Unionizing Tech: Everybody needs a union

Short Form


The Open Source Movement has a few defining traits, such as the the do-it-yourself, stick-it-to-the-man scrappiness; the caring about the people around us and their experience with the software or workplace; and, the way it is forever adaptable to the needs of the situation. Open source and unions have a lot in common - lets get started unionizing open source shops!


In this brief discussion, Sam will cover the basics of why you need a union, what unions can accomplish that individuals can’t, and a primer on the different kinds of unions that exist.

Using the Open Source movement as a framework, we’ll delve into how open source and unions are made for each other, highlighting their parallel social movement styles, parallel ideologies, and even some of the similar drawbacks.

There will be a special emphasis on how unionization can create an equitable environment in start-ups, how to counter the “But I’ve got it good now!” argument, and recommendations for getting started in your own workplace.

Speaking experience

Previously a corporate trainer and shop organizer; currently give union trainings and tenant organization trainings.

I've given parts of this talk before, but it's being tailored specifically for OSB, with a focus on open source and tech environments.


  • Biography

    Not an activist, but an organizer with Portland Tenants United, Portland IWW, and AFT-OR. Helpdesk, A/V Tech, and fixer of things that plug in at Lewis and Clark Law School.