A San Francisco tech company allegedly fired engineers trying to unionize on slack

The firing of 15 engineers for reportedly discussing unions raises some questions about how the tech industry might handle future efforts.


February 1, 2018

According to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board, 15 engineers were laid off by cloud software company Lanetix, Inc., for planning to form a union.

And to add insult to injury, their employer allegedly first found out about their plan by eavesdropping on their “private” Slack channel.

*UNIONJACK has left the chat room*

The engineers contend that the firings came after they’d formed plans (over Slack) to unionize — and only 10 days after they’d filed a petition to join the Communications Workers of America.

But Lanetix tells a different story: they had a “lackluster” Q4, and are merely looking to outsource all engineering jobs to Eastern Europe.

Um… timing’s kinda weird, brahs

This case (and Lanetix’s defense) is eerily reminiscent of the recent debacle at now-defunct DNAinfo: the media company decided to close shop last November, just one week after their writers tried to form a union — and they attributed the decision to poor financials.

The difference here is that we’re not talking about (presumably underpaid) writers in a dying industry: these are (presumably highly paid) engineers in a thriving industry.

The average SF-based software engineer makes $125k and has great benefits. Traditionally, it hasn’t been a market concerned with unionizing efforts. But maybe the tides are changing…

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