There are fewer crowdfunding platforms more popular than Kickstarter. It's allowed countless games and other projects to achieve the funding they needed to reach production. But the company might not be as benevolent as they seem. Multiple former Kickstarter employees are claiming that the company has been squashing efforts toward unionization.
In a report by GamesIndustry.biz's Matthew Handrahan, Taylor Moore and Clarissa Redwine have spoken out against Kickstarter, explaining how their termination may have been related to efforts toward unionization.
Moore explained via Twitter that the company had asked them to sign a nin-disparagement clause in exchange for a month's severance pay. They have declined the offer and are taking to the public to inform everyone of Kickstarter's anti-unionization efforts, claiming they are both immoral and against labor laws.
Taylor Moore (Twitter)
"This morning, after six years of pouring my life into the mission, the staff, and the creators of @kickstarter, I was fired for organizing a union. They offered me no real reasons, but one month's severance for signing an NDA. I will not be signing it.
Last week another member of the organizing committee, @ClarissaRedwine was also fired, and today a third prominent member of the union was told there is no place for him at the company. I stand firm in solidarity with my friends and colleagues.
The union busting campaign that Kickstarter management is engaging in is illegal and wrong. It is an unforgivable abandonment of the values of an organization that I have loved and served with my whole heart.
I urge the Kickstarter staff to unionize, sign that petition and exercise your right to a more fair and equitable workplace. Don't let what happened to me happen to you. You deserve better. UNIONIZE!"
The same sentiment was also stated by Redwine.
Clarissa Redwine (Twitter)
"I will not be signing your termination agreement containing a non-disparagement clause. You can keep my severance.
Kickstarter is its employees, creators, and backers. A handful of folks at the top isn't Kickstarter. So to Kickstarter: Advocate for the platform you deserve and continue to support creative work. It's time for solidarity. #unionize
Kickstarter's management continues to state that I was fired for performance issues. I find this strange because I not only met but exceeded all performance metrics in Q2. I was great at my job. And I loved it."
This is an unfortunate turn of events. Last March, a group pushing for Kickstarter Unionization called Kickstarter United, began their push. At the time, Kickstarter stated that they are "aware that there are team members at Kickstarter who are interested in forming a union, and we look forward to hearing more about our employees' concerns."
Two months later, Kickstarter claimed that they would only recognize the union if their employees voted for them in the Nation Labour Relations Board election. Even now, the company uses this as the reason for a lack of recognition in the current time.
Kickstarter's official statement about the recent firings is as follows.
"We'll be clear: No Kickstarter employee has been or ever will be fired for union organizing."
Even so, Kickstarter United has filed a formal charge of the unlawfully broad non-disparagement clause for with the NLRB.
To be frank, no company committing anti-unionization efforts is going to admit to it. They know they aren't allowed to, that's why they're being discreet.