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Babbel Perspectives: Worker Self-Organization in Tech | February 5 | Berlin

Tech companies’ rhetoric of purpose-driven innovation frequently omits a critical question: Whose priorities are actually driving it?

More and more, tech workers are stepping into the fray, advocating for their own interests and demanding a seat at the table : see Google’s recent walkout in protest against weak sexual harassment policies and hundreds of its employees rejecting development of a censored search engine for China, Amazon workers denouncing collaboration with ICE in the US, and a tidal wave of unionization across web-based media.

The forms that worker initiatives take are likely to have real stakes for the future of tech and, in turn, for our world broadly. Whose voices drive these efforts, and what power they can wield are increasingly central (and open) questions.

To explore how tech workers are organizing and addressing issues of workplace culture and values places, Babbel is putting Hamilton Nolan, a chronicler of unionization in US digital media in conversation with Vitor Shereiber, a founding coordinator with Strangers — an award-winning, biweekly salon launched by Babbel employees on identity, power, and oppression.

Drinks and vegan snacks will be on offer. Attendance is free.


Hamilton Nolan is a senior writer for Splinter, where he covers labor, politics, and inequality. He previously wrote for Gawker for eight years, before the site was bankrupted by a lawsuit funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. In 2015, he and his colleagues at Gawker Media became the first major U.S. online media company to unionize. Since then, unionization has spread widely throughout their entire industry. He is a council member of the Writer Guild of America, East, and lives in Brooklyn.

Vitor Shereiber is Project Manager for Portuguese and Dutch at Babbel. He has degrees in linguistics and literature, as well as history and gender studies. Working for Babbel since 2014, he’s been part of the Strangers project, a worker initiative that explores issues of difference and diversity in Babbel’s workplace culture.

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