Discuss our workplace experiences
One of core objectives of the TWC is to create spaces for workers at different companies to come together and have dialogue about their workplace conditions, current issues in the tech industry, and society at large. This is part of our approach to building worker power in tech.
Inspired by our experiments within the framework of workers’ inquiry and other public forums, this meeting will take the form of small break out groups consisting of a few people each. The discussion will center on some simple questions giving people the opportunity to talk about their workplace experiences and the role they play as a worker (via their company and sector) in the global economy. We will also explore strategies for organizing our coworkers to enact the positives changes we'd like to see in our workplaces, the industry, and society.
To read more about how people in TWC have been thinking about workers’ inquiry, check out this transcript of a talk given at a conference last year: Tech workers, platform workers, and workers’ inquiry
Bonus: If you are interested in learning about the history of workers' inquiry, check out this lengthy essay: Workers’ Inquiry: A Genealogy
- Allow a few minutes for people to show up and then do a brief introduction on the TWC and what the point of the discussion is. Make sure to set expectations with the group about confidentiality and the code of conduct.
- Do a go-around of the room for introductions. Pass around the questionnaire.
- Split people up into pairs. Let people talk for ~30 minutes, going through most of the questionnaire.
- Merge pairs, to form groups of 4. Let groups talk and continue to the last few questions, which cover more “big picture” questions, for another ~30 minutes.
- Bring everybody back to one group. Have a general discussion on interesting things people had come up in their discussions. Do another go-around with some kind of closing question.
- Mention any upcoming TWC events of interest, and then end the event.
- How long have you been in the industry? Where do you work? What is your role? What org or division of the company are you a part of?
- Identify the sector or industry that your company (or division of the company) operates in.
- What does the company produce? Who are your customers? What other products and services does the company itself use?
- What do you work on? Who benefits from it? How do you talk about that?
- What tools do you use to do the work you do?
- How does your company make money? Is it profitable? Is the company pre-IPO? Does your company raise money from VCs? If so, what funding round is the company at and how much has been raised? How does this directly contribute to your work experience?
- What similarities are there between people in the group? What are differences?
- How are you managed? What would you want to change about that? What else would you like to see changed in your workplace?
- How many of your coworkers feel the same way? What are ways to engage fellow workers further in conversations about these issues?
- How have other issues been resolved in the past?
- What are other ways to resolve workplace issues?
- Share a story of a negative experience at work.
- What was the situation? What happened? What did you do? What was the result?
- How does this make you feel? How do others in the group relate to this experience?
- Do you have one-on-one meetings with your manager? How often? What are they like? Are these meetings an effective way for you to get individual resolution on any workplace issues you are facing?
- Do you have one-on-one meetings with your peers? How often? What are they like? If not, is this something that you have ever considered or talked about with them? How can one-on-one meetings be used to find and support peers with the same workplace experiences?
- Hot Topic: Workers at various big tech companies have engaged in a variety of actions against working with repressive institutions, from signing petitions against contracts with ICE, to refusing to work on military-related tech. Could you see these kinds of experiences happening at a place you work at?
- What are other ways for workers to demonstrate solidarity beyond workplace organizing and rallying for industry wide changes?
- What type of support from coworkers, friends, and counterparts at other companies do you find valuable?
Past Hot Topics
- Do you think these documents should have been leaked? Is the leaker justified? How would you or your coworkers feel if somebody leaked something of similar magnitude at your workplace?
- Could you see this experience happening at a place you work at?
- In November 2017, staff at IGN stopped work and walked out until their management formally addressed a workplace harassment claim by two of their colleagues. What can we learn from this situation and the actions they are taking to resolve issues within their workplace?
- What is your reaction to this story? How do your coworkers and friends react to hearing about this?
- “Microsoft Employes Protest Work With ICE, As Tech Industry Mobilizes Over Immigration”, New York Times, June 19, 2018
- “Google Engineers Refused to Build Security Tool to Win Military Contracts”, Bloomberg, June 21, 2018