How many tech professionals actually want a union?
A new survey by Blind shows that relatively few tech-company employees are actually interested in formal unions. Because the responses to Blind’s surveys are anonymous, we can’t say definitively whether the 2,985 respondents actually work for these companies; nonetheless, we can safely treat these results as an expression of general tech-industry sentiment.
“Amazon had the highest percentage (39.1 percent) of tech employees who believe they need a union,” Blind wrote in a note accompanying the data. “Rounding out the three companies with the highest percentage of tech employees indicating that they need unions are Oracle and Microsoft, with 38.5 percent and 36.5 percent respectively.”
Amazon, of course, has a huge percentage of non-tech workers, including the ones who process customer orders within its enormous “fulfillment centers” (otherwise known as warehouses). Blind also surveyed those claiming to be fulfillment-center workers, and found that 57.1 percent of them were in favor of unionization, versus 39.1 percent of tech workers.
Amazon recently announced that it plans on spending $700 million to retrain 100,000 members of its U.S. workforce over the next six years. This initiative, dubbed “Upskilling 2025,” will focus on several different types of employees. The Amazon Technical Academy, for instance, will attempt to move “non-technical Amazon employees” to software engineering roles. In theory, this will allow Amazon to overcome its shortage of talent for roles such as data scientists, solutions architects, and security engineers.
It’s a big question whether that up-skilling—and the boosted salaries that presumably come with it—would change how Amazon’s employees feel about unionization. But in any case, it’s clear that the majority of tech professionals within the country’s most prominent technology companies don’t really care all that much about whether they’re part of a formal union. What would a software engineering union look like, anyway?