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Many semiconductor firms make no secret of their opposition to labor unions. Workers who have tried to organize have too often faced intimidation and retaliation. 

Despite the rapid growth of its workforce, the tech sector is one of the least organized sectors in the economy, with union density rates of less than 1%.

In the 1970s and 1980s when the industry was first growing in the United States, semiconductor firms and industry associations surveilled and intimidated workers, illegally fired workers for organizing, coordinated on union-avoidance training, exchanged intelligence, and funneled financial resources to crush shopfloor organizing when workers sought better wages, safer working conditions, and a voice on the job. 

Management’s attitude toward worker organization was typified by Bob Noyce, co-founder of Intel: “Remaining non-union is essential for survival for most of our companies. If we had the work rules that unionized companies have, we’d all go out of business. This is a very high priority for management here.” 

In a 2016 interview with Commonwealth Magazine, TSMC founder and current chairman Morris Chang described his experience in the 1970s as head of global semiconductors for Texas Instruments, saying “the American high-tech sector decided then that it would not allow unions.” He added, “good companies should be able to request that workers not form unions.” This approach persists today. 

In 2023, Momentive Technologies, a semiconductor supply chain company in Strongsville, Ohio, carried out an aggressive and unethical union-busting campaign, even as a majority of workers publicly stated their support for a union.

In South Korea, Samsung is responsible for a long history of anti-union activities. 

We call on employers to:

  • Respect the right to organize for all semiconductor workers (including subcontracted service workers).
  • Sign union neutrality agreements.
  • Adopt project labor agreements for all facility construction.