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Techworker Podcast: Amazon succeeds in crushing union effort

In this week's episode of the Techworker podcast, Paul and Dan discuss Amazon's success in crushing the effort by union workers in Alabama. Also: A tough week for Google, Uber, and Deliveroo.


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Techworkers are powerful. In recent months they’ve forced change on harassment, discrimination, election interference and countless other shady business practices inside the world’s richest companies. When they speak, CEOs panic.

From the senior engineer at Facebook to the Amazon warehouse contractor, TECHWORKER‘s mission is to tell the stories of the people toiling to deliver on Silicon Valley’s promises, for good or ill.

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Listen to our new podcast hosted by co-founders Paul Bradley Carr and Dan Raile!

In last week’s episode, Paul is joined by Sarah Lacy to discuss Amazon's continuing efforts to bust its warehouse workers' union, Deliveroo's failed IPO, Kim Scott's new book about radical equality... and to ask whether there's anything we can do to curb the worst tech billionaire excesses. Subscribe to the Techworker podcast in your favorite podcast app.

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The News Feed

New Letter from Alphabet Workers Union Condemns Google Management of Workplace Harassment

After an Op-Ed in The New York Times from former-Googler Emi Nietfeld made waves, the Alphabet Workers Union demanded real changes from CEO Sundar Pichai.


BBC: The Woman Who Took on Google and Won

At the end of last month, Google began posting public notices at facilities for the contractor Modis that employees could discuss wages and conditions. The notices were a way of Google settling a charges with the National Labor Relations Board. The woman behind those charges is named Shannon Wait, and the fight began when she started discussing pay transparency with her peers.


The New York Times: Amazon Union Vote Count Pauses For Night: Live Updates

When the vote count was paused late Thursday night, results appeared to be going Amazon's way. When voting paused, 1,100 workers had voted against unionization, while 463 had voted in support.


Insider: Hundreds of Deliveroo Riders in the UK are Striking on its First Day of Full Trading Over Pay and Working Conditions

At least 400 UK Deliveroo riders striked Wednesday demanding better pay and working conditions. The riders are represented by the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain (IWGB), who is also challenging Deliveroo over the riders' work classification in the UK Courts. Last month, the UK Supreme Court ruled against Uber in a case over driver's rights.


Insider: Uber is Spending $250 Million to Persuade Drivers to Get Back on the Road

Many Uber drivers have stopped driving during the pandemic - so many so that despite the decreased demand, there still aren't enough drivers to respond to all riders' requests. Thus, Uber announced on their corporate blog Wednesday that they would be spending $250 million on incentives to get drivers back on the road.


Insider: Engineers at Marcus by Goldman Sachs “Quitting in Droves”

Marcus started as a model startup within Goldman Sachs, having a distinctly different ethos, driven by work-life balance, than Goldman's infamously cut-throat culture. But in a rush to engineer a new suite of products, Marcus workers began working 12 to 14 hour days. There are 1,000 engineers at Marcus out of 2,500 total employees, and one worker estimated that the mass exodus means Marcus has lost about 25% of its original engineers. The company was first founded in 2016.


Washington Post: Emails show Amazon pressed Postal Service for mailbox, a move a union believes violates labor law

The Washington Post expressed its independence from its owner today, publishing new revelations of Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama union-busting shenanigans. Apparently, after asking the NLRB to place a mailbox at the site and being denied, Amazon went directly to the US Postal Service to pressure it to place a drop box there, and subsequently both USPS and its biggest customer lied about it. The Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union has previously complained that the on-site mailbox amounts to intimidation and provides Amazon undue control, and today's revelations bolster those claims.


Vice: Amazon Workers in Chicago Strike Over Ruthless ‘Megacycle’ Shifts

As the world waits for the final tally of the union vote at the Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Chicago have walked out in protest over grueling shift policies. Shockingly, Amazon's clapback intimidation on Twitter doesn't seem to have quelled workers' appetite for a place at the table.


The New York Times: After working at Google, I’ll never let myself love a job again.

When Emi Nietfeld was a software engineer at Google, she says she "couldn't imagine life beyond its walls." Google provided her gym, her doctor, her social life, and her job. That she built her life around the company, however, she says was a mistake. Through the process of reporting sexual harassment, she says she learned that Google always put the company's best interest ahead of the needs of employees.


Bloomberg: Doordash drivers are gaming the app’s algorithm to increase pay

The Facebook group #DeclineNow has over 40,000 members, all of whom are Doordash drivers attempting to raise their minimum pay. The members have all decided to decline any orders that pay less than $7 in delivery, more than twice the minimum $3. This, in turn, forces the algorithm to raise pay rates to meet demand. However, the Facebook page is also plagued with problems: mainly a toxic culture, which shames drivers who aren't on board with $7 or show uncertainty.