Employees Code for America (CFA) today announced an alliance with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 1010. According to the organizers, 62 people have signed authorization cards, meaning 77 percent of approved employees have indicated their support for the work.
A national non-profit organization builds technology products for government agencies, including helping county courthouses automatically clear people’s records when they are eligible and use one of them the largest access points to the benefits of the California food label.
Employees say they are largely satisfied with their work – and receive more pay than their counterparts in other nonprofits. Still, they think the alliance could give them more say in business decisions. “The union is giving independent assistants a seat at the table,” says Ash Campo, a CFA employee and organizer. “Joining allows us to rethink the barrier between staff and management so that permanent staff can make a meaningful impact on decisions that affect them and benefit the organization collectively.”
The announcement is part of a larger trade union movement for white-collar workers. In 2020, Kickstarter employees were formed one of the first unions to consist of full-time staff technology industry, including with OPEIU. Earlier this year, Glitch employees signed one of Tech’s first collective agreements.
The organizational work of the CFA began almost a year ago. Initially, some employees were skeptical and stated that the organization already contributes to employees ’policy decisions. However, the organizers felt that this was not enough. “People are generally happy with the way things are going and talk about the collaborative nature of management,” explains software engineer and union organizer Ben Calegari. “But I think the problem here is that it’s based on a relationship with leaders to create change.”
Another union organizer, who asked to remain anonymous, agrees. “The alliance would give us collective power, where we must now rely on individual power to make things change.”
Employees say they intend to advocate for a better remuneration and promotion policy and possibly a seat on the board. “We have non-profit employees who earn a little more and are better funded than others, to prove that no one is above valuable work with employee consent and input,” Calegari says. – There are many people who are in worse conditions than we do, who do not have the leeway to speak and move as freely as we do. It is therefore our duty to use our freedom for the benefit of the collective good. “
Ash Campo also says the alliance is an opportunity for the CFA to fully achieve its goals. “America’s job is to build technology for and for the people, and for me, forming unions is about accomplishing that job internally,” they explain. “We want to create policies that people have built for the people, and forming unions is the only way to give us a place at that table.”
On Monday, the federation asked the Code for America leadership for voluntary recognition. OPEIU chief organizer Grace Reckers says she hopes this will happen, but notes employees are ready if that doesn’t happen. “I am absolutely confident that they will win the election if we have to go there,” he says.