Project Details

Woman doing a cartwheel in an office


Building a better workplace with online campaigns

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @teamcoworker

  • Economic Empowerment
  • Internet

Union membership in the US has dropped by two-thirds in the last 50 years. At the same time, our perceptions of a career and our overwhelmingly more mobile and agile workforce are changing the definitions of employment. Combined, we’ve all lost some of the collective bargaining power that protects workers from unfair labour practices.

The time is ripe for a social tech revolution – and Coworker believes it has the solution. Non-profit organisation Coworker provides a platform to start and host petitions targeted at companies, supply chains, and even clients. An individual or group gathers signatures from fellow workers, and they initiate a campaign for change in the workplace. The group can use the platform for communications and mobilisation, and advocate collectively and effectively. 

Since inception in 2013, Coworker has hosted dozens of workers’ campaigns, ranging from addressing Nike’s political lobbying policies to highlighting unfair treatment of women’s football by FIFA. 250,000 people are signed up, with 70,000 having participated in an action. These include 7% of Starbucks’ total global workforce, where a winning Coworker campaign directly led to the famous decision to allow baristas to display their tattoos. 

Coworker benefits from strong founders with a history of union organisation (especially for service employees), as well as backing from the CEL Education Fund and the Citizen Engagement Laboratory foundation. 

A new understanding of work has led to a new opportunity for the trade union model. Leading change online through collective bargaining and action tends to create noise and, with companies and individuals ever more sensitive to their online reputations, Coworker is certain to continue leading efforts towards ensuring a better workplace. Take a look at the website and join your voice with others’.

Image 'Cartwheel' courtesty of Daxko.

Last updated: 18th of September, 2015

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