Kickstarter Calls Itself Progressive. But About That Union.

Kickstarter, the Brooklyn-based crowdfunding site, has long tried to stand apart from Silicon Valley, seeking to portray itself as a socially responsible enterprise that cares more about improving the world than putting money in wealthy shareholders’ pockets.

Then came the union drive.

Earlier this year, a group of Kickstarter employees publicly pressed to form a union, calling for a larger say in the company’s operations. They were spurred to action after controversy over a Kickstarter campaign for a satirical comic book filled with images of people punching Nazis.

Kickstarter pushed back against the union, and as the effort dragged on, two of the organizers were dismissed last month in what they say was retaliation.

Kickstarter maintains it is not anti-labor, and has repeatedly said the firings had nothing to do with the union drive. It said the two workers were let go because of performance issues unrelated to their union organizing.

Earlier this month, organizers officially requested that the company recognize their union — a move that Kickstarter has repeatedly said it would reject; the company is instead pushing to survey employees using a secret-ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

“We have a responsibility to protect the rights of all of our staff members in this process,” the company said in a statement. “It’s their right to decide if there should be a union at Kickstarter, not ours.”

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