Kickstarter employees have unionized, making them the first full-time employees at a tech company to do so as more across the industry look to organize.Workers voted 46-37 in favor of unionizing after a heated back and forth with management that included the firing of two workers leading the organizing efforts.”We support and respect this decision, and we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here,” Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan said in an emailed statement.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kickstarter employees have officially unionized after a vote was tallied Tuesday, marking the first full-time workers at a tech company to do so as more across the industry look to organize.The historic 46-37 vote in favor of unionizing comes after a contentious process, which involved the firing of two Kickstarter employees who were leading the efforts. The employees then filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, which has yet to resolve, according to Vice.”We support and respect this decision, and we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here. We’ve worked hard over the last decade to build a different kind of company, one that measures its success by how well it achieves its mission: helping to bring creative projects to life,” Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan said in an emailed statement.—Kickstarter United (@ksr_united) February 18, 2020Kickstarter employees announced their union drive publicly last March, under the name Kickstarter United, on the same day that co-founder Perry Chen resigned as CEO. Chen had a history of turmoil at the company. He left the company in 2013, but reassumed the CEO title in 2017. A year after his return, 50 of Kickstarter’s 120 employees had left and employees told BuzzFeed News that Chen’s management style was the reason for it.Kickstarter had been dealing with tensions that employees said arose from Chen’s heavy-handed management style as well as internal disagreement over a decision to remove a project from the site after right-wing news site Breitbart claimed the project violated the Kickstarter terms of service, according to Slate.

Last September, Kickstarter fired Clarissa Redwine and Taylor Moore, two longtime employees who had been leading the union drive. CEO Aziz Hasan wrote in a blog post that neither were fired for their organizing efforts, but also said that “the union framework is inherently adversarial.” Redwine’s termination ultimately led her to file a complaint with the NLRB. Employees have also accused the company of taking various steps to thwart their efforts to unionize.”So many people worked incredibly hard to earn Kickstarter’s employees a seat at the table, and now they have one. Kickstarter is now a place for collective action through and through,” Redwine said on Twitter after the vote was announced Tuesday, adding that “the vote was close. Management did a great job busting.”While Kickstarter United is the first union of full-time white collar employees at a major tech company, workers across the industry have been ramping up organizing efforts over the past several years.Over 2,000 cafeteria workers at Google’s Bay Area offices voted to join a union last December and Google contract workers in Pittsburgh voted to unionize last August, while Chicago employees of the food delivery service Instacart also unionized earlier this month, according to Motherboard. Short of unionizing, workers at major tech companies have organized around issues such as controversial company policies, pay and benefit disparities, sexual harassment, and various types of discrimination. Thousands of Google workers staged a walkout in 2018 over the company’s record on sexual misconduct, while others protested last year after Google fired several employees involved in organizing efforts as tensions within the company continue to simmer.

Employees have also become more active in their companies’ decisions. Amazon workers spoke out about the company’s impact on the environment and its warehouse employees striked last year during its busy “Prime Day” over working conditions. In recent months, Microsoft employees went as far as to resign over the company’s work with Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

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