Today we remember and celebrate International Workers’ Day. As a team working hard to operate as a collective, we strongly believe in the importance and the meaning of celebrating this special day, also known as May Day. This day serves as a reminder of the struggles and achievements of workers around the world in their fight for better working conditions, fair wages, and the right to organize.
The roots of May Day
Protest against the Pinochet dictatorship in O'Higgins Park, Santiago, on 1 May 1984. Source: Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 2.0 cl.
International Workers’ Day has its roots in the late 19th century when workers in Chicago went on strike to demand an eight-hour workday. The protests turned violent, and several workers were killed. To honor their memory, the International Socialist Congress declared May 1st as International Workers’ Day in 1889. Since then, the day has been observed as a holiday in many countries around the world.
May Day today
However, the struggle for workers’ rights is not limited to the 19th century. In the present day, workers in various industries continue to fight for their rights against the powerful forces of capital. This is especially true in the tech industry, where big tech companies are notorious for exploiting their workers to maximize their profits.
(Big-tech) workers rights today
Many big tech corporations like Uber use tactics such as subcontracting tech workers and mass layoffs to cut costs and increase their profits. These tactics are a blatant attempt to deny workers their basic rights and exploit them for the sake of profit. We strongly believe that it is important to remember and not to take for granted that workers’ rights are human rights, and the struggle for these rights must continue. Unfortunately, no one in the big tech world will give these rights willingly.
In solidarity with (tech) workers around the world
At Cloud68.co we stand in solidarity with workers in every industry, but especially with everyone working at big tech corporations. The workers in these companies are struggling to unionize and fight for their rights. As a small-by-design team, we believe that ‘success’ in our case can not be defined without the dedication and hard work of our team members. We are committed to providing them with safe working conditions, and the right to organize. The International Workers’ Day movement has resulted in many workers’ rights, including the right to a safe and healthy workplace, the right to a living wage, and the right to organize and bargain collectively. These rights are essential for workers to have a voice in their workplace and to be treated fairly.
Challenges of the tech workers in 2023
In the tech industry, there are several challenges to unionizing and securing workers’ rights. One of the biggest challenges is the culture of individualism that is often fostered in tech companies. Many tech workers believe that their individual success is based on their own merit, rather than the collective effort of their peers. This makes it difficult to build a culture of solidarity and collective bargaining. Maybe the solution are small teams and a collective spirit?
Another challenge is the use of independent contractors and gig workers in the tech industry. These workers are regularly excluded from traditional labor protections and do not have access to benefits such as health insurance and paid time off. This makes it difficult for them to organize and fight for their rights. In addition to these challenges, there is also a pervasive culture of overwork in the tech industry. Many workers are expected to work long hours and be constantly available, which can lead to burnout and a lack of work-life balance.
Despite these challenges, there are many examples of successful unionization efforts in the tech industry. For example, in 2018, tech workers at Google staged a walkout to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment allegations. This walkout led to policy changes at Google and inspired other tech workers to organize. Similarly, in 2019, tech workers at Kickstarter formed a union to fight for better working conditions and a more equitable workplace. This unionization effort was successful, and Kickstarter became the first major tech company to unionize.
These examples show that it is possible to organize and fight for workers’ rights in the tech industry. It is important for every tech worker around the world to remember that YOU have power in numbers and that collective bargaining can lead to positive change. As a service provider in the tech industry, we are committed to supporting workers’ rights not only on International Workers’ Day but every day. Remember: workers’ rights are human rights!