Aug 5, 2020 - Technology

A racial equality handbook for tech workers

Illustration of a white computer keyboard key with a black fist symbol on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Collective Action in Tech, a project that documents the tech industry labor movement, released a guide Tuesday to help workers fight for racial equality.

Why it matters: Racial inequality runs deep in the technology industry, and labor organizing remains relatively rare, but both issues have gained new prominence in the pandemic era.

What they're saying:

"Within the tech industry, the link between racism and economic deprivation is particularly stark. Black people are disproportionately represented in roles that are contingent, poorly paid, and highly surveilled, from delivery workers to ride-hail drivers to warehouse workers."
From the guide
  • "There are a lot of people doing amazing things right now, and we wanted to create a tool for people to do that even more, and even a little bit safer and maybe a little bit faster," Clarissa Redwine, a former Kickstarter union organizer who's part of the group, told Axios.
  • Too often, technology executives issue bland statements, the group writes, while not remedying inequality at their companies.

The big picture: The guide "gives folks a place to start, a template, which is so important," Aerica Shimizu Banks, who helped consult on the project, told Axios.

  • Banks is a former public policy manager at Pinterest who recently spoke out with allegations of mistreatment at the photo-sharing company. "A lot of folks aren't aware of their legal rights. What's great about this outline is it gives allies a road map as well."

What's happening: The group's guide for tech workers organizing offers clear tips, including reaching out to trusted circles of colleagues and steps to take for outreach, strategy, measuring success and making demands.

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