worked together.

In addition to improving our own lives, privileged people have the duty to normalize standing together in solidarity and stand together with marginalized people who are treated considerably worse.
Racism, ableism, hate against trans people and unequal pay are part of the work lives of millions of people.
This has to change and the best way to do so is to show employers that not doing anything will hurt them because they won't be able to keep their employees and have no one left who's work they can profit off.

## Union busting
When workers started to organize, employers where quick to try and put an end to this.
Union busting was attempted at some of the largest tech companies as well as against workers in more precarious fields like food delivery.
While our work days look totally different, the tactics used to stop us from unionizing are largely the same.

Oftentimes union busting is not as obvious as firing the workers who try to start a council, but rather takes the form of more hidden ways such as lower performance reviews and attempts to create disdain between the workers.
Knowing these tactics (and how legal they are) is important if we want to fight back.


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