After Facebook announced that a new content control feature for its Workplace app could be used as a union busting tool, the company was met by a flurry of criticism.  

UNI Global Union, representing workers in the skills and service sectors of our economy—including technology, says that this controversy shows a broader disregard for the right to freedom of association at Facebook and in the tech industry as a whole.

“Facebook has enabled deadly, dangerous, anti-democratic speech in its network, but it singled out the word ‘unionize’ as an example of a word that its clients might want to suppress when they use use Facebook’s new internal company communication app.  In its defense, the company offered that the ‘oversight’ was due to ‘lack of context.’  But the context is absolutely clear.  Facebook wants to monetize the the anti-union behaviour of its customers, such as  Walmart and Starbucks, and it further believes that union busting is perfectly normal and acceptable, so much so that it would nonchalantly be included in an internal presentation,” said UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman.   

Facebook has discouraged its direct employees from unionising, and currently, U.S. Facebook contractors are facing a vicious anti-union campaign.

“It’s time for leadership at Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others to live up to the world-changing views they profess. Their first steps should be to stop suppressing the rights of their workers and contractors.  They should all agree that they will not oppose the any effort to unionize among their employees,” Hoffman added.  

Last week, ex-Amazon Vice President Tim Bray addressed UNI’s Amazon Union Alliance to talk about why unions are needed in his former company and beyond.