Kickstarter Employees Vote to Unionize

SAN FRANCISCO — Employees at the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter voted on Tuesday to unionize, the first well-known technology company to take the step toward being represented by organized labor.

The decision, which was formalized by a vote count at the National Labor Relations Board, came down to a narrow margin, with 46 employees voting in favor of the move and 37 opposing it. The debate over a union — and whether such representation was appropriate for highly paid tech workers — was a source of tension at the company over the last several months.

“I’m overjoyed by this result,” said Dannel Jurado, a Kickstarter senior software engineer who voted for a union. “There’s a long road ahead of us, but it’s a first step to the sustainable future in tech that I and so many others want to see.”

Tech workers have become increasingly activist in recent years over issues as varied as sexual harassment to climate change. Behemoth companies such as Google, Amazon and others have struggled to get a handle on their employees, who have staged walkouts and demanded that their companies not work with government entities and others.

But large-scale unionization efforts of software engineers and others have faltered. Only a group of contractors at a Google office in Pittsburgh unionized last year and a small group of Instacart workers unionized this month.

“We support and respect this decision, and we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here,” Kickstarter’s chief executive, Aziz Hasan, said in a statement.

Kate Conger reported from San Francisco and Noam Scheiber from Evanston, Ill.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.