Lanetix and Tech Unions

On January 26th Lanetix fired a group of engineers for trying to form a union. Employers acting like this should not surprise anyone. Generations separate us from the last large-scale labor struggles in this country. If you are like me - history classes presented labor organizing much like they showed the civil rights movement, essential to history but no longer relevant.

I wasn't around for the early days of Silicon Valley. From what I understand - people were filled with hope. The future Star Trek promised was right around the corner. Technology would flatten hierarchies and free us all from the drudgery of work.

This didn't happen. Open source, instead of creating a world where everyone shared and collaborated - created a world where corporations build fortunes on the backs of coders working for free. And instead of giving back by funding projects or letting employees work on open source on company time, they refuse to hire anyone who hasn't contributed their labor to open source.

Billion dollar companies run servers on Linux or use languages like Ruby or frameworks like Rails, all built and maintained by volunteers.

I am angry that a few are getting wealthy on the backs of the labor of the many. But it gets worse. Not only are they using our free labor for personal gain but they use our creations to create walled-gardens, opposing the core principals of open-source software.  Instead of freeing us from work - they use the platforms we built to trap us with algorithms designed to addict us.

The Silicon Valley giants survive off of our attention and our labor. They steal our working hours to build technological drugs that trap our minds, and they manipulate us into donating unpaid labor to keep the system running.

Venture capitalists understand this system. They know if workers organize - like they were trying to do at Lanetix - it will bring the system down. They are scared.

The time for Tech Workers to find their voice has come. Companies like Facebook and Amazon are among the most powerful in the world, and we are the only force strong enough to resist them.

The struggle against the tech giants is here. Which side are you on?

Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash