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Kickstarter makes history becoming one of the first tech companies to unionise

Yesterday, Kickstarter became the first tech company to unionise in the US. In a vote that ended up with 46 employees voting for, and 37 voting against, the staff will now join over 100,000 other workers represented by the Office And Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).

The crowdfunding site has helped loads of games get the funding they need to get their feet off the ground, making this wonderful news for both the tech and the games industry alike.

Employees at the company had been working on unionising for about a year since they started the Kickstarter United movement back in March 2019 (via The Verge), with the goal to “start the process of unionising to safeguard and enrich Kickstarter’s charter commitments to creativity, equity, and a positive impact on society”.

The platform has been used to raise money for loads of prominent PC games, funding things like Divinity: Original Sin 2, and the recent Wonderful 101: Remastered.

“We support and respect this decision, and we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here,” Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan told Vice. “We’ve worked hard over the last decade to build a different kind of company, one that measures its success by how well it achieves its mission: helping to bring creative projects to life. Our mission has been common ground for everyone here during this process, and it will continue to guide us as we enter this new phase together.”

Back when the company was firmly against the union, Kickstarter United expressed that they didn’t want people to boycott the platform, and they were in full support of the creators still using it to raise money.

“All of us organising with KSRU are committed to the mission of Kickstarter, and will continue to support creators currently on the platform and in our alumni network,” they tweeted. “We are not calling on creators who rely on Kickstarter to abandon live or planned projects.”

The OPEIU released their own statement along with the good news, highlighting their aims to work with Kickstarter United to make sure the company lives up to the progressive values it claims to have “by ensuring trust and transparency from management, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, implementing more inclusive hiring practices and giving employees a voice in the decision-making process”.

Unions have been a hot topic in the games and tech industries over the last couple of years, with Game Workers Unite being founded in the UK, as well as a recent GDC survey showing growing support for unionisation, too. Here’s hoping Kickstarter United will stand as a shining example for other companies in this industry to get organising.

You can find out more about Kickstarter United and their values over on their website.

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