Online Course on Union Tech

Trade Unions are confronted with the need to go digital. We offer a tool and skills to responsibly collect data and build a data-powered campaign.

FES again responds to the call of trade union partners to build capacity to use digital tools for building union power. Our course leader, Christina Colclough, tells you why this online course from March 1st to May 31st may offer just the right skill-set to support your union taking the next step in going digital.

Christina, who is this course for?
If you are a trade union organiser, communication specialist or policy expert, this course is for you and your colleagues. Team up with others and learn how to use data to boost the worker's voice. This course is also for national, regional and global trade union federations who are seeking new methods and practices to support your campaigns.

What is union tech and why should I be interested in it?
Union tech are software and services specifically defined with workers, organizers and trade unions in mind. It is aimed at changing the balance of power between employers and workers through collective digital action, to address inequities that arise in that relationship and the workplace more generally.

How can it be used to counter wage theft?
To counter material issues like wage theft, Union Tech can coordinate both targeted and systemic change through equipping workers with data-driven stories that amplify worker-led narratives. By collecting and pooling data in privacy-preserving ways, Union Tech can help uncover workers’ experience, empower their stories beyond just the anecdote, and offer insight into where wage theft is occurring, how much is being stolen from the workers, and how best to counter it.

Why do you focus on working time, shouldn‘t workers be happy to have a job at all during the Pandemic?
All workers deserve dignity and rights, and should not be expected to discard their health and wellbeing for a paycheck. In many areas of the world, employers have been allowed to disregard these rights and are subjecting workers to precarious conditions. When workers are not paid for their work, are forced to put in excessive working hours, have their holidays, tips and leave rights stolen, they are subject to wage theft. A crime that workers from all regions of the world across many different occupations are victims of. While people do need to work and earn an income, the employers must be held accountable.

Historic levels of income inequality certify that there is no scarcity of wealth and opportunity in the world today—these resources are simply being hoarded into the hands of the few. Through organizing, speaking out, and pressuring employers, workers do their part to rebalance these inequalities. By focusing on working time, this course offers a scoped, clear goal for organizers that is an attainable introduction to data-driven organizin

What will I learn if I take the course?

  • Strategies for using technology and data to organize against wage theft (i.e. unpaid work & abuse of rights)
  • Specifics apps and services that are available, and how they can be integrated into union campaigns
  • What to do with data once you have it - how you can safeguard it, and use it responsibly.


Get to know your course instructors:

Regarded as a thought leader on the future of work(ers) and the politics of digital technology, Christina Colclough is an advocate for the workers’ voice. She is the founder of The Why Not Lab - a boutique value-driven consultancy that puts workers at the centre of digital change. Christina is a globally sought-after keynote speaker and workshop trainer. She holds a number of trusted positions and is included in the all-time Hall of Fame of the world's most brilliant women in AI Ethics.

Nathan Freitas is the founder of Guardian Project, a global collaborative that has benefited millions of people around the world. The group has pioneered the development of free, open-source software and services for mobile devices that focus on both privacy and usability. Over the last twenty years, Nathan has worked to empower various forms of organizing and activism through mobile technology, and brings that experience as the technical lead of the WeClock project.

Jonnie Penn is an educator, broadcaster, and historian who theorizes the social implications of advanced information technologies. Penn teaches a new master's program at the University of Cambridge on "AI Ethics and Society". He writes and speaks widely about emerging technologies, the "Future of Work", youth and AI, data governance, and the ironies of automation.

Dan Calacci is a PhD Candidate at the MIT Media Lab, where he studies how data stewardship and analysis can impact community governance. His research demonstrates how workers can use data to build power and audit algorithmic management. He has presented work on urban segregation, worker-driven data science, and anti-surveillance tech at leading academic and activist conferences around the world.

With this course and its six workshops from 1 March to 31 May 2022, FES is offering an opportunity to build your skill-set and strengthen your union power in the digital world of work. Dates to be confirmed in January.


Mirko Herberg
Mirko Herberg
+49 30 26935-7458
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