Big Labor has been scrambling for years trying to figure out how to stay ahead of the major transition we are living through. In particular, the questions remain, “What does organizing look like for millennials? How do we (Big Labor) continue getting in on a piece of the pie?”
If the new union at Instagram is any signal, then maybe the answer is — they don’t.
Instagram memers started their own union this month, called IG Memers Union Local 69-420. Members of the collective are taking a stand because, from their perspective, they “generate the engagement that helps keep Instagram growing,” Instagram then monetizes their original content, and the Memers don’t get any cut of the proceeds.
From The Atlantic:
Memers aren’t direct employees of these tech platforms, nor are they independent contractors for them. But they produce, directly or indirectly, the bulk of these platforms’ income. And current labor protections don’t cover this type of ‘mediated work.’
Unlike other ‘grassroots’ organizing movements of recent years (think Fight for $15, which was less grassroots and more bankrolled by the SEIU), the IG Memers Union will probably never be recognized by the National Labor Relations Board.
So the question is — What happens if this collective stand actually works to get the Instagram Memers what they want? Meanwhile, no one involved will have had to shell out to a union for “representation.”