The most prominent crowdfunding site is finally giving power to the people. The Kickstarter Union, formed with the Office and Professional Employees International Union won its Union election on Tuesday, making them one of the first in the tech industry to do so, per Motherboard.
For those of you outside the indie space, Kickstarter hosted a slew of Iron Circu and ShortBox comics along with series like Ex. Mag and many more which you can find in C.K. Stewart’s Crowdfunding Round-Up.
Prior to Kickstarter’s Union debacle, the company was known as one of tech’s most progressive, advocating that it would measure its success not by profit margins, but by how well it achieves its mission to “bring creative projects to life,” per CEO Aziz Hasan.
All creative projects, except for maybe one, of course. The Kickstarter call to unionize all began because of a comic hosted on its site titled Always Punch Nazis by Ben Ferrari. The satirical piece quickly drew the ire of alt-right news site Breitbart. A piece from that site declared that Ferrari’s work was violating Kickstarter’s terms of service by inciting violence, which resulted in higher-ups’ decision to pull the plug on Always Punch Nazis. When employees caught word that the project was being taken down, protests ensued and management changed its mind, finally opting to host the comic anthology.
That inciting incident is what brought Kickstarter employees to form a Union. In March 2019, they requested to unionize, though it did not go well. Hasan responded by telling employees a Union wasn’t right for Kickstarter; that the idea itself was “inherently adversarial” and that it would “set us [Kickstarter] back,” implying that such confrontation didn’t represent the company’s ethics.
Instead, Kickstarter would go on to fire two employees organizing said Union, a tactic which, apparently, was much more in line with its communication standards. In the lead up to today’s news, the fight would continue, including the company’s hiring of a law firm that branded itself as able to “maintain a union-free workplace.”
Apparently not! Kickstarter employees make waves across the tech industry today with their newly formed Union; hopefully signaling change across the board. On Twitter, the Union announced that its media blackout is over, its members are beginning to discuss priorities and a representative bargaining committee so that they can begin the bargaining process.