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.”