Employees at Citizen, a contentious real-time crime alert business, voted in favor of joining a union.
According to Beth Allen, a spokesman for the Communications Workers of America, “a strong majority” of about 70 eligible workers decided to join the union in a National Labor Relations Board election. The results, which were first reported by Bloomberg News, have yet to be verified by the NLRB, which is the final step before the union and Citizen may negotiate a contract.
Full-time and regular part-time employees in the company’s central operations department were eligible to vote, according to an NLRB filing. The department is in charge of condensing police and other dispatches into real-time notifications and disseminating them to people in close proximity to the situations.
The labour dispute comes after Citizen and its CEO, Andrew Frame, have been the subject of a barrage of negative press. For the first time this year, the corporation offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspected arson suspect. However, the individual was not to blame for the fire. The four-year-old firm deployed a new tool called OnAir in its app to broadcast the suspect’s details, but it claims it did not follow its own verification standards before doing so.
The workers’ decision to unionise was apparently motivated by a fear of losing their jobs as a result of outsourced labour to contractors.
“We are looking forward to bargaining a contract without delay that addresses the serious issues we face, including the mismanagement of Central Operations and our product’s power, pay discrepancies, subcontracting, and the removal of benefits,” read a statement provided Tuesday by the CWA union on behalf of the workers, who are called “Citizen Central Operations Union.”
In September, the workers submitted a petition with the NLRB expressing their desire to form a union. Hundreds of thousands of workers at public and private organisations, including CNN’s parent company AT&T, are represented by the CWA union.
Citizen said in a statement that it will continue on its objective of making the globe a safer place for its people. “While we are assessing next steps on this initial tally, what we know now is that we’ve grown through this process, learning how we can better work together to deliver for our users.”
Citizen employs over 200 employees, according to the company, which has raised $132 million from well-known venture capital companies such as Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and Sequoia Capital.