• Lovestruck Game Writers Deserve Fair Pay!
    All of the Lovestruck writers are members of marginalized genders and/or sexualities. Voltage has given us an invaluable foot in the door to the industry and a platform to tell stories that represent our voices, our passion, and our experiences. We are also all fans of the app, and we care deeply about the stories we tell. We don't want this to be the end of our partnership with Lovestruck, nor does it have to be. However, the conditions under which we are currently working are untenable. Not only are we paid less than half the industry standard in both base pay and our raises, we are not provided with information about how the routes we write perform either. The increased base pay that Voltage is currently offering is still well below the industry standard. We are eager to have an open and honest conversation with management in order to work together to settle on an equitable rate. The ultimate goal of the contract writers of Lovestruck is to see our hard work and commitment to authentic storytelling given the value it deserves, which will allow us to continue to provide loyal Lovestruck fans with the top-notch content they deserve. We've seen the support for our request for equitable pay and improved conditions come pouring in across social media, and it means the world to us. We cannot thank you enough! By signing this petition, you add your voice to the chorus of Lovestruck fans, game workers, romance writers, organizations, and more in inviting Voltage executives to hop on a call with us to discuss these matters. Thanks again for your incredible support! 🖤🤎❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
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  • Say the words! Solidarity means saying "Black Lives Matter"
    Recently Whole Foods workers have been sent home for wearing Black Lives Matter paraphernalia at work, on the grounds that they are somehow controversial. Respectfully, we beg to differ. As an Amazon employee, and a Black American descendant of enslaved peoples in this country, I must say, that anyone who believes that the words Black Lives Matter, are controversial suffers from an unfortunate delusional state induced by years of conditioning in white supremacist ideology. Workers should not be forced to choose between earning a living, and asserting that the lives of other human beings have value. Whole Foods is wholly wrong to have ever enforced this policy. Nothing short of a full throated apology and a sincere commitment to sit down, shut up, and LISTEN to us, will do at this point. This is not a request. It is a demand. Words have meaning, and you can't claim to be in solidarity with the Black community, and then show the reckless indifference to Black and Latinx lives that Amazon is demonstrating currently. While you're here sign our petition to shut down DSF4 for deep cleaning. We've had 3 confirmed cases of COVID 19 reported in the last month and management is lax about enforcing social distancing unless it's to get rid of an organizers like Hibaq Mohamed or myself. Workers should not be retaliated against for speaking up for the safety of themselves and their colleagues. Standing in solidarity in the fight against systemic racism and injustice means being willing to say that Black Lives Matter AND act on that truth by treating Black employees with the dignity and respect that we deserve.
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  • Close DSF4 for deep cleaning and pay workers for the time off work.
    Amazon has made numerous statements in the recent pass saying that it supports Black lives - for instance in a twitter post it wrote: "The inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop. Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community — our employees, customers, and partners — in the fight against systemic racism and injustice." Black and Latinx people are significantly more likely to be impacted by coronavirus than people of other backgrounds. This is the result of the systemic racism and injustice Amazon claims to stand in solidarity with us against. If that's the case, they should be willing to forego the service of this facility long enough to ensure that workers are as safe as they possibly can be. 1 preventable death is unacceptable. Shut down this facility in defense of Black lives!
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  • No Racist Tech in Arlington, VA!
