The power of the protesting employee: Big tech companies are being taken over by low-level workers
Supported by some of the success unions and a collectively driven workforce have had in the past, Grossman, and Caleb Watney, a technology policy fellow at R Street, believe that workers often have leverage, but those in tech have considerable influence over the company that they comprise.
“Employees always have power because hiring an employee isn’t like hiring a contractor. Arguably, employees have more power than ever before: tight labor market, litigious culture, regulations, costs to retrain new hires,” said Grossman, a presidential speechwriter in the White House during the George H.W. Bush administration.
“When compared to other parts of the economy, workers at big tech companies are much harder to replace given the scarcity of their skills, and as such, have much higher salaries on average,” Watney told TheDCNF. “I think everyone instinctively wants to work for a company they believe is changing the world in a positive direction. It just so happens that tech workers have much more leverage and can shape that direction more actively than workers in other sectors.”
As for working with entities or projects deemed unseemly by many or evil by some, Watney says the complexity of tech companies’ business is a huge contributing factor. In other words, as the biggest in the industry expand into almost every sector of society — Amazon, for example, has stakes in film and show production, cloud computing, distribution, and grocery services — so too does the ethical questions behind some of the initiatives.
“Which means the workers at those companies will have more opportunities to shape the decisions that are made on these high-impact questions,” said Watney.