I realize things have been a little quiet here lately. There’s a fairly simple reason for that, as it happens: I’ve written a new book, called You Deserve a Tech Union. It’s available for preorder from A Book Apart, and will be shipping late summer 2023. I really hope you like it.
Here’s the cover, which I absolutely love.1
This book was the hardest thing I’ve ever written, and I’m incredibly proud of the book it’s become; I can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands.
What’s the book about, you ask? Well.
This book is about the resurgent labor movement that exists in the modern tech industry. It’s a story about the activism and organizing that’s happened over the last few years, led by the very people whose work built this industry. It’s a book about tech work, and how unions can help us build a better version of it.
In other words, this is a book about why unions matter, and about why you — yes, you — deserve one.
Honestly, it feels a bit weird to think of this book as something that, like, actually exists. It’s been in process for quite some time, now that I think about it: I started writing the book in earnest at the end of 2022, but I’ve been working on the book since 2021. I didn’t know exactly what the book was going to be back then, mind you — but more than anything, I was painfully aware of how much I didn’t know. I mean, I’ve been reading, writing, and speaking about labor issues in the tech industry for several years now, because it’s a topic I care deeply about. But I’m a web designer who’s worked for himself for most of his career — and as a result, I don’t have much practical, hands-on experience with organizing a workplace, much less forming a union.
That’s why I knew I needed to speak with the people who have that experience.
Back in 2021, I started sitting down with people in the tech industry’s labor movement. And over the following year, I met with tech workers who were in the middle of organizing their first union; I spoke with workers who’d just won their first contract, and learned how that contract literally improved their lives. I met with full-time union organizers, who shared hard-won lessons and strategies with me. I spoke with designers and graduate students and economists and engineers and labor researchers and — well, I’d run out of ands if I kept going. I’m downright humbled by the number of folks who agreed to speak with me: they donated their time, lessons, and thoughts to this book, both on- and off the record. Whether or not their story made it into the book’s pages, every one of these people shaped this book just as much as I did, and I’m incredibly grateful to them. Because frankly, this book isn’t about me: it’s about them, and the work they’re doing to make the industry better.
What’s more, this book is about how you can do that work, too.
Those aren’t the only folks to whom I owe a heavy debt, of course. I went off in the book’s acknowledgments, as it really took a village to make this book. But for now, I’ll just say that if it weren’t for Katel LeDû, the CEO at A Book Apart, and her interest in publishing a book on this topic, You Deserve a Tech Union wouldn’t exist. And that goes double for Lisa Maria Marquis, A Book Apart’s editor in chief, whose sharp, compassionate edits turned my pile of half-baked ideas into something readable. (In addition to being a font of seemingly endless support, too.)
I’m also grateful to A Book Apart for another reason — specifically, this little paragraph at the bottom of the book’s product page:
If the cost of this book makes it inaccessible to you, we can help — please contact [us] for pricing accommodations.
When I asked A Book Apart about ensuring the book’s accessible as widely as possible, they weren’t just interested in the idea — they were downright enthusiastic. They’ve apparently discussed the topic before, and were more than happy to add a note about pricing accommodations to my book. If you’d like to learn more, I do hope you’ll reach out to A Book Apart; they take that paragraph as seriously as I do.
I should note there’s one more person I’m grateful to — and that’s you. If you’ve preordered this book, well, that means the world to me; if you’ve simply shared this post on social media, or mentioned the book to a like-minded coworker, that means a lot, too. If you happen to read it, I really hope the book’s useful to you. Above all else, I hope it helps you feel like you can and should form a union.
Because honestly, you deserve one. We all do.