So long Kickstarter, thanks for all the fish...

03 October 2019

"You won't get me I'm part of the union!"

After a month of heated back and forth at Kickstarter over the attempt by staff to unionize, which has included the firing of three of the union organising committee as well as public statements by the company's CEO that trade unions are "inherently adversarial", the newly formed Kickstarter United union has now formally requested it be recognised by the company. If, as is expected in the light of recent statements made by the company, this voluntary request is denied then it's likely that further appeals to the National Labor Review Board will be made after an initial complaint was filed against the company for its recent alleged anti-union redundancies.

What does that all mean for me, and why am I writing about it on this blog? Well, for one it puts me as a creator that has enjoyed growing success on the Kickstarter platform in a tight spot. While none of the union organising committee have called for any kind of boycott of Kickstarter, as a member of the largest teaching union in the UK and both a long-time trades unionist and a currently serving workplace union rep it does mean I can't in good conscience continue to use the platform until the situation is resolved. I mean, in under a fortnight I will be joining my union colleagues for the first of three days of industrial strike action to demonstrate against the chronic under-funding of our sector as part of a campaign to improve teaching conditions for students across the country. Such action is part of our right to bargain collectively for improvements to pay and conditions, a right that is currently being denied workers at Kickstarter and across the tech industry in general.

I hope that Kickstarter will reverse their position and agree to recognise the workers of Kickstarter United but until then, I for one will be walking away from the platform; a situation that genuinely saddens me as I have enjoyed both the learning experience of running exciting campaigns and the relationships with brand new readers that have found my work thanks to opportunities offered by crowdfunding.

Nick Prolix (@nickprolix) is a writer, artist and cartoonist living in the Fens.

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