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Follow the Money: Union Organizers Set Their Sights on Silicon Valley, Tech Companies

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With their numbers on a continued decline, private sector American unions are on the search for new members. According to a recent Bloomberg article, labor organizers are setting their sights on the booming tech market and Silicon Valley in an attempt to grow their ranks. The article details how in recent years various unions, such as UNITE HERE and the Teamsters, have prevailed in organizing more than 5,000 workers on various tech giants’ campuses.

 

The successes thus far primarily have been with the companies’ contractor employees who work on the properties (e.g., cafeteria employees who work for a 3rd party food service company) as opposed to direct employees of the tech companies themselves, but the inroads are being made. In addition, unions currently are trying to organize Silicon Valley companies direct employees, such as the UAW’s recent targeting of Tesla.

 

The shift by unions to focus on workers in tech makes sense in light of declining jobs in sectors they have enjoyed historic success, such as manufacturing. Unionization in the tech sector is an area to watch in the coming years as unions continue to try and blunt their losses.

David Pryzbylski

Recently recognized as one of the top under-40 labor lawyers in the nation by Law360, David J. Pryzbylski’s interest in labor relations began early in high school, having grown up next to several of the largest steel mills in the world. Today, David is a Partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Labor & Employment Department. Building on his interest in labor relations, he concentrates a large portion of his practice on assisting employers with traditional labor matters, including collective bargaining; work stoppages; arbitrations; union avoidance training and strategies; union representation elections; unfair labor practice charges; contract administration; and various other labor relations issues.

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