    We are a group of Arlingtonians, tech industry employees, and allies who are demanding a permanent end to any partnership negotiations between the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and Amazon’s Ring. We demand that you reinvest the funds that would be used in this partnership into programs like affordable housing, education, and mental health support. This will allow our communities to thrive and move away from a world where the police are needed. In this moment of uprising and protest in response to the despicable, racist attacks against Black people and the police murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and countless other Black people, we need our local government to take bold action to protect Black lives. Who, exactly, does Ring and this culture of policing and surveillance protect? Because of HQ2, Amazon’s greed is already displacing our Black and Brown neighbors with rising housing costs, we don’t need Amazon’s Ring to profit off of mass surveillance, racial profiling, and incarceration of Black Arlingtonians. We know how to take care of ourselves and our communities. We don't need the police, nor their racist technology. Ring’s partnership with the police violates our privacy and criminalizes people. As we have seen with facial recognition software, technology is not neutral, and in this case it amplifies the racist, violent behavior of the police as they terrorize our communities and encourages civilians to do the same[1] [2]. Users of these apps use code words like “suspicious”, “strangers”, and “I saw someone who looks like they don’t belong here”. This creates an arbitrary environment of policing each other, giving rich white people the power to decide who belongs. Ring claims that police are required to follow a protocol to view footage captured by Ring home surveillance cameras. However, Amazon’s Ring/Neighbors applications are available to anyone regardless of whether they own a Ring home “security” system. This allows law enforcement to bypass any legal requirement and directly access video footage from homeowners' Ring cameras. Furthermore, Ring’s privacy notice states that Amazon may share Ring users' information with their affiliates, subsidiaries, service providers, and business partners [3]. Furthermore, law enforcement can request neighborhood footage using a subpoena, even if the resident refused to provide those recordings [4]. ACPD and Amazon work together—maintained by citizen policing and complicit silence—to constantly watch, and thus police and incarcerate Black people in Arlington for profit. You do not want to be on the wrong side of history in this vital moment. Other government officials are acting right now to stop surveillance and racist facial recognition technology [5]: Senators are introducing a bill [6], while the Boston city council successfully voted on a ban [7]. Our demand is clear: immediately and permanently cancel any data sharing partnership and/or negotiations between the ACPD and Ring/Neighbors App and invest those funds to support Arlingtonians in need of affordable housing, education, and mental health support. Follow our Instagram @RacistTechOutOfVA + Twitter @NoRacistTechVA If you live outside Arlington, you can still sign and support! Sources: [1] https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43kga3/amazon-is-coaching-cops-on-how-to-obtain-surveillance-footage-without-a-warrant [2] https://www.mercurynews.com/2015/09/01/nextdoor-when-a-neighborhood-website-turns-unneighborly/ [3] https://shop.ring.com/pages/privacy-notice [4] https://www.govtech.com/security/Amazons-Ring-Video-Camera-Alarms-Privacy-Advocates.html [5] https://www.aclu.org/news/privacy-technology/how-is-face-recognition-surveillance-technology-racist [6] https://www.govtech.com/policy/US-Senator-Pushes-for-Government-Ban-on-Facial-Recognition.html [7] https://www.masslive.com/boston/2020/06/boston-city-council-votes-to-become-largest-city-on-east-coast-to-ban-facial-recognition-technology.html
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  • Hey Google: Stop Retaliation and Scare Tactics Against Workers
    If Google can't be trusted to support workers who speak out against illegal and unethical activities at the company, how can it be trusted to hold the world's information in a responsible, unbiased, and ethical way? Illegal retaliation also hurts us all in promoting homogeneous workplaces, which stifles workplace inclusivity and diversity.
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  • It’s Time to Recognize the Kickstarter Union
    As Game Workers Unite co-founder and tech industry labor organizer Emma Kinema said in her recent XOXO speech, Kickstarter's mission to democratize the way in which people create art, music, games, tech, and writing is a noble and important pursuit, and it is only natural that it is at Kickstarter where we are seeing one of the first tangible signs of democratizing a tech industry workplace through unionization. Workers throughout tech, games, and many traditionally unorganized industries are watching, cheering on, and standing with the workers of Kickstarter in solidarity. Kickstarter United has sparked all of our imaginations and have our fullest support. Stand with them today!
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  • Slack: Add a Block Button to Protect Victims of Harassment
    “Hey, do you know if I can block someone on Slack?” a friend texted me. Someone at her workplace had a crush on her, and he wouldn’t stop sending creepy messages over Slack—the platform she is required to use for many hours a day to do her job. She therefore couldn’t ignore it every time it pings her with messages, even though they were often from her harasser. Though she could attempt to avoid him physically in the office, as soon as she opened her computer, her dot would turn green. Because her coworkers need to know where she is, it meant he could see whenever she was online, too. He would immediately start messaging her; she felt like she had nowhere to hide. As it turns out, Slack does not have the functionality for a user to mute or block anyone. This is despite the fact nearly every social network now gives you the ability to block someone: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all offer easy ways to mute and block users, and they even have dedicated channels to help users through this process. But Slack technically isn’t a social network, even if it’s used socially. Slack views itself as a tool, an infrastructure for production and producing. From alumni organizations to conferences and meet ups, it helps businesses and employees plan, document, and work. The friend I mentioned earlier uses Slack as the main method of communication with her coworkers. Without it, she couldn’t plan meetings, share links, or document her progress for projects. You can’t simply choose not to use that tool without causing a significant workplace fallout. This is a scenario many women and marginalized groups suffer through: someone makes them feel uncomfortable, but if they raise the issue, it may reflect badly on them for overreacting. So they don’t say anything at all, and continue putting up with the microagressions. Online harassment can affect anyone, but it affects marginalized groups the most. On most social-media platforms, a victim can block a harasser and file a harassment report. But Slack doesn’t even mention harassment in their policies. In its “Acceptable Use Policy,” it only outlines that Slack cannot be used for inciting hatred or violence against individuals or groups. The company doesn’t have an official page—or even a blog post—on what to do when their product is used to harass people. Everyone should have the ability to mute, block, and generally augment their experiences online, because having the ability to tailor your privacy settings and how people can reach you creates safety. Ideally your workplace has a system in place to mitigate both online and offline harassment—but what happens if that person doesn’t stop? It’s time for Slack to catch up with other tech platforms and do more to protect victims of harassment.
