Union Fever at Tech’s Biggest Firms is Weak

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?

3 Responses to “Union Fever at Tech’s Biggest Firms is Weak”

  1. Tech professionals need to do something!! We are being beaten down on both hourly rates & salaries.

    Organizing would give us a voice in how corporate America structures our income.

    What we do on our jobs is critical to the survival of any company and is just as important as the work performed by any corporate lawyer or accountant.

    Offshoring our jobs has also had a tremendous impact on our income and even dictates whether or not we’ll even have a job!!


  2. Adding to what Ron S is saying. As a disabled IT professional I would “WELCOME” A UNION WITH OPEN ARMS. As is I have to have a lawyer and EEOC on speed dial with else of repersentation. Two decades of this cutthroat prejudiced industry has done few of us any good.

  3. Microscrewed

    Seems like they should ask everyone, and not just certain people.. because i would give anything to have an IT union..

    Hours.. Exempt.. Work 60 hours but are only paid for 40 hours..
    Work load.. Requirements are now they want an employee to do the work of 4 people with the pay of 1.
    Being fired for not wanting to work, or being physically exhausted due to being worked to death..

    We need to do something!

    I think your issue is you are are asking people who work for companies that if they found out anyone wanted a union they would be fired immediately..

    Union fears caused big companies to fire employees..
    It’s a fear tactic.