In a blog post, Microsoft has stated that it will work constructively with unions as more people in the United States' tech sector seek better employment conditions. The statement by Microsoft is a marked shift away from what we’ve seen so far by the likes of Amazon which has tried to stamp out unionisation efforts in its company.
In the statement, Microsoft outlined four key principles that it wants to abide by so that it may work openly and constructively with unions. The principles are as follows:
- We believe in the importance of listening to our employees’ concerns.
- We recognize that employees have a legal right to choose whether to form or join a union.
- We are committed to creative and collaborative approaches with unions when employees wish to exercise their rights and Microsoft is presented with a specific unionization proposal.
- Building on our global labor experiences, we are dedicated to maintaining a close relationship and shared partnership with all our employees, including those represented by a union.
While Microsoft is setting a more positive tone about unions within its ranks, the company’s President Brad Smith said that employees will never need to organise to dialogue with leaders in the company about how things could change for the better. Nevertheless, there may be those who are better suited to using unions as a vehicle to get their issues addressed and Microsoft is saying it’s OK with this too.
While it’s certainly a positive step from Microsoft and one that will get relations between it and its employees off to a good start on the union front, we will have to see how things play out in practice. Only at this point will we see how well these pledges carry over into practice.