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  • Tell Netflix CEO Reed Hastings that gender & pregnancy discrimination is wrong
    My name is Lisa, and I'm an actor and a mom who has acted on multiple Netflix shows. Throughout my career, I’ve watched as women across my industry (writers, producers, actors, and tech workers) have been discriminated against as soon as they decide to start a family. That must end. Now. This month, former Netflix manager Tania Zarak bravely spoke out after she was fired by Netflix. When Tania told her boss that she was pregnant, Tania says her boss began isolating her, excluding her from meetings, and even removing her from Netflix shows. After enduring this treatment for weeks, Tania did what we’re supposed to do - complain to HR. But she said Netflix HR notified her boss, who became angry and called her in for a meeting. That’s when Tania’s boss asked when her due date was and encouraged her to quit. Tania refused. Incredibly, the next day, Tania’s boss fired her.[1] THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. I’ve watched this happen again and again, but didn't expect this from Netflix, the largest and most profitable company in our industry, especially now in the #MeToo #TimesUp era. Despite boasting about its leave policy while recruiting potential employees, Netflix has a track record of inequity on this issue. A former Netflix HR director alleged that as Netflix promotes its leave policy, behind closed doors, Netflix secretly pressures and forces out employees who get pregnant and/or take leave because Netflix HR executives said that “women in particular that take such time are not serious about their careers.”[2] Netflix also previously only provided paid parental leave to some employees, leading workers in its DVD department to launch a public campaign to pressure Netflix to offer paid family leave for all employees.[3] The casts and crews on sets I’ve worked on have been treated with respect and humanity. I want to know that this culture extends to all divisions of a company that I work for, and support with my subscription dollars, as I'm guessing many of you do as well. What happened to Tania is especially awful because Netflix hides its actions behind its family leave policy. It's not enough for Netflix to offer family leave if Netflix then retaliates and fires employees who become pregnant and try to take it! PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION & SHOW NETFLIX THAT WE STAND WITH TANIA AND WORKING MOMS WHO STAND UP TO DISCRIMINATION. [1] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6882153/Former-Netflix-manager-39-sues-streaming-giant-claiming-fired-pregnant.html [2] https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/netflix-settles-executive-claiming-widespread-sexual-harassment-1050313 [3] https://www.coworker.org/petitions/netfix-extend-paid-parental-leave-policy-to-all-employees
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  • Fire Activision CEO Bobby Kotick for pocketing millions while laying off 800 workers
    The 800 workers who helped with community management, marketing games, running eSports, legal, and so much more are all far more valuable than the CEO. When making the decision to cut someone from Activision we'd choose to #FireBobbyKotick every time. Bobby Kotick has been raking in $30 million dollars a year as Activision CEO, that massive income doesn't come from nowhere. It comes from the labor of his employees. Kotick's wealth is built from the stolen wages of his workers. [1] Activision, under Kotick's leadership, gave a $15 million dollar bonus to the CFO *just for changing his job title* then they have the gall to turn around and lay off 800 workers just days later? [2] It's disgusting to hear Kotick boasting about record revenue for the company then announcing an 8% staffing cut in the next breath. Kotick was especially proud to announce the 9% bump to stockholder values. That 9% comes from our labor. [3] Please sign this petition in solidarity and send a message to Activision Blizzard's c-suite that we won't let their greed ruin the games we love and uproot the lives of workers anymore! Sources: 1. https://kotaku.com/activisions-ceo-made-28-6-million-last-year-300-times-1825715966 2. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-04/activision-gives-15-million-sweetener-to-new-cfo-dennis-durkin 3. https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/yw83kg/activision-blizzard-reports-record-revenue-as-they-fuck-over-800-employees
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  • Uber & Lyft: Reverse the Rate Cut
    More and more drivers are living in their cars. Unable to afford housing based off earnings as a driver, or unable to travel the distance home. More and more drivers are spending less time with their families, seeing their children, or taking care of themselves, because they cannot afford to turn their app off. What once was a reliable way to make income has become a cycle of driving as many hours as possible to barely scrape by. As Uber and Lyft prepare to go public this year with IPO offerings, they are doing everything in their power to show the profitability of their business. And they are doing this by taking more and more money from their drivers. Uber just reached a new low - cutting drivers’ mileage rates from $0.99/mile to $0.68/mile. Not only did Uber decrease the overall mileage rate, they changed the way drivers receive surge pricing - which is an incentive pay that drivers rely on to make a living. Prior to the change, surge pricing was based on a multiplier of the total trip (i.e 1.8x surge would earn the driver an additional 80% on the overall trip). The current change in surge pricing places a flat dollar rate such as $2.50, with a note that claims “you may earn even more than this amount on longer rides.” The key wording here is “may.” Driver experience has shown us that while some trips have added additional surge, others have not. Uber’s lack of transparency on how they formulate and determine surge payouts leaves drivers guessing what their fare will be. Gig Workers Rising is taking action against Uber and Lyft’s unyielding greed. Reverse the rate cuts and give drivers a voice! Join us by taking action and signing our petition.
