Kickstarter workers win profit sharing and guaranteed raises in first union contract

In that same vein, the contract will protect workers against “intrusive monitoring” from their supervisors. While Jurado said the company doesn’t employ the tactics now, the contract will prevent Kickstarter leadership from employing monitoring tools, such as tracking employee keystrokes.

Members of the bargaining unit are guaranteed a 3% annual salary increase, while workers that exceed expectations in performance reviews are guaranteed a 5% raise. The contract also establishes a profit-sharing model, in which 5% of the company’s after-tax profits will be put in a bonus pool during years when Kickstarter surpasses a 15% profit margin.

In a statement, Kickstarter’s chief legal officer, Diane Peters, said the union and management approached the contract negotiations with “mutual respect.”

“This agreement will ensure the continuation of Kickstarter’s substantial benefits and fairly recognizes our employees for the significant contributions they make,” she said.

Kickstarter United claims it’s the first union at an American tech company to win wall-to-wall recognition from its employer. That means employees across job titles are entitled to join the union, including engineers, recruiters and support staff.

Labor organizing frenzy

Kickstarter has not been the only tech company to be touched by this year’s wave of organizing efforts. A group of quality assurance workers at video game company Activision Blizzard won a union election in May, and its parent company, Microsoft, announced that it would take a “neutral” approach toward unions. Tech workers at The New York Times, including engineers and data analysts, voted to unionize in March. Workers at an Apple store in Maryland voted to unionize last weekend, and the number of Google employees in the Alphabet Workers Union grew to more than 900 this year.

But Kickstarter is among the first of those efforts to successfully negotiate a contract.

Jurado said he’s been contacted by workers at other tech companies who are considering organizing. He said that many tech workers feel they’re immune to workplace problems because their in-demand skill sets means they can usually find a job elsewhere if necessary.

“You have your pick of places to go, but I don’t think that means you should put up with bad working conditions. I think it means you should improve them,” he said. “This contract shows what we’ve actually won. I’m hoping this continues to serve as an example.”

Kickstarter United was formed in February 2020 after a 46-37 vote among workers. After two years of negotiations, the contract was signed on June 17. The union did not file any unfair labor practice charges against the company during the negotiation process.

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