The Industry

Kickstarter Has Fired Two Union Organizers in Eight Days

A tastefully decorated library with a long communal table and comfy chairs.
Kickstarter’s headquarters in New York City in winter 2015.
Karen Green from NYC/Wikipedia

Read more about the union drive at Kickstarter—and the dispute over a Nazi-punching comic book that led to it.

On Thursday morning, Kickstarter fired Taylor Moore, an employee who was one of the organizers of a unionization effort within the company. This was the second firing of a union organizer since last week, when Clarissa Redwine was also fired. Moore had been at the company for six years and Redwine since 2016, and both worked on the outreach team. Both had been heavily involved in the union effort since it began earlier this year. Moore and Redwine, according to four sources who work at the company, were both fired for what management alleged were performance-related issues.

Kickstarter would not specifically comment on Moore’s and Redwine’s firings and said it has not fired anyone for union activities. On Monday evening, Redwine and the Office and Professional Employees International Union (through which Kickstarter employees are organizing) filed an unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the severance agreement offered to her by Kickstarter contained an illegally phrased nondisparagement clause. Kickstarter told Slate it has not seen the filing and could not comment.

The union effort became public in March. In May, CEO Aziz Hasan* told employees that the company would not voluntarily recognize the union if asked, but that it would respect the results of a secret staff vote. Multiple current and former employees told Slate that since March, the company has expressed to the staff that it does not believe a union is right for Kickstarter.

If a union within the company is formed, Kickstarter will be the most prominent technology company with a unionized workforce.

Update, Sept. 12, 2019, 7:47 p.m.: Kickstarter says it has now seen the NLRB filing from Clarissa Redwine. The company says that it offered in an email to Redwine over the weekend to narrow the nondisparagement clause in her severance agreement “to apply only to statements about the company’s employees, not the company as a whole.” Redwine did not respond to the email,  Kickstarter says. In response, Redwine told Slate, “I believe Kickstarter is aware that a nondisparagement clause that bars discussion of the actions of other employees could make it effectively impossible for a former employee to give an accurate, detailed depiction of their experience at the company. While the charge filed with the NLRB pertains specifically to the severance agreement I was presented with, I feel strongly that any agreement that treats severance as repayment for silence is an unethical one.” She also tweeted:

Correction, Sept. 12, 2019: Due to an editing error, this post originally misspelled Aziz Hasan’s last name.