New Report Touts Prospects for Digital Organizing

June 12, 2015

A new report from the Century Foundation calls for developing new online tools to simplify the organizing process while using recent National Labor Relations Board decisions to facilitate virtual labor organizing.  The report notes the recent NLRB decision to reverse years of legal precedent and allow employees to use workplace e-mail for organizing or communicating about the terms and conditions of work "creates a strategic opening" for employees to organize.  According to the report, "workers need a new tool to communicate, share information, and overcome employer resistance and intimidation."  Such an online tool could "adopt technology already widely used in social networking sites" and be designed to:

  • Help workers engage with other employees as well as form an organizing committee;
  • Create instructions for beginning and carrying on all facets of the organizing campaign;
  • Automatically file petitions and forms with the NLRB upon the show of sufficient support; and
  • Offer model agreements on wages, benefits, and scheduling policies.
The report also notes that launching a "virtual labor organization platform" could be done by web developers or investors who could monetize the platform through licensing agreements with unions, and concludes that such a platform could "transform the way in which the nation's top labor unions deploy their organizing capabilities" and give employees a "less-obstructed way to join a union."