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Kickstarter United Wins Historic First Contract

Major collective bargaining gains include guaranteed wage increases, no intrusive monitoring, and limits on the use of contracted and temporary employees.

NEW YORK, N.Y. (June 17, 2022) — Members of Kickstarter United (KSRU), the first union in the U.S. to win wall-to-wall recognition at a tech company, voted overwhelmingly this week to ratify their first collective bargaining agreement with their employer.

The ratification vote, passed with 97.6 percent support, concludes KSRU’s historic campaign for a first contract with the crowdfunding company, which began when workers at the company went public with their intent to unionize in January 2020 with OPEIU Local 153. 

"When I made the career change to enter tech, I never would have expected the opportunity to be a part of something like Kickstarter United,” said Liishi Durbin, a software engineer at Kickstarter. “For me, the contract is a reminder that fair labor practices are vital across all industries—not everyone in tech is an engineer, and not every engineer is paid equally.”

“Because of mutual effort between Kickstarter workers and management, we are relieved to have many of our issues resolved through the collective bargaining process,” she continued.

The agreement, covering 46 employees, puts an end to geographic pay adjustments, intrusive monitoring of workers, and limits the use of contracted and temporary employees in favor of full-time jobs. It guarantees wage increases for all workers, ensures annual pay equity reviews, establishes grievance and arbitration procedures, and the ability for workers to take comparable time off if they work longer than their normal hours. 

"This contract enshrines a lot of the positives of our already good workplace, protecting it against destructive changes in senior leadership. It provides accountability for a lot of processes that previously lacked any sense of progress or accountability,” said Dannel Jurado, a senior software engineer who served on KSRU’s organizing and bargaining committees. 

“What I hope it means for the industry at-large is that you don’t have to wait until something bad happens to organize,” he continued. “You can use a collective bargaining agreement to lock in the already excellent but sometimes short-lived benefits your employer provides. It gives employees a reason to stay and continue building the companies they care about.”

Software engineers, outreach staff, recruiters, product managers, risk analysts, marketing managers, graphic designers, research coordinators, directors, and community support staff are all covered under the terms of this industry leading agreement.

“It's been one of my proudest professional accomplishments to contribute to the formation of this industry leading union, and to watch our incredible bargaining committee collaborate with Kickstarter's management to negotiate this boundary-pushing contract,” said Oriana Leckert, Kickstarter’s director of publishing and KSRU organizing committee member.

The successful organizing drive at the company inspired the creation in 2021 of OPEIU's Tech Workers Union Local 1010, a union by and for tech workers. Through Local 1010, tech workers across the U.S. are able to leverage their collective power to transform working conditions in the tech industry.

"Every worker in every workplace deserves solidarity, compassion and protection,” Leckert continued. “In short, every worker deserves a union. I hope it will reverberate throughout the tech industry and beyond, showing everyone what's possible when workers come together to prioritize mutual aid and support."

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Office and Professional Employees International Union was chartered in 1945 and with more than 104,000 members (representing 110,000 employees) strong, we’re one of the larger unions of the AFL-CIO.  OPEIU has locals in every state, Puerto Rico and Canada. 

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