Tech Workers Coalition Berlin

Tech Workers have a lot of potential power to change society. Anyone who identifies as a tech worker and is interested in learning how to build collective power or get involved in a campaign is welcome. Tech Workers are currently organising against gender pay gaps, workplace harassment, surveillance technologies, amongst other things. This document is an agenda item for the first meeting of Tech Workers Coalition Berlin.

A panel about Tech Workers Movement was held earlier this month 10 June 2019 at Aquarium Am Südblock, featuring Logic Magazine co-founders Ben Tarnoff and Moira Weigel. Ben, who is also an organiser of the Boston chapter, will be present during the meeting. You can click to watch the video or listen for audio.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

This will be the first of many future meetups. A second meetup is scheduled for the 27th of June, so do not worry if you missed the first one!

Venue

Bilgisaray, Oranienstrasse 45, Berlin

Accessibility

Bilgisaray is a smoke-free environment. Children are welcome. Unfortunately, it is not wheelchair accessible. We will try to ensure that future venue spaces are accessible.

Agenda

  • 18:45 - Everyone arrives, write name tags
  • 19:00 - People briefly introduce themselves
  • 19:15 - a short presentation by Yonatan Miller on what Tech Workers Coalition around the world have accomplished
  • 19:30 - Interactive breakout session to figure out what tech/social issues are personally important to you
  • 19:45 - Group report back and discussion
  • 20:00 - Second breakout session to figure out what new/existing campaigns we can get involved in
  • 20:30 - Thirty minutes to wrap up and figure out the next steps for meeting on 27 June and any action items
  • 21:00 - Go home with some resources, contacts and feeling inspired! 💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿

Resources

Twitter: @TechWorkersBER

Tech Workers Coalition Facebook

Notes

Logistical requests:

  1. We need help with creating a website, is that you?
  2. A venue for June 27th and future meetings, regular and one-time venue spaces both welcome! Bonus if wheelchair accessible, smoke-free. Thoughts/concern for an outdoor meeting potentially?
  3. Reach out to speakers/labour experts who can conduct workshops or know your rights training?
  4. Rotating facilitators and stack takers for future meetings.

Summary of meeting.

We had two breakout sessions and several smaller conversation in between. Here is what we found out during the report back (using sticky notes where people added their answers and also questions/topics). This helped people get to know each other. About ~20 people showed up.

Ideas for future activities:

There was strong interest in organising several workshops on different topics including secure communication platforms, Workers Councils, mapping your workplace (worker inquiries)

  • Creation of gender awareness committee
  • Distributing stickers at tech conferences
  • Getting legal support
  • Creating a worker cooperative

Issues important to you:

  • Respect, mental health
  • Hiring biases and toxic interview culture
  • Illegal firing/termination
  • Salary transparency (tools, discussions etc.)
  • Gender and work experience pay gap
  • Financial instability
  • Precarious contracts
  • Financial instability
  • Exploitation of labour in startups
  • Staff to project distribution
  • Workplace surveillance
  • Bullying
  • Long hours
  • Stress caused by lack of planning
  • Discrimination against Muslim tech workers
  • Privacy
  • (Anti)-Social Impact of Tech
  • Worker-owned cooperatives
  • Internal reporting mechanisms to make complaints
  • Know Your Rights
  • Opposition to Code of Conducts
  • Exploitation of labour in startups

Previous Organising experience:

  • Ver.di
  • Socialist reading groups
  • Reproductive Justice
  • Programmer meetups in Turkey
  • FAU (Frei Arbeiter und Arbeiterin Union)
  • Lobbying
  • Working in German Parliament
  • (5 people had no experience yet ;)

Demographics of workers’ employer/type of work

Freelancers and full-time employees in profit and nonprofit companies, ranging from 50 to over 10.000 employees. People anonymously shared salaries (not including unemployed) ranged from 38.000€ up to 78.000€ per year.

Software engineers were the most visible in the group. There were also Security engineers, database admins, UX Copy, Sysadmin. This represents a filter bubble in our outreach, and we should be conscious to make it a welcoming space for non-software engineers. The term “Tech Worker” is a term we will need to challenge and re-asses constantly, both the Tech and Worker aspects.

Some Cities important to us individually:

  • Berlin,
  • Brighton,
  • Chicago,
  • Istanbul,
  • London,
  • Milan,
  • Moscow,
  • New York

Code of Conduct

All meetings and communications are covered under the a Berlin Code of Conduct. The privacy and safety of our members is important to us. Sharing the identity of members and or taking/sharing photos are strictly forbidden unless express consent is given.

Contact info