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  • Uber and Lyft: Give Drivers a Voice
    “When Uber deactivated me, I had been driving for them for 2 years. One day, I woke up and couldn’t log in to the app. Uber deactivated me because of a glitch in their system. In my case, the deactivation was Uber’s fault, but drivers get unfairly deactivated every day for all sorts of reasons. Uber kept me out of work for 3 weeks and I fell behind on my car payment. A car payment that I was making to Uber, because I had been leasing a car from them for 18 months. Once my account was reactivated, I worked 12-13 hours a day to catch up on my car payment. It didn’t matter. Uber repossessed my car - taking the thing that I rely on to make a living and something that I was leasing from them. Even though I’ve been reactivated, I live in constant fear that I could be deactivated again for some unknown reason. We shouldn't have to live like this.” -Eleisha R. Every day, Uber and Lyft drivers work under a constant fear of having their accounts deactivated. Deactivation is the equivalent of an immediate firing. Drivers are frequently deactivated with little to no warning, and they are often given no explanation of why they were deactivated, or how they can remedy the situation. The constant threat of termination, in addition to limited opportunity for recourse, means drivers are constantly in a state of fear. Drivers’ stability at work is entirely out of their hands. Instead, their future is decided by the whims of passengers and the companies. It is almost impossible for drivers to advocate for themselves once deactivated, or to fight for reactivation. If you aren't an Uber or Lyft driver, can you imagine working in these conditions? There are numerous things that trigger deactivations including car accidents, background checks, passenger complaints and driver personal safety concerns. Clear policies on why deactivations occur must be developed for each of these issues and more. Drivers need a voice at Uber and Lyft in shaping these policies to better protect both drivers and passengers alike. Drivers deserve a seat at the table. Gig Workers Rising has decided that it is time to take action against Uber and Lyft’s unfair deactivation practices and the devastating impacts they have on drivers. This petition will be delivered in person to Uber and Lyft by drivers. Join us by taking action and signing our petition.
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  • Tech should not be in the business of war
    Over three thousand employees at Google recently wrote a letter to their CEO explaining their opposition to Project Maven [1], after learning that their work was part of a US Department of Defense contract being considered. We are employees of the tech industry who invite all supporters to join us in amplifying their demand to break these contracts across the industry. The DoD contracts under consideration by Google, and similar contracts at IBM, Microsoft [2] and Amazon [3] break user trust, and signal a dangerous alliance between the US military and the tech industry. Tech companies that have vast quantities of sensitive data from users across the globe shouldn’t build offensive technology for one country’s military. Google says its technology will only be used to “non-offensive” ends. Our last few years working in the tech industry has issued reminder after painful reminder of the unintended outcomes of even benignly-designed tech. We can no longer ignore our industry’s and our technologies’ harmful biases, large scale breaches of trust, and lack of ethical safeguards. These are life and death stakes. We risk potentially catastrophic outcomes if we continue to deploy global technical systems without care, deliberation, and a clear understanding of our significant responsibility. In signing this petition, we represent a growing network of tech workers who commit to never “just follow orders”, but to hold ourselves, each other, and the industry accountable. Sign on and join us as we demand that Google break its contract with the DoD, urge our employers at IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon to stay out of the business of war, and call upon our peers to adopt binding ethical standards for the use of AI. 1. "‘The Business of War’: Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon" https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/technology/google-letter-ceo-pentagon-project.html 2. "Ungrateful Google Plebes Somehow Not Excited to Work on Military Industrial Complex Death Machines" https://futurism.com/google-maven-drones-military-contract/ 3. "Google is Pursuing the Pentagon’s Giant Cloud Contract Quietly, Fearing An Employee Revolt" https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2018/04/google-pursuing-pentagons-giant-cloud-contract-quietly-fearing-employee-revolt/147407/ *No names will be visible on the petition until the petition reaches 100 signatures. At that point your first name and last initial only will appear, not your workplace. Tech Workers Coalition may reach out to you on the basis of your workplace.*
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