Engelberg Center Live!


Episode Summary

This oral history centers the first hand accounts of organizers and uses documentation to deepen the narrative. Together we’ll hear corroboration from multiple sources, leaked audio from inside Kickstarter, and written communication between employees and management.

Episode Transcription

Together we’ll map the Kickstarter union drive and walk in the shoes of organizers through first hand accounts. 

Do you remember who sent that email? - Clarissa 

Ya, I sent that email. - Corey

Details matter, perceptions matter, and hearing anti-worker rhetoric in the wild, as you have or will hear it in your own workplace is the strongest form of inoculation.  But it’s rare. 

There's like one meeting room, at the Kickstarter office that doesn't have any windows. And every other meeting room has windows. And so anytime that like union busting conversations were happening, like, we're pretty sure that they're happening in the room with no windows.  - RV

There’s a reason union busting is done behind closed doors, there’s a reason workers are asked to sign NDAs, and there’s a reason management asks us to speak to them directly rather than share our experiences and concerns with our coworkers.  The people with the most context and knowledge of our workplace often hold the most power. It’s time to bring the collective worker experience to light. In this oral history of Kickstarter’s union, you will hear what we heard.  You will hear corroboration. 

… Huge difference between personal politics and company politics. If you can’t separate the two find another job. - AnonB

If you can’t separate the two find another job.  - Sarah

If you can’t separate the two find another job. - RV

You will hear recorded moments when workers tried to hold HR accountable:

It doesn’t sound like you’re open to the possibility that I could be right or that this could be a meaningful roadblock.   - Alex

You’ll hear recordings of management shaping the culture:

“We need a new model”  - Yancey: 

And you’ll hear recordings of management speaking to staff at critical moments: 

Again, it’s the kind of stuff you have to come inside to really see. - Perry 

This oral history is a window. A window into the common struggles of workers across tech and how one group, Kickstarter United, came together to do something about it in solidarity.