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Union Contract at Code for America Sets Industry Standard

Union Contract at Code for America Sets Industry Standard


Oct. 30, 2023



RV Dougherty: rv@tech1010.org

Sandy Pope: spope@opeiu.org


Email: cfaworkersunited@gmail.com

Twitter: @cfaworkers, @opeiu
Website: https://cfaworkersunited.com/


Union Contract at Code for America Sets Industry Standard


Code for America Workers United (CWU) members voted overwhelmingly Friday, Oct. 27 to ratify their first collective bargaining agreement. In addition to across-the-board wage increases and additional paid family and medical leave time, the contract includes new benefits such as adoption and fertility support and gender-affirming care.


The contract also breaks new ground by expanding worker protections to include protections against caste-based discrimination and intrusive monitoring, limiting the use of contracted and temporary workers in favor of full-time employees, and establishing a neutral arbitration process to resolve disputes between the union and management. With this contract, CWU members improve working conditions at Code for America and set new labor standards for civic tech, as well as the broader tech ecosystem.


Workers at Code for America began forming a union in the fall of 2020 with the goal of improving working conditions to increase retention and ensure the sustainability of the organization. Three years later, CWU accomplished these goals with a contract that creates more job security and gives workers a voice in the ongoing direction of the organization’s work. Most importantly, the contract helps ensure Code for America will continue to meet its goal of improving the delivery of government services to the people who need them most.


“Members of CWU work tirelessly to help improve the social safety net for everyone; this contract is a safety net for us. We are excited about what we won in this contract, and I am also proud we were able to hardcode Code for America’s values into the contract, from giving staff a role in making decisions that will impact them to ensuring criminal background checks will not put anyone’s employment at risk,” shared Matt Bernius, a principal researcher at Code for America since March 2020 and a member of the bargaining committee.


Code for America voluntarily recognized CWU in October 2021, and contract negotiations began in March 2022. After several starts and stops, a lengthy NLRB hearing, internal and external campaigning and a significant lay-off, CWU members leveraged their collective power by standing in solidarity to make this contract victory possible. Together, the workers of Code for America held the organization accountable to its stated values, and in doing so, set a standard at the organization for what it means when workers have a seat at the table.


“I am so proud of my fellow union members and how hard we fought for this first contract. While it certainly was not an easy process, this contract ultimately will allow us to heal and recruit and retain the talent needed to uphold the mission and best serve our communities,” said Tanya Grinblat, an associate director of development at Code for America since 2020 and a member of the bargaining committee.




CfA Workers United (CWU) is the staff union representing workers at Code for America where they build and use technology to improve government and the social safety net. CWU organized with OPEIU and won voluntary recognition in October 2021. Composed of workers across the organization, CWU represents designers, engineers, fundraisers, program specialists, operations staff and more. CWU promotes transparency, ensures equity, aims to increase staff well-being and retention, and add to the long list of reasons why Code for America is a leader in the fields of nonprofits and tech. Together, CWU builds a stronger, more sustainable organization for all staff, the people we serve and partners we work with.



OPEIU’s Tech Workers Union Local 1010 is organizing workers for a better future through collective bargaining in their own workplaces and beyond. Local 1010 is a local union within OPEIU created for and run by tech workers. Local 1010 is formed around a core of engineers, community support agents, designers, trust and safety analysts, product managers, salespeople, operations specialists, finance administrators and every other person that makes tech companies run. Learn more on their website: https://www.techworkersunion-1010.org/about-